What first attracted me to Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) in 2001 was the concept of inviting and bringing all of the voices into the conversation. It was a significant shift in our daily practices and operations, especially for an educational institution, yet I knew Ai would work – and it did.
As I continued on my Ai journey, more opportunities would arise that would allow me to facilitate and practice Ai. Over the years, I have learned that the complexity of bringing all voices (stakeholders) into the room begins with the planning. The best Ai facilitation or consulting projects that I have been involved with directly resulted from incorporating a core team in the process – from beginning to end.
Core Teams: A Slice Of The Whole…
Core Teams are magical and reflect a ‘slice of the whole’. Picture, for example, a chocolate cake consisting of several layers. Each layer comprise of various stakeholders (executive, management, sales, customers, vendors, partners, community leaders, etc.). When cutting a slice from this beautiful cake, all layers (stakeholders) are represented, no matter how big or small the slice. In other words, this slice represents a cross section of the organization, team or group drawn from different programs, groups, teams, work shifts, nationalities, languages, gender, and job roles.
It’s important to remember that no two Core Teams are identical. Instead, we should celebrate the diversity of the group and the richness it can bring to the inquiry process. I have found that each Core Team has a different approach and is as unique and complex as the organization. The creativity and energy that is unleashed when a Core Team is given the opportunity to fly inspires greatness in everyone.
One Core Team, whom I have been working with for several consecutive years, was so moved by the Ai process that they named their Core Team to show their spirit and passion for this process with themselves and others. This group named themselves the Core Team Bridge (CTB) – bridging all voices into one – and are celebrating 3 years of their Ai journey together. The poem, found below, was penned by a new CTB member who joined the group February 2016.
Core Team Bridge (CTB) Poem
By: Swagat Raj Pandey, CTB member
Slice of a whole,
A bunch of spirited soul;
A joyful staff retreat,
Our primary goal;
We foster tension,
Provide undivided attention;
Together we work,
Don’t forget the fun to mention;
We bring our thoughts,
We bring our energy;
Different ways to work;
Builds a strong synergy;
We love sharing stories,
Creating new memories;
On to the year three,
CTB is here to be