Appreciative Inquiry is so different to conventional methods of organisational change that some people will find it hard to accept. Whether your obstacle to implementation is the boardroom sceptic who needs to be convinced of the benefits of AI before releasing a budget, or the person in an AI workshop who finds it hard to let go of the habit of always looking for the flaws in any new idea, here are some tips that you may find useful in getting AI accepted by your organisation or clients.

Establish credibility

Make sure that people are aware of examples of where AI has already been used successfully elsewhere in the organisation, or relevant examples of similar organisations that have used AI.

Anticipate possible objections and preframe them out

Put yourself in the shoes of the people you will be telling about AI. Notice what objections they may raise, and make sure that your presentation of AI addresses these objections before they are raised.

“Now you may be thinking that this approach is about rose-coloured spectacles and ignoring problems – in fact it’s a more effective way of heading off problems before they even occur, because…|”

Appeal to “away from” motivation

Many people in business are risk-averse and motivated by solving problems, rather than by possibilities and benefits. AI enthusiasts, by contrast, tend to be very “towards” – so the possibilities for miscommunication are obvious.

To get “away from” motivated people on side, explore the problems they face (the more you do this, the more it will remind them of the seriousness of the problems), and make sure they realise how much worse these problems could get if they don’t adopt AI, and the pitfalls of using traditional deficit-focused methods.

Dealing with “macho” people

One of the characteristics of a “macho” person, according to Influence specialist Shelle Rose Charvet’s article The Macho Test, is that they act as if they already know everything there is to know.

If you are dealing with a person like this, you need to ask yourself this question about your presentation or document:

Is it anywhere stated or implied that there is something they don’t already know, or that I am telling them what to do?

Note that the use of any kind of jargon will come across to them as implying that there is something they don’t know. Unfortunately a lot of the terminology commonly used by AI practitioners would fall into this category, so make sure you keep it simple and focus on the practicalities rather than the theory.

“Selling” Appreciative Inquiry to skeptics in your organisation

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