clave para la indagación apreciativa

Involve everyone in the organization in the change is the key to success

Steve Jobs had a great phrase: “ Focus on the things that you have the opportunity to do well”. One of the greatest business leaders looked to strengths not weaknesses.

This is the basis of appreciative inquiry and the methodology we use at Madavi to “change the way in which organizations change”.

Appreciative inquiry is a revolutionary approach to change and growth in organizations; the term “inquiry” refers to the asking of positive questions, while “appreciative” in this context means recognizing the strengths of something or someone.

That is to say that Appreciative Inquiry is based on the idea that organizations change as a function of the questions asked; those organizations that inquire into their problems and difficulties will obtain more of the same, but those that try to discover what is best in themselves will discover how to achieve success.

Why should we think that the growth of a company has to depend on resolving the “problems”? That could be a summary of the line of argument of the father of IA, David Cooperrider

In meetings it is normal to analyze failures and problems. When there is a problem everyone wants to know why. Madavi proposes to inquire into the successes asking: What have you done to have so much success?  This question generates a productive conversation. We are so little accustomed to inquire into success that people do not know how to answer quickly, they have to think about it and that is a good thing. They will realize what were the factors that have worked, and “The best of what is” to do it more and better. As a result, the person learns what DOES work and the essential aspects that have made it work.  He/she will feel better than if you congratulate him/her because we are considering that person as a source of learning.  By asking we are saying I want to learn from you! That is really recognizing the person with capital letters.

This methodology aligns organizations towards a shared attractive image of the future, which will improve productivity, increase the commitment and satisfaction of the people and stimulate the generation of ideas. Any system moves better towards what it DOES want.

Involve the whole organization

We have already talked in several posts about the results that arise by this way of approaching change, such as discovering the assets and strengths, which the organization has, or the joint vision of the future. Today, however, we want to underline one of the principle values of Appreciative Inquiry and the methodology of Madavi compared to other models: involving the whole organization in the change.

It does not matter what position one has in the company each person is in part responsible for success. The participation of all the players, designing their future is fundamental for their transformation. To be part of the process generates commitment and movement.


A Summit is a collaborative event for many people: 20, 50, 100, 200 or more. When it is celebrated all the people necessary for success are brought together at the same time and the same place to create collective action aimed towards an attractive image of the future.

Throughout our long trajectory we have carried out summits with companies such as LinkedIn, Suntory Schweppes, Danone, Frit Ravich, Evian, Weleda, Mahou San Miguel, Volvo, Pepe Jeans, Eroski, Tactic Consulting, The Motion, Inspiralia, Repsol, Congalsa and Meta 4 amongst others.


women in leadership

Women in Leadership, a complete change of paradigme

Women in Leadership – The creation of a balanced world.

To create a more balanced world it is necessary to change the paradigm of leadership amongst both men and women. This is already happening in many companies. A good example is Meta4, a technological company, where feminine leadership is included in the organizational culture and compliments masculine leadership in a very masculine business environment.

Program of  “Women in Leadership”, at Madavi

The program of “Women in Leadership” proposes  a different model of leadership because its starts by finding its roots in the strengths and potential arising from our past experiences of success.

The traditional model of programs to develop leadership start from what we lack, what we do not have in order to develop new abilities. The emphasis is put on what I have to improve by learning from what we lack. Sometimes this approach can become a mountain, which requires a lot of energy to climb. However, the focus which we propose at Madavi, by searching in our past for successful experiences, is to reconnect with what we have, what has given us life, energy and motivated and propelled us to achieve our aspirations.

Going to the source of our strengths. 

In the feminine archetype, due to our high level of self-demand, we often forget those strengths, which have helped us overcome obsolete beliefs and obstacles, which seemed to be unsurpassable.  By going to the source of strengths we strengthen our self-confidence, raise our self-esteem and bring the energy of the past to the present. We have already been there; we have already done it and know how to do it. At that moment the mountain, which we have to climb, does not seem to require so much effort and that positive energy propels us forward.

A complete change of paradigm.

Therefore, the  model of  Women in Leadership contributes to a complete change of paradigm, by looking from abundance instead of from scarcity, from what we already have that gives us life instead of what we lack. The energy is different, it propels us into movement and development with a very high motivation to pass into action and change whatever is necessary.

The way that the program of Women in Leadership is designed includes another factor, which is to work with collective intelligence. All the intelligences of everyone in the room co-creating jointly serve to multiply rather than simply sum the creativity of the innovative solutions. The exchange of experiences enriches, inspires and develops a collaborative and supportive environment necessary to sustain us on our way to development and expansion. The networking is strengthened and we ferment learning communities that continue to function after the program.  It has been proved that that the development towards leadership and promotion in professional careers obtain better results accompanied than alone.



Liderazgo femenino

Female leadership, challenges and opportunities

By Ana García Villas-Boas, partner at Madavi

In Spain, women represent only 19% of Management Committees and 11%  of Executive Committees, even if it has been proved that companies with a greater number of women in leadership positions achieve better results.

58% of university graduates in Spain are women, however this fact has not led to an increase in the number of women in leadership roles. The percentage of women in executive committees is 11% and far from the average of the European Union (15%). Without the incorporation of women into the labour market Spanish GDP in 2015 would have been 18% less. [1]

Several studies prove the positive correlation between the presence in leadership positions of women and financial and organizational performance.

In the same manner, several studies show that the presence of women improve the taking of decisions.

The presence of women seems to foment innovation and creativity, reduce conflicts and better  collaboration and loyalty. We find an example of this phenomenon in an investigation published in the Harvard Business Review [2]which points out that the collective intelligence of a group increased as the female representation did so.

The probabilities of promotion at all levels of a professional career are less for women.

The studies about women in leadership positions tend to concentrate on executive boards and committees but it is essential to examine the professional careers that have led to those positions. An investigation carried out in 47 companies, showed that the problem of the highest positions had their origin in the lowest ones, since women only represented 37 per cent of the workers hired. If one bears in mind that Spanish women represent 58% of university graduates this fact results even more alarming.

Spanish women who join a company have less possibilities of promotion than men at all levels. The men in the top managerial positions have four times more probabilities of becoming Managing Director.  These figures are similar to the European average.

The corporative obstacles, the cultural dynamics and the lifestyle are the principle factors that prevent the incorporation of Spanish women into positions of leadership.

Corporative Obstacles

Only 26% of Managing Directors state that diversity of gender as a priority. A visible and recurring  lack of compromise exists on the part of management. The lack of mentors and reference models to guide women and help them climb the corporative structure is another aspect related to corporative obstacles.

Cultural Dynamics and Lifestyle

In Spain women are responsible for the majority of household tasks. According to a study [3] nearly 60 per cent of Spaniards agreed with the idea that “ families are affected when women have a full time job” (compared to 33 per cent in other European countries [4]).  75% of executives admitted that Spanish companies expect practically total availability of their employees.

Women are principally responsible for household tasks; it is a work culture marked by absolute availability, and this fact implies that they have “two jobs”. In Spain, managers have to be available at all times; in fact, 81 per cent of managers interviewed agreed that the managing model of success in existence is that of “at any time, in any place”. Moreover, half of the employees interviewed said that children are incompatible with a top management job and that one has to choose between family life and a successful professional career

The digital transformation of society offers an opportunity in this sense. The flexibility that technology brings when it comes to choosing when and where to work could be of great benefit to men and women and impact positively on the ratios of employability.

Personal Attitude

Personal attitude does not seem to be, a priori, a large obstacle in Spain compared to other European countries. Spanish men and women show high levels of ambition: 70 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men wish to reach positions of top management. Moreover, 85 per cent of Spanish women are confident that they will succeed (compared to 90 per cent of men). These figures are considerably higher than the world average: only 58 per cent of women and 76 per cent of men) are confident of reaching positions of top management.

However, these facts change as Spanish women ascend. The difference in ambition between men and women, which are 10 percentage points at the beginning, rises to 12 percentage points once women reach intermediate positions. That is why we believe that aspects like confidence and resilience to make this possible should be reinforced by companies and by women themselves.

What style of leadership do companies need?

The style of leadership that companies require in a VUCA environment (Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) demands more abilities related to the feminine archetype, such as empathy, development of people, consensual decision taking, participation, collaboration and teamwork. The diversity and complementarity of the abilities of the masculine and feminine archetype lead to results of high achievement in business, as was mentioned above.

This situation offers the opportunity to contribute our feminine abilities in a masculine environment where the tendency of the female manager is to promote the abilities of the masculine archetype in order to be accepted by the system and the culture of the organization.

Women in Leadership

The program Women in Leadership of Madavi contributes a total change in the paradigm, by looking from  abundance instead of from scarcity, from that which we already have and which gives us life and works instead of from what we lack. The energy is different, it catapults us towards movement and development with a very high motivation to pass into action and change what is necessary.

The way program Women in Leadership is designed includes another factor, which is to work with collective intelligence. All the intelligences in the room co-creating jointly multiply the creativity of the innovative solutions which most sum. The final purpose of the program is to give women greater confidence and a network of support to reach out for their dream.



[1] Report McKinsey&Company, “Women Matter 2017, A way forward for Spain”

[2] Harvard Business Review, 2011. “Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women” 

[3] GESIS ISSP Research Group 2012, International Social Survey Programme: Familia y género IV – ISSP 2012. 

[4] Bélgica, Alemania, España, Portugal, Suecia, Noruega, Francia, Reino Unido. 


gestionar el talento de forma apreciativa

The importance of managing talent in an appreciative manner in organizations

“No-one should be named in a managerial position if his or her vision is focused on the weaknesses rather than the strengths of people ” Peter Drucker.

In an ever more globalized world which is in constant evolution, organizations are undergoing transformation processes as never before and converting into areas which are more diverse, innovative and cosmopolitan. In this context people se are starting to be valued and positioned increasingly as the most important asset of the company.

The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) defines the meaning of talent as  “an intelligent  or able person for a specific occupation”.  Although it seems to be a simple thing to understand, some writers like Peter Drucker, see it from a much more complex perspective. Drucker, writer of dozens of books and  is considered to be the father of modern management, believed that people are the centre of the revolution in quality and productivity in the heart of  companies, because the quality of the person is determinant in the quality of work.

People in the centre of the organization

Drucker was one of the first writers to see people for what they really are: The most important resource in the organization, and as such cannot be reduced to a number expressed as a cost. He said that the people who possess talent are the principle ingredient in successful companies, going further than simple tangible aspects. An idea, which in its day, was undoubtedly revolutionary.

Talent has to be managed precisely by the appropriate leader or on the contrary there is the risk of losing it.  “No-one should be named in a managerial position if his vision focuses on weaknesses instead of the strengths of  people”, Drucker said, in line with the principles of madavi. The mission of a leader should precisely be the alignment of the strengths of an organization in such a way that the weaknesses become something irrelevant. That is to say, to lead in an appreciative manner which is undoubtedly the easiest and most effective one.

To lead in an appreciative manner

Everyone who leads has the potential to do so appreciatively, logically using his or her strengths and personal style. Some leaders inspire more, while others rely more on process. What changes is the focus: to work from abundance instead of from scarcity.

This type of leadership is based appreciative inquiry, a concept that  believes that a system moves in the direction it investigates. That is to say that companies grow and develop at a greater speed as long as they investigate what they do have and what they do want rather than investigate the problems. If we study problems we shall not reach the desired results….we shall only waste resources which, by the way, are valuable and scarce.

Applying appreciative inquiry to people means discovering all their strengths and  those of others with the objective of combining them.  They have told us that we have strengths and weaknesses and that is not true.  We only have strengths, weaknesses is what we do not have.  What can you do with what you do not have? NOTHING.

In this situation, as Drucker pointed out, successful companies are and will be those that are capable of creating the necessary conditions which permit the employees to give the best of themselves…  to work in an appreciative  environment.  Each company is a learning institution at all levels and permanently so, which means that we have to ensure to make effective the strengths and  talents of our employees and develop new strengths, which combined will make the weaknesses which you do not have  irrelevant, because you have combined  in teams your  strengths with those of the others.


“What is the point of putting focus on what we DO NOT have?”

Fernando Iglesias, founder of Madavi, has recently done an interview for Capital Humano on appreciative inquiry, addressing the cultural changes that are necessary to implement this system into the heart of companies. “What is the point of putting focus on what we DO NOT have when we have so much,” he points out.

– What tools does inquiry use and in what practices has it been transferred into the company?
Appreciative inquiry is a methodology, a set of principles, a philosophy and a way of seeing what is around you.
You start with the first two, and when you experience it in large groups, you want to apply that philosophy to all aspects, at work and in your life.
I shall start with an example from life. Parents go from asking why you have failed in a subject to making an appreciative evaluation of their childrens’ grades. They analyse the best results so that the child learns to succeed using their strengths. This learning is used for the areas with the greatest potential for change and to help design their path.
Here is an example from work. After the presentations, people stop using phrases such as “Mr. YES BUT” and whose surname is “I ALREADY SAID IT”. An appreciative practice is to share first what you liked most, what was useful, what you have learned in order to make explicit what is abundant. We start with what is a YES, we can talk about how to make the proposal even better and the unwanted side effects later on and finally we shall decide if it is as good for the whole as to invest in it. As my partner Miguel A. Sanz says, “Abundance helps us talk.”

– Can you survive as a business ignoring the flaws?
In no case are they ignored. What changes completely is the way in which we address them.
Imagine that what “fails” miserably is communication. Instead of analysing why it fails, we put together many people, 100, 200 … and investigate moments in which communication has been vital for success. This is how we learn, from the stories of hundreds of people of how communication is orientated towards success. From this learning, we imagine what the company and the business results will look like, an attractive image of the future, and then we come to immediate collective action. Unlike “problem solving”, appreciative inquiry uses the energy that is produced by discovering that you do know and what you want and that you can achieve exceptional communication which helps you achieve your aspirations.
It is not evading problems; it is running over them. Much faster and more motivating.

– What type of leader is needed to bolster up this system?
Everyone has the potential to do it, and in fact, you work on it.
It’s about moving from current to appreciative leadership. Always using your strengths and in some way your own style. What changes is the focus.
The development starts from abundance and simultaneity.
Abundance because it begins with an appreciative investigation by managers and executives to individual contributors. We enquire about what the leader did at a time when the interviewee was very proud of their contribution.
From this learning, a leaders development summit is held, 100, 200 … Their best leadership moments are explored and they discover their strengths at those moments. When finished, through a digital tool, they are able to carry out an appreciative session, to align the strengths of all their team towards the aspirations and objectives. The result is always action; its about doing, the rest is theory.

This form of massive and simultaneous development is what generates speed of change. When the attitudes of others add up, they push you forward and the whole team or the company go in the same direction.

– What cultural changes are needed to work with this system?
What we do is add some additional ingredients to the culture that the client wants. The abundance and simultaneity generate cooperation at another level: appreciation, trust, speed, joy … Therefore, it is the antidote of “departmentitis”, of being defensive, of criticism, etc. There are incompatible cultural features, and therefore these tend to disappear. You can be appreciative in very different cultures. This is what we see day-to-day with our customers.

– What are the most common resistances found?
More than resistance there is disbelief, amazement. It is normal. The change of paradigm is of such a dimension that we are always asked the same question, in its different versions: “Can we survive as a business by ignoring flaws?”
The most classic question is: “If it is difficult for a few of us to agree, how are we going to agree amongst so many?” The answer is simple. From scarcity we diverge, we confront each other, there is projection of blame. From abundance we come together, we appreciate each other. What is the point of focusing on what we DO NOT have when we have so much.

– How can appreciative inquiry help in digital transformation?
We always treat culture and business simultaneously. Each and every one of the transformations being undergone at present have to do to a greater or lesser intensity with the digitalisation.
To digitise culture it is essential that people have an attractive image of the future with the enormous digital change. It has to be attractive to customers, the company and to oneself. If this is the case, everyone wants to get on board. It is a much better place to be. How can one address the fact that I will not be able to guarantee the job in the future?
I love LinkedIn’s proposal to its employees. It is honest and beneficial for everyone. “When you leave LinkedIn you will be a better professional, more valued and a LinkedIn ambassador. WOW if you do not know the future what could be better than to increase your employability and simultaneously feel proud of what was done in the company. It gives you freedom and satisfaction. Who can give more? The employees return it with energy and the pride of belonging. Very appreciative.

-Can you give an example of the use of this methodology in order to face the challenges faced by the current HR departments?
I am particularly proud of the diversity initiative of my partner Ana García Villas Boas, “Woman in Leadership: use your power for a balanced world”. Ana’s program starts by creating abundance, with an inquiry into its own strengths that analyses moments in which other people have experienced our best version, our potential in action. The summit includes all women managers or future directors at the same time, applying the principle of simultaneity. By doing this simultaneously, enough energy and complicity is introduced to balance the system. Something that has been unbalanced and skewed for a long time needs a lot of energy to compensate it.
Energy is the ability to generate movement. Movement is very inclusive towards men. If you want to be included, be inclusive and include yourself. According to Ana, women tend to offer themselves less than men, they expect their boss to see them and promote them; you have to have an pro-active attitude, “use your power”. Not saying anything can be interpreted as a lack of interest.
A balanced world is sought, a world in which all the strengths of men and women are used. Or do not we have big enough challenges in the world? In my opinion, they are huge. When we use the best of what there is, the possibilities multiply.

5 key concepts

Abundance: Focus on what is the best of what is, you will always find a lot. We combine what is best towards the “Yes” we want it.
Simultaneity: Includes all those that generate success at the same time.
Energy: Maintain an unconditionally positive attitude.
Equanimity: We relate to each individual with the same enthusiasm, dedication and nearness.
Intention: Guide yourself by looking for the most beneficial and least harmful for the group at all times.

Liderazgo apreciativo

Moving from existing to appreciative leadership, managing from abundance and simultaneity

Liderazgo apreciativo

Each day more firms in Spain bet on Appreciative Inquiry, a model which transforms organizations. It is question of “changing the way in which we change”, of transforming the culture and business of the organizations in a simultaneous manner. The premise is simple: A system moves in the direction that it investigates, that is to say, that companies grow and develop at a greater speed as long as they investigate what they DO have and what they DO want instead of investigating problems and lamenting what they DO NOT have.

If we put the focus on detecting problems these will grow, multiply and become all the more solid. It is the paradigm of deficit, scarcity and what we do not want. But when we study what are the best moments, what in Madavi we call “peak experiences”, these will also multiply.

What sort of leader is necessary to prop up this system?

All who lead have the potential to do so in an appreciative manner, logically using their strengths and in some way their own style. Some leaders are more inspirational; others depend more on process etc. What changes is the focus from working from abundance instead of from scarcity.

According to Peter Drucker: the mission of a leader is to align the strengths of an organization in the form and manner that make the weakness something irrelevant. This is to lead in an appreciative manner. Without doubt it is easier and more effective.

How to develop this leadership?

The development starts from abundance and simultaneity.  Abundance because the first step is for the managers and directors to investigate the individual collaborators via interviews. We inquire into what the leader did at the moment the interviewee felt very proud of his/her performance and contribution.

From this learning a summit of development is carried out with the leaders, 100, 200… It is here where simultaneity enters. If we only do it with a few when they return to the office the existing culture absorbs them, but if they all do it at the same time the new culture propels you forward. Simultaneity generates speed.

In the development summit the best moments of leadership are explored. Episodes of which they feel proud and the strengths of those moments are discovered.

What is interesting is that the strengths, values, and principles of leadership of the two inquiries tend to come together. The leader realizes that he/she can and wants to do so.

At the end, through a digital tool, they are capable of doing an appreciative self-managed session with their team. In this session they align the strengths of all their team towards the aspirations and objectives. The result is always action; it is about doing….all the rest is theory.

This form of massive and simultaneous development is what generates speed of change. When the attitudes of the everyone sum they propel you forward and all the team or company goes in the same direction. It is necessary to move hundreds, thousands… The energy for change comes from the sum of the energy that each person puts. It cannot be bought.

From scarcity we diverge, we confront and project blame. From abundance we converge, we align.  What sense does it have for the leader to put the focus and what we do not have when we have so much.




Transformación digital

Interview with Fernando Iglesias about digital transformation in organizations

Transformación digital

The digital transformation of Spanish companies is today one of the main challenges in the pursuit of competitiveness. Many of them are aware of this reality and are investing in technological expenditure. According to IDC Research Spain, this will reach 41,600 million euros in 2018.

However, it is necessary to look beyond the material investment, betting on new paradigms of business management in line with the reality of the current world, which is increasingly complex, and so we must do something simple. Fernando Iglesias, CEO of Madavi, proposes “to change the way we change”.

Appreciative Inquiry is a clear example of this. It is a methodology to promote change in organizations, which transforms culture and business simultaneously. It focuses on aligning strengths towards aspirations in the sense of opportunities.

“Each and every one of the transformations underway at present have to do in greater or lesser intensity with digitalization”. To digitalize the organizational culture, it is essential that people have an attractive image of the future” comments Madavi CEO Fernando Iglesias. He adds that this image has to be attractive for the clients, for the company and also for oneself, the last element being the key factor of change: “If this is the case, everyone will want to get on the digitalization bandwagon. It will be a much better place for all of us to be.”

Appreciative Inquiry

The reality is that many people do not see themselves reflected in the change and when they do not see themselves they tend to resist either consciously or unconsciously. To resist is to take energy away from the change when it is the moment that is most needed.

The premise of appreciative inquiry is that a system, in this case a company, grows and develops at a higher speed as long as it investigates what it does have and what it does want, instead of inquiring into the problems. To digitalize the organizational culture, it is essential that people visualize an attractive image of the future: a desirable place for the whole team and for each one individually. “When the attitudes of everyone add up, they push you forward and the whole team goes in the same direction,” says Iglesias.

We must also talk about the “Elephant in the room”, by that he means job security. People are afraid that digitalization will take their job.

“LinkedIn’s proposal with its employees is honest and beneficial for all. It is assumed that this era of change does not guarantee long-term employment. LinkedIn offers its employees that when you leave the company you will be a better, more valued professional and ‘ambassador’ of LinkedIn and its values in exchange for its energy and talent. All this is very appreciative, the key is to find what is good in a situation,” says Iglesias.

The Elephant in the room, in this case it is a very large elephant, must be dealt with and the process itself must be a source of employability for those who stay and those who will leave in the future. The market needs workers, it is the way to have better salaries and opportunities … let’s be a factory of digital workers. It’s a WIN WIN. The speed arises when many win.

Six key steps

How to apply Appreciative Inquiry to drive digital transformation? Iglesias points out six steps:

  1. Create a Full Power team with two characteristics: it has to represent the whole company and include all the necessary external capacities. Groups of between100 and 200 people.
  2. Investigate the advantages of all the technological changes that have appeared in our lives, the benefits obtained, and how each person adopted these technologies, the strengths that they used. These inquiries and their sharing teach us to see that YES we are prepared and that YES we know how to adapt to technological changes, as it indeed has happened in our own lives.
  3. To create an attractive image of the future of the totally digitalized company as a whole, inspired by external capabilities, by experts in Big Data, Block Chain or seamless interaction. The best suppliers will be happy to co-create with your company.
  4. To design the areas of opportunity that drive us, uniting the knowledge that the company has of the market and its customers, the experience that its employees have hoarded up and the new strengths that the “externals” bring. This is how you learn a lot, it is one of the fastest learning methods: create your own way with the knowledge of others. Collective intelligence.
  5. Collective action, many people moving at the time in the same direction: employees and experts.
  6. To ensure that the action is the source of learning.

About digital transformation

To get an idea of the landscape that is occurring around digital transformation in Spain, according to data from IDC Research in Spain, technological spending in companies at country level will reach 41,600 million euros this year and 50% of global GDP in 2021 will come from businesses affected by digital transformation. At the same time 45% of the income of digitally transformed companies will come from new business models.


Impulsar el cambio cultural

The Summits: keys to promote cultural change

Impulsar el cambio cultural

Appreciative inquiry is a methodology to transform the culture and business of organizations that work simultaneously. At Madavi, we change the way organizations change; and for that, instead of analyzing the problems, we inquire about what we call “Peak Moments”.

A Summit is a collaborative event for many: 20, 50, 100, 200 or more people. When celebrated, all the people necessary to succeed and create collective action towards an attractive future image meet at the same time.

At the first Summit we experience the power to “Change the way we change”. Interviews are conducted in pairs, in what we call unlikely couples. For example, if the case is to improve teamwork, the best stories of teamwork would be investigated, those moments where the performance of people has been very high, moments where their protagonists have felt proud.

Throughout our career, we have held Summits and Mini-Summits with a number of companies including LinkedIn, Danone, Frit Ravich, Evian, Weleda, Mahou San Miguel, Volvo, Pepe Jeans, Eroski, Tactic Consulting, The Motion, Zurich, Inspiralia, Danone, Repsol, Congalsa, Meta 4 and Sukia, among others.

The Three stages of a Summit

The development of the Summits takes place during three stages: Pre-Summit, Summit and Post-Summit.

At the Pre-Summit the sponsors, a small group of people who have a change agenda and are convinced that an appreciative process is the best way to change it, delineate  the meaning of the process: they define the tasks of the Summit, the framework, macro objectives and create the team to prepare it. The team defines the affirmative topic, designs the process, selects attendees and is responsible for logistics and communication.

The Summit is seen as the great day . All the necessary stakeholders are in the room, preparing themselves for the unconditionally positive path they are going to take during the Summit, which can last between two and three days depending on their objective. During the sessions strengths are raised and aligned in the form of action towards opportunities.

In the Post-Summit, the organization is anticipated and the necessary impetus is given to help the teams succeed and promote cultural change. We already know the projects, the action, the teams  and the necessary resources. It is time to adjust the planning to reality: Communication channels, approvals, supports, resources, time for volunteers and transformative leadership.


Indagación apreciativa

The objective of appreciative inquiry is to transform the culture of the organization

Appreciative Inquiry is transforming the culture and business of organizations in a simultaneous manner. How? It is based on a simple premise: A system moves in the direction that it investigates, that is to say, companies grow and develop at a greater speed when they investigate what they DO HAVE and what they DO WANT instead of investigating problems.

If we focus on detecting problems, these grow and multiply and became more solid. It is the paradigm of deficit, scarcity and what we do not want. But when we study the best moments, what we call the “summit experiences”, these also multiply, as if, in some way they start to flourish.

To better understand the concept, let us take an example. In 1984 an investigation was carried out between two groups of people learning to bowl.  Both were taught in the same way. They were filmed while playing, but the recordings were edited differently for each group. The first group was given a video  which only included the moments when they played badly, when they committed errors. This is the classical process of detecting errors, analising and correcting them.

The second group were given a video of their best moments, the moments of success with the object of finding what they did best in order to do it more often and better.

Both groups improved but the second one, which was based on their successes, improved at double the speed of the first! That is really the true way to apply appreciative inquiry.

 The appreciative manner in companies.

If what we want is exceptional team work, instead of analising problems, let us inquire into the best stories of team work when their performance has been high and they have felt committed. What did you and the rest do to obtain so much success? What strengths did you bring into play? What internal and external factors facilitated this story of success? How would this team function and what would it achieve if it did more and better what led it to this very success? These are some of the questions that need to be asked. Unconditionally positive questions.

Indagación apreciativa

It is the paradigm of abundance: what we DO WANT and what we DO HAVE. Appreciative inquiry is a philosophy and methodology based on strengths, created by David Cooperrider of the USA. “Appreciative Inquiry is about a rigorous search for the best in people and their organizations in a universe full of strengths in which we we live.” says Cooperrider.

It is appreciating the best of what is: the strengths, the resources, the opportunities. It focuses on exploring and discovering the moments of excellance through inquiry; and in visualising the new potential and opportunities from the combination of collective knowledge.

It is more than a tool, it is a methodology; it is a way of thinking and acting … it is a philosophy of  organizational change and  management.

In contrast to the methods based on  changes in behaviour, appreciative inquiry does not focus in changing people, although undoubtedly it is a very visible collateral effect. It is based on the  collaberative discovery of what makes the organisation more effective from an economic, human and  social point of view.  It is not a question of seeing the glass half full or half empty but rather of investigating what made the water enter and overflow.

Appreciative Inquiry is aligning the strengths towards the aspirations, which are always greater, more motivating and more demanding than the objectives. To sum up, you can go further and get there sooner.


An Appreciative look: it is manure!

It is of interest to distinguish between “what is positive and what is appreciative”.
By positive we understand “something” favorable that has happened to us in circumstances that we believe are to our benefit.

To appreciate is to see “the best of what is”, the potential, what is good, what is positive, what can be used advantageously, independently of the circumstances at any given moment.

To appreciate is universal. We can be appreciative in any sort of circumstances.To appreciate becomes particularly relevant when we do not like what is happening. It is much easier to appreciate that which we do like.

We all know how to identify what is happening when we do not like a situation, because suddenly we feel an emotion without warning which is generally unproductive. The normal reaction is to complain in any of its different varieties. Why me? Who is responsible? How tiring it is to complain and how much energy is consumed in doing so.

When we do not like something a very useful question is: What is the potential of the situation? We start from the premise that every situation has a potential. We should investigate it: Is it shit or manure?

An exceptional case is the company: “Conceptos Plásticos”. They have managed to recycle plastic in Bogotá, they saw as raw material what others saw as shit, to create “pieces of Lego” with which to build houses. To appreciate is to take care of the planet and people, to see abundance where others see scarcity.

You can know their story in the next video:

Think of something that you have on your desk that you do not like. Ask yourself unconditionally positive questions: What is the potential? What positive factors are present? What can you best learn for the future? What have we done well?

Abundance is in everything that surrounds us. We only need to invoke it.