One of my favorite books of all time is ‘The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry’. At 64 pages it is certainly not the most challenging books I’ve ever read but it certainly is one of the most powerful. In a few thousand words the authors have compressed a great deal of common sense about creating teams, organizations and work groups that work. The ‘AI approach’ has, at it’s very center, the premise that – when we collaborate special things can happen.
The assumptions that underpin A.I. are:
- In every society, organization, or group, something works.
- What we focus on becomes our reality.
- Reality is created in the moment, and there multiple realities.
- The act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way.
- People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future (the unknown) when they carry forward parts of the past (the known).
- If we carry parts of the past forward, they should be what is best about the past.
- It is important to value differences.
- The language we use creates our reality.
What a powerful set of assumptions. The assumptions we decide use have a powerful effect on our ability to collaborate. Imagine for a moment the kind of work place you would have if just these eight simple assumptions were adhered to by everyone you worked with. This is the promise of the AI approach and for that matter Collaborative Intelligence (CQ) . By taking an appreciative / collaborative approach to our professional (and personal) lives our willingness and ability to create great things increases exponentially. I have seen marvelous things happen within teams that embraced the above assumptions.
In effect we are asking the question “What can we do together that we can not do alone?”