David L. Cooperrider and Lindsey N. Godwin August 10th, 2010
“Fields change. And the field of organization development (OD) is changing more than most.” (see Cooperrider et al, 2005; Bushe and Marshak, 2009).
Part of OD’s change is being fueled by exciting breakthroughs in our theories of leadership –what has been called “the strengths revolution in management.” Another major force has been the emergence of Appreciative Inquiry, a paradigm-altering form of action-research that has permeated the fields of organization change and social innovation.
Over two decades ago David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva’s Appreciative Inquiry into Organizational Life forever changed the way we look at organization development and change—it shifted our attention from the world of organizational life as “a problem-to-be-solved” to the world brimming with innovation and a “universe-of-strengths.” A decade later, Gallup’s landmark research study confirmed this basic principle: a person – or organization– will flourish only by amplifying their strengths, never by fixing weaknesses. Since then, millions of managers and leaders around the world have shifted their attention to strengths. And today, many are now asking, “What’s next?” They want to know to take the strengths mindset beyond its common individual-level talent management application and embed strength-based methods into everything they do across the enterprise and beyond.
Why are ‘firms of endearment”—rising industry leading stars that have created huge emotional bonds with the world such as Toyota, Whole Foods, GE, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters—generating investor returns at a rate of some 1,026 percent over a ten year period compared to 122 percent for the S&P 500; more that a 8-to-1 ratio!
It’s because going green is a magic. It’s a productivity engine. What happens, in a nutshell, is a leap in human energy. What happens is an eruption of human imagination. What is generated is a culture of innovation, hope, and a powerful sense of purpose, meaning, and value.
The untold story about the companies embracing sustainability is really an HR story. It is all about the kind of super-charged employee engagement—heart, mind, and motivation—that every C.E.O wants.
How, for example, did Fairmount Minerals do it? Imagine it: you are a loader-operator in the sand pits of this dirty, hard-core mining and manufacturing company, and yet you are on fire with pride, and the company has realized a sizzling 40% annual earnings growth for the past two years, ever since it decided to harness the sustainability advantage to “do good and do well.”
David Cooperrider, PhD, internationally renowned for his work which helped catalyze today’s strengths revolution in management, has been named the next Peter F. Drucker Distinguished Fellow for his contribution to the field of management.
Axiom news recently published an article about how to thrive in our new economic strengths.
“The logic of Appreciative Inquiry is simple,” says Cooperrider.
“If we live in a universe of strengths then we need management methods that are not just top down, nor just bottom up. Appreciative Inquiry says there is a third form of management — and this, I deeply believe, is the future of management. It is not top down or bottom up but whole. Good management, increasingly, is all about thinking in terms of configurations.”
The New Zealand Herald recently carried an article about David’s visit there. Some New Zealand organizations are now using Appreciative Inquiry summit methodology for large scale projects.
“The New Zealand people were really excited,” says Cooperrider”.
People came away with major projects that they are designing. One is to use AI strength-based model to design a summit for NZ trade relations with China. This is an example of the kind of thinking that can happen when you have the tools to bring whole systems together very rapidly, not pushing certain strategic agenda, and not just for dialogue, but for collaboration.
Link to Article – pdf
Fostoria Community Schools, Fostoria, OH United States , Date 04/16/2007
The Fostoria Community Schools in Ohio embarked upon an Appreciative Inquiry to forge a new direction for the schools in the spring of 2006. The links below take you to exciting articles, outcomes and directions that tell the story of Appreciative Inquiry in the Fostoria Community Schools.
For more information on this AI initiative contact Megan Tschannen-Moran and Bob Tschannen-Moran at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
David and Chuck discuss the opening of the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value.
The summit attracted interest worldwide: delegates from Sweden; the head of IBM for North America; MIT and Peter Senge; and the Obama administration. In a world where our nation’s “town hall” meetings are often poisonous and fractionating, Cleveland’s remarkable example shows the world that there is another way. Read more