Exploding Appreciation


Leonie Cutts

May 6, 2015 7:15 am

Friday was a great day.  After a week where the world mourned the devastation and loss that was caused by the earthquake in Nepal, we questioned and struggled with the executions of the Bali Nine ringleaders, and closer to home we dealt with the natural disaster in the Lake Macquarie area, Friday was a day of hope.

It was hope that was injected into a room full of keen listeners by Appreciative Inquiry founder, David Cooperrider. It was not false hope, but hope grounded in the incredible and unifying work that he and his team have been undertaking. He shared his experiences with the UN and business owners, where using Appreciative Inquiry, there was real movement and progress toward peace.

He also shared some inspiring stories of creating change in organisations by uniting the entire company through Appreciative Inquiry, describing it as ‘magic in wholeness’.

If you have ever asked yourself, what is the ideal group size for a training, you may be interested to hear what David and his team have been doing. He gave one example where they had an entire organisation – the whole 2200 people together, united in conversation. The result? 300% increase in profitability and 75% decrease in absenteeism.

Create a setting where everyone thinks and acts like owners of the business.

Appreciative Inquiry, as the name implies, is a positive questioning approach to change and development. The basic process of Appreciative Inquiry is to begin with a grounded observation of the ‘best of what is’, then through vision and logic, collaboratively articulate what might be, ensuring the consent of those in the system to ‘what should be’ and collectively experimenting with ‘what can be’.

The CCS is a natural partner for conversations of Appreciative Inquiry. The CCS seeks to draw out of our understanding, the elements, ideals, emotions and experience that we all hold within us which encourages us to engage in dialogue about what we discover. It can be used to provoke participants to recall the best of their relevant lived experience, then to collaborate with others in bringing about positive change.

The real act of discovery is not finding new lands, but seeing with new eyes.

David reminded us that the news bombards us with 90% of negative. Positive psychology has shown us the power of focusing on strengths and positive – that we can inject hope, inspiration and joy and that we can actually reverse past negative patterns.

We don’t need to be central, but we need to feel essential

Now, Macquarie Graduate School of Management are bringing David Cooperrider and his team to deliver Leadership Deep Dive, a program designed to help leaders acquire the skills, knowledge and insights to become outstanding leaders.

I left the talk feeling more hopeful for the world and what we can achieve if we work together and work with our strengths.

Strengths do more than perform – they transform.