Is there anything better for a retired Community College President than to be asked to spend an hour chatting with graduate students? Jim Pulliam had just that opportunity this week AND I was lucky enough to sit in. He spoke to eleven college employees in an online graduate leadership program. The class is on consensus building and the topic for the week was to learn how Appreciative Inquiry is being used in colleges and universities.
The faculty member delivering the class had completed the Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training© years ago and had found AI beneficial in his college leadership position and he wanted to share with the students. He asked the first question: How many of you knew of Appreciative Inquiry before this week’s reading assignment? NO ONE had! We did not expect that answer. Perhaps, we should rethink our hesitancy to share AI thinking because we believe people may not be ready. Looking at this with an appreciative lens, let’s begin to focus on where are our opportunities to share, engage, and invite others to learn about AI. In our trainings, people will often share that they are worried about introducing Appreciative Inquiry to their boss, team or colleagues. Challenging our traditional problem-solving, SWOT loving paradigms is scary! Do we need to be afraid? Are we, as facilitators, ready for that transformation? Knowledge and information are powerful keys to success.
During our conversation with the graduate students, we noticed the questions around AI began to change. The students’ questions were practical, more along of the lines of how and where Appreciative Inquiry is used. No one questioned the concepts, theory or practice of Appreciative Inquiry. Research continues to show that strength-based approaches (e.g. Appreciative Inquiry, Mindfulness, Positive Self-Talk) not only improves one’s health, wellbeing, and happiness but can positively impact the level of engagement and productivity within an organization.
Question: What suggestions do you have for introducing AI to an organization? How do you describe what “AI” is?
To read our “Words Create Worlds” July 2014 International Newsletter, please click here.