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Highlights from an Appreciative Inquiry Summit

Sharing stories at an Appreciative Inquiry Summit

“Joy and pride grow from knowing you have just done something as well as you can do it”  ~ Lloyd Dobens

I know that feeling.  I have witnessed it in others.

Recently I completed an extremely satisfying 6 month project.  The project was to lead the design and facilitation of an Appreciative Inquiry Summit for the Chief Diversity Officer of a very large global organization.  The Summit, with over 300 people, was an appreciative inquiry into the affirmative topic, “Freedom to step outside our comfort zones”. There was much joy and pride in knowing we had all done something as well as we could do it. 

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Appreciating All Generations – Intergenerational Dialog

Appreciative Inquiry Discovery Interview on Intergenerational DialogueWhat are the stereotypes we attach to the different generations? Is there a lack of intergenerational dialog? If you were to generalize, how might you complete these sentences?

 Old people are. . . .Young people are. . . .

If you have difficulty generalizing, that’s a good thing, as we are all unique and different.

Expanding our World Views

It appears our world is moving toward greater tolerance in many things and greater acceptance of diversity—culture, generations, working styles, education, diet, entertainment and so on.

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We See the World as We Are

Jenny's Story – Constructionist Principle

Ross-Letterbox-300x224My friend from childhood, Jenny, is a nurse, a wife, an animal lover, excellent gardner, a great cook and a talented artist.  I love her deeply.  She’s my dear friend, and even though we’ve had some challenges, and times of separation over the years, we continue to be there for each other.

Constructing our reality

For around 15 years, I equated my Jenny with gloom and doom! She lived her life as if the world were a war zone.  She struggled in the trenches – all on her own, single-handedly fighting off the enemy  – enemies – all of whom were out to get her: her family didn’t love her; girlfriends were selfish (they all abandoned her); her boyfriends had been users; she ended up with a mean, miserly husband; she’s had hurtful, nasty bosses; the hospitals she’s worked have all been living hells; the patients always complaining and not lifting a finger to help themselves. She was exhausting. She was hard to be around. To be in her company at that time in her life was draining and de-energizing.

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How to be an appreciative listener

S70_07_07_07_4197-300x224The way we ask questions determines what we find. In fact, the very first question we ask begins the listening process.  So there's a big responsibility in asking questions that invite responses that keep us engaged and interested and result in what it is we are seeking to learn about.  Moreover, in the process, when done really well, both inquirer and responder are likely to learn something new about the situation and each other.  That, we call a generative or developmental conversation.

First question is a choice point

The first question provides a choice point and influences what follows.  It also impacts the quality of the relationship.  The first question you ask can open people up or shut them down.  Many managers/leaders complain that their people have nothing to say.  They express frustration that in meetings when they ask questions or ask for input their people say nothing.  “They've got nothing to contribute”. Read more