One area of my expertise is Appreciative Inquiry and Appreciative Advising.
Appreciative Inquiry is an organizational model developed by David Cooperrider, a faculty member and chair at Case Western Reserve University, and at its core is focusing on the positive within a person, or an organization. Instead of asking what is the problem, or what is not working, the questions focus on successes, and what is working. This model was initially used as a consultancy tool in an attempt to bring about strategic change. It has been a successful tool in organizations, businesses, and government operations.
Consider if you were a consultant. You are hired to address a change in leadership within a corporation. The company is going in a discouraging direction, so they have hired a new president and they want to create a strategic plan for the future. Your job is to assess the organizational model of the corporation that will inform the strategies for the next decade. Some consultants will focus on what is not working within the organization. They will look for the deficits. Appreciative Inquiry takes a different approach. Under this model, you will focus on the strengths of the employees, and you will pay attention to what structures are benefiting the current talent. Instead of asking “what is wrong,” you ask, “what is working?”
Jennifer Bloom, a faculty member and coordinator of a Higher Education Leadership and Masters program at the University of South Florida, took this notion and applied it to education. At first, she focused on academic advising, coining the term Appreciative Advising. She then offered a broad approach for all levels of education, appropriately being coined Appreciative Education.
Cooperrider offers 4 steps to his process, that are also at the core for Bloom. They are: Discover-Dream-Design-Deliver. Bloom adds an initial stage known as Disarm, and a concluding stage known as Don’t Settle. Working with students, the Disarm step focuses on nonverbal behavior, and trust-building activities. The Don’t Settle step challenges the student to assess their year, and to imagine what more they can do in the future.
I look forward to providing training, consultation, and any further leadership to support your efforts to focus on the strengths of your communities and as an individual.