Earlier today I had a conversation with several colleagues about what it means to be an appreciative consultant and what does that mean for the clients we work with. The conversation was initially framed around the importance of the principles of appreciative inquiry and having clients understand/embrace them. While we all understand the differentiating nature of the principles of appreciative inquiry in our work , we quickly came to the conclusion that delivering results was the key to our success. The ability to deliver consistent results for clients, results that met their expectation and also moved them toward the organization they seek to be was what differentiated our work as appreciative consultants. The conversation turned to the process of delivering consistent results and this is where the consultants of CPC truly set themselves apart from their consulting brethren, we do this in several key areas.
These include and are not limited to:
- We address ‘problems’ from the perspective of what more is desired in the organization, team or community. We believe ‘problems’ are a delightful starting point to explore aspirations and the outcomes most sought after. We believe that many organizations, teams and communities have stopped reaching for their aspirations and the behaviors or actions that truly inspire them – they have settled for the status quo and short-term results. The vision of their highest aspirations or dreams has been buried in efficiency, effectiveness and budget cuts – when organizations, teams and communities are focused on their highest aspirations – the results exceed previous expectations.
- We identify and leverage organizational, team, and community strengths toward the delivery of consistent results. By analyzing previous successes and highpoint experiences, we are able to identify strengths that have previously resulted in desirable results. These strengths are quantified and metrics established for them with input from the whole system. Since all are able to have input into the definition of strengths, the use or application of those strengths becomes easier – there is the feeling of “I want to do this.” We capture the stories of success and the strengths utilized which provides the data to analyze the opportunities to leverage those strengths for future goals or objectives.
- We include the whole system in creating any new performance initiatives or aspirations to pursue. More specifically, if an individual is involved, impacted or knowledgeable about a change being discussed or considered, they are involved in the discussion and development of the actions to be taken. Involving the whole system respects their knowledge, skills and creativity, not to mention it increases commitment to the decisions being made the direction taken. We also believe that individuals allowed to have a voice in implementing change unleash tremendous energy in achieving the results sought after.
While I have outlined only three actions that we bring to a client engagement, I believe they will help highlight how we work and what allows us to deliver consistent results that are grounded in the DNA of the organization, team or community. In future blogs, I will address additional actions and elaborate on the aforementioned ones.
By: Ralph Weickel