Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Thinking about Rio+20: who owns the Green Economy? | Opinion | Whitsunday Times

I read the paper here: Rio+20: who owns the Green Economy? | Opinion | Whitsunday Times and I’m worried (also see the other document from the parallel People Summit at Rio “Another Future is Possible” which is referenced from that “Tragedy of the Commons” blog post of the School of Commoning).

I’m worried because, like so many expert advices in organizations and governments, it’s unheard by those in a position to lead the change. To the best case, it will end on presidential desks and maybe will be read by them. To the worst, it will be forgot or even fuel that “tragedy of the commons” we’re experiencing regarding ecology on a global level where the more pressing the situation is, the more pushy ecologically aware people will become, thereby making leaders resist.

To me, the problem is two-fold: 1) experts having a non systemic perspective and 2) experts  pushing leaders to change using fear.

Let’s look at these. Read more »

Memento Appreciative Inquiry en français (in french) (#ai #pdf #free)

(the english version of this post & document has been published earlier here)

J’ai réalisé il y a un certain temps maintenant le petit memento qui suit concernant les principes et le déroulé d’une initiative Appreciative Inquiry. Vous pouvez le télécharger et le diffuser (en laissant l’attribution SVP 🙂

Bonne lecture!

Commentaires les bienvenus!

TRI Appreciative Inquiry v2.3 FR (mise à jour du 12/07/2012)


Free Appreciative Inquiry PDF Leaflet (#ai #pdf #free)

I’ve just finished translating a leaflet I wrote in french a few years ago on Appreciative Inquiry.

Now, the document is available in english. Feel free to use and send to whoever you want, provided you keep the attribution.

It’s a short summary describing the principles and the method to get started in AI. For a more thorough list of papers, please go to the AI Commons or check the (excellent) AI Practitioner magazine.

TRI Appreciative Inquiry v2.3 EN

Enjoy !

(french: La version française est accessible dans ce post!)

#Prezi presentation of Appreciative Inquiry for Community Development #AI

Someone on LinkedIn posted a link to this wonderful Prezi presentation. Although you might not be into community Development, most of the presentation is worth looking. Check it out!

It appears that the author, Lise Palmer, authored other Prezi, on AI and else. Probably worth checking out too!

Well done, Lisa!!


Don’t look for #change resistance. It’s bad for you.

People expect change resistance and most, if not all, change approaches recommend anticipating it to better fight or manage it.

Indeed, in a pure constructivist view, what you look for, you’ll find (one of the principles of Appreciative Inquiry). If you keep asking what might go wrong, chances are that people (willing to help you) will play devil’s advocate and throw stones at your ideas. Indeed, you’re the one that looked for these people in the first place! Further, by confronting these people, you’ll most probably dig your grave yourself. You entail yourself to critics, a sure way to lower your morale and make your project stale. In a short time, you’ll see but the bad sides of your project.

On the other hand, if you search for supporters, chances are you’ll find some, too (same constructivist principle). Supporters will praise your ideas and send you positive messages that will boost your energy. Being in a good mood, you’re in a better position to listen for ideas that may enhance yours, creating synergies among participants, fostering even more positive energy and moving everybody in that future they’re collectively imagining, thereby creating it (the fact that you might have taken these very same ideas as critics in the previous situation will, hopefully, never occur to you!).

Here’s a trick to help you find supporters: ask them what they need first and see how your ideas could provide it then show them how.

Did you know that most people love to help others? How could you find out by yourself?

An NGO Training Guide for Volunteers (featuring #appreciativeinquiry)

I just stumbled on this PDF document from PeaceCorps of  An NGO Training Guide for Volunteers that features Appreciative Inquiry as a way to develop NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations).

You might be interested in their whole online library.

Other interesting resources include (check out because you might be interested in other stuff!)

Aren’t these nice printouts for Christmas? :o)

Merry Christmas!

Reblog: Metaphors of Organisation by James Lawley

Someone just mentioned this:

Metaphors of Organisation part 1 & part 2.

Very interesting!

I’d like to add the “Organizations as mysteries to be embraced” (google search) way of seeing them, as proposed by Appreciative Inquiry for instance.

Reading this paper might throw you more into constructivism… This is for you own good. I’m not sorry for that 😉


#Strength based Hoshin Kanri (#Lean policy deployement)?

My recent post about how Hoshin Kanri is respectful of people got me some feedback on Twitter about how hoshin can also be used to oppress people.

Of course, if management doesn’t take lower hierarchical level ideas into account, or if the “bottom-up”  part is not done at all, can it turns back into classical “command and control” way of managing an organization. But this is not Lean Hoshin Kanri anymore, in the same way that Lean can be Mean, but then it’s not Lean anymore either.

Now, I would like to focus a bit more on how Hoshin Kanri can be done with a Strength-based touch in order to reinforce that “respect for people” part of it.

First of all, I think Hoshin is already somewhat strength-based (again, when done “properly”) in that it asks people about their advice on what ought to be done to improve the organization. People are more likely to give a direction that suits them (conforms to their strengths) than any other one.

But then, it seems to me the focus on strengths could be reinforced explicitly. Here’s how:

  • First, in the initial vision building, the strength part need to be made explicit by not referring to what’s broken inside the company, but rather to what makes the company successful. Some kind of values that are already shared by employees of the companies, or some values that are already acknowledged by the market (and known to the employees). If that is not the case, then I think it’s worth investing some time upfront into developing such a positive (hence powerful) vision, with approaches like Appreciative Inquiry which inquire into what’s been working best for people and what they value as individual and as a social group.
  • Second, building on this initial shared positive vision, each descending step of the hoshin kanri should work with whatever excellence is recognized at each level and try to maximize it (first by appreciating it, then by amplifying it). When that recognition comes from management and is the basis for further reflection down the hierarchy, it will be a huge motivation booster for people to contribute!
  • Then, each and every collaborator, under guidance from their direct manager, need to be coached into reflecting on their own strengths and how they see these fitting with the values of the department in which they’re in. The question being asked here not being “does they fit?” (closed question – bad), but “how could they fit better?” (opened question – good)

After the initial descending part of hoshin kanri, the bottom-up part should re-assemble a whole lot more positive energy and ideas for amplifying and refracting inner strengths than has never been possible under other approaches.

Peter Drucker, famous Leadership guru, taught us that “the role of leadership is to align strengths so as to make weaknesses irrelevant“. I’m confident this might be a way to make it work.

The way I propose to conduct the hoshin kanri above is somewhat similar to what could be done with Appreciative Inquiry. Yet, it may be more structured and thus resemble more what traditional policy deployment looks like. As a consequence, it may be more acceptable for a top manager to try this rather than a whole-system change a la AI.

What do you think of it?

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