A quick look at our organisational culture can reveal some changes that we can make, or things that we can build upon, to continue strengthening the desired culture that we wish to create, as well as to acknowledge what we have created so far.
Taking an Appreciative Inquiry (AI) approach to enhancing culture, means that we discover the current strengths of a workplace to build upon. So rather than forget about things that are working well, AI aims to carry the good things of the present and past into the future. After all, if something is working well, we do not want to change it for the sake of change.
AI starts with the process of Discovery, which is intended to acknowledge the strengths of the current culture. In the Discovery phase we simply observe and notice what is working really well. We are not problem solving in this phase, or complaining. We are observing the strengths and noticing why things are working well, so that we can transfer these concepts if possible.
Following Discovery, we go to the Dream phase, in which we start creating our ideal vision, which includes taking into account the current strengths of our culture. In the Dream step or phase, we clearly identify what it is that we desire. It is very easy in this step to talk about and write all the things we are unhappy about, this is a very natural area to fall back on. The focus really needs to be what your ideal vision is, since AI assumes that what we focus on eventually becomes our reality.
Once we have clearly identified what the ideal vision or Dream is, we can move on to Design. In this phase we start to plan out the details, project planning all the details. These details will include what timeframes we could realistically achieve the Dream, who is involved in contributing to the Dream, what the actions will be, and so on.
The last step or phase is Delivery. In this phase we implement the Dream, monitor it, continuously improve it, as well as measure changes that have been made. Measurement and continuous improvement are key to achieving the Dream and creating a desired culture that is current.
Appreciative Inquiry is a concept that was co-founded by David Cooperrider, more AI resources can also be found on https://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/.