by David L. Cooperrrider, Weatherhead School of Management,
Case Western Reserve University
Article prepared for the Organizational Dynamics 2012
The emergence of strengths-based management may be the management innovation of our time. Nearly every organization has been introduced to its precepts—for example, the insight that a person or organization will excel only by amplifying strengths, never by simply fixing weaknesses. But in spite of impressive returns, organizations and managers have almost all stopped short of the breakthroughs that are possible.
With micro tools largely in place, the future of strengths management is moving increasingly to the macromanagement level, as witnessed in the rapid and far-reaching use of large group methods such as the Appreciative Inquiry Summit. Macro means whole and, by definition, unites many improbable opposites—for example, it embraces top down and bottom up simultaneously.
But the rules of macromanagement are different than any other kind, most certainly micro-management. A decade of research and successful prototyping with industry pioneers reveals five “X” factors—a specific set of mutually reinforcing elements of success–and provides a clear set of guidelines for when and how you can deploy the “whole system in the room” capacity to bring out the best in your organization in times of complexity, change, or big league opportunity.