The Inspiring Impacts podcast (from the Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College) launched recently, and I highly recommend it.
Each week Dr Lindsay Godwin interviews a leading figure from the world of Appreciative Inquiry, and the latest episode with Luc Verheijen was a particular highlight.
I have around 15 years experience as an Appreciative Inquiry practitioner, but there were still many tips and insights in the podcast that made me think or gave me a fresh perspective.
A few examples:
– ‘Collective intelligence’, the idea that the challenges and questions that arise in organisation or team or social life are just too complex to understand or answer by one voice alone. You need to invite other people with their, their inspiration, their ideas, their knowledge, their energy, their willingness to act and to invite people to join into a joint conversation of discovery around the topic of change.
– Following on from that, the idea that at the start of designing an Appreciative Inquiry process, you should be asking “Whose voice are we reluctant to hear?” These may be the voices that you most need to hear from (an idea that ties in neatly with the Wholeness Principle).
– A tip about the power of persistence and trusting the process: one of his students, noting that team meetings were energy-draining, full of complaints, and people looking to him to solve problems, decided to change things up. He started the next meeting by asking ‘What’s the best thing you saw happening here since our last team meeting?’ Silence. So he sold a story himself.
The next team meeting, same question, more silence, so he told another story about the best thing he’d seen happening. It wasn’t until the third meeting that people started to share their stories of positive developments.
A tip from my perspective: => when I heard this, I wondered if he might have helped his team get past their reluctance to speak out with positive stories by asking them to pair up first and ask each other individually about the best thing they’d seen happening. It’s easier to talk in a new way with one other person than to put yourself out there in front of a group of your colleagues – but having shared a positive story with one person, and knowing that everyone else has too, it’s then much easier to share your story in front of a group.
– Another tip from Luc about public consultation – you’ll get more response if you go to where people are to consult them, rather than expecting them to come to you. Going to them also demonstrates in a concrete way that you’re willing to reach out.
– Finally, Luc mentioned in passing that “there is no failure, only learning.” Anyone who has trained (like me) in NLP will be familiar with the mantra that “There is no failure, only feedback.” The way Luc put it seems to me a much more user-friendly way of stating this principle, because it’s instantly understandable. (I’ll explore this idea a bit more in the next edition of my Practical NLP newsletter).
So I highly recommend you check out at least this episode of the Inspiring Impacts podcast – it’s a valuable addition to the learning resources available for Appreciative Inquiry. I’m also going to get his book Appreciative Inquiry as a Daily Leadership Practice: Realizing Change One Conversation at a Time.
Do you want to open up new possibilities for team coaching and motivating and engaging your staff?
What new ideas to turbocharge your effectiveness could you come up with, by applying Appreciative Inquiry to your existing expertise?
Check out the Practical Appreciative Inquiry training starting soon!