Preview Thursday: Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry

We are pleased to present this excerpt from Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry by Joan Mcarthur-Blair Jeanie Cockell.

Preview Thursday: Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry |

Integrating Appreciative Inquiry Practices

Appreciative practices build resilience for leaders and their organizations and are an intrinsic part of being AI. There are many leadership practices that can be built out of appreciative inquiry, and here we highlight questions.

One leader gave this example of how she has integrated being AI into her work through the power of a simple question:

The question “What’s working well?” is becoming common in my work life and personal life. It really makes a shift in how we look at and interpret our lives. For example, as far as in my day-to-day work, I now build into evaluations “What is working well, and what else can we do? I allow space for process, have faith in people, and trust in the process that it will unfold and allow things to emerge.

For this leader, the idea of the practice of appreciative inquiry becoming common is at the heart of being AI. The questions leaders are asking in their daily work matter for themselves and for others.

The Power of Using Questions

As a practice, developing and using appreciative questions not only changes the resulting conversations but also begins to cultivate a practice of seeking the appreciative within a situation; deeply residing with what is, no matter how hard; and reframing. In our interviews, leaders talked about how questions can change lives and organizational direction.

Questions seem simple, yet the crafting of a powerful question can open the door to new directions, innovation, and thought in ways nothing else can. When leaders seek the appreciative within a situation, the focus automatically shifts from looking down into the chasm to lifting up one’s eyes to the horizon.

Integrating these principles is about intention: the intention to ask the kinds of questions of self and others that prompt the principles into action:

  • How is my worldview influencing the social construction of our experience, culture, or outcomes?
  • What am I choosing to focus on?
  • What kinds of questions am I asking of my team, my colleagues, or myself?
  • How are these questions prompting change?

Integrating the principles is about practicing questions like these in times of hope, which are for the most part easier leadership times, so that these questions and actions are readily available to you as a leader in the times of despair and forgiveness.

Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair, co-president of Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting and co-author of Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry, is an inspirational writer, speaker and facilitator. Joan specializes in the use of Appreciative Inquiry to foster leadership, strategic planning and innovative strategies for organizational development.

Dr. Jeanie Cockell, co-president of Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting and co-author of Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry, is a dynamic facilitator known for her ability to get diverse groups to work collaboratively together. For twenty years, Jeanie has served as an educational and organizational consultant helping people, organizations, and communities build positive futures and respond effectively to change.

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