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.




David Cooperrider

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