Many wonderful approaches create positive change. Here are a few, described by key practitioners.
As described by the Appreciative Inquiry Commons: Appreciative Inquiry is about the coevolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives “life” to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It centrally involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question” often-involving hundreds or sometimes thousands of people. In AI the arduous task of intervention gives way to the speed of imagination and innovation; instead of negation, criticism, and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, and design.
AI seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people talk about as past and present capacities: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul– and visions of valued and possible futures. Taking all of these together as a gestalt, AI deliberately, in everything it does, seeks to work from accounts of this “positive change core”—and it assumes that every living system has many untapped and rich and inspiring accounts of the positive. Link the energy of this core directly to any change agenda and changes never thought possible are suddenly and democratically mobilized.
As described by Dr. Mark McKergow and Paul Z. Jackson: Solutions Focus (SF) is an approach to change that is causing companies worldwide to sit up and take notice. Its primary focus is on uncovering and building on what is already working well – even in areas that are failing. Whether you’re a manager, a team leader, a coach or a consultant, you can use SF to generate immediate results. The SF approach is sometimes compared to Appreciative Inquiry. Both methods focus on what’s working; many people prefer SF for its incisive simplicity and applicability in all kinds of situations, big and small.
The solution-focused philosophy is an approach to change, centered on keeping things as simple as possible, doing what works and nothing else. We discovered it in the world of therapy, when in the late 1980s Steve de Shazer extended the earlier work of Milton Erickson and the Mental Research Institute to produce a tested yet minimal approach to change (for example de Shazer, 1988, and George, Iveson & Ratner, 1999). These same sources had earlier sparked NLP, to which solution focus might be seen as a younger, leaner second cousin.
Solution focus has since spread in the UK to the fields of education, social work, and child protection and is now making inroads to the organizational world.
As described by Tom Rath and Ashok Gopal: Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, which forms the core of several books on this topic, including the #1 international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0.
In recent years, while continuing to learn more about strengths, Gallup scientists have also been examining decades of data on the topic of leadership. They studied more than one million work teams, conducted more than 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and even interviewed more than 10,000 followers around the world to ask exactly why they followed the most important leader in their life.
In Strengths Based Leadership, #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath and renowned leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal the results of this research. Based on their discoveries, the book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.
Join us in the positive change revolt!