Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) is an approach to organizational analysis, learning and change that is uniquely intended for understanding and fostering innovation in organizational relationships and processes. It is essentially an interview process with the unique capacity to discover what gives life to people, relationships, groups and the organizations of which they are a part.
To appreciate means to value deeply the positive, life giving forces, aspects, characteristics, and behavior of people and their relationships to each other. To appreciate also means to fully, deeply understand the situations in which people find themselves, so that it is easier for them to change those situations when necessary.
Ai uses the "unconditional positive question" to engage people in telling their "best" stories ? about their lives, achievements, successes, learning. The process is collaborative, engaging and inspiring. Al invites everyone to locate the energy for change in past achievements and best practices. It underscores peoples? strengths, passion and imagination ? essential factors in achieving their envisioned future.
Ai is distinctly different from problem solving. It does not focus on past events or failed behavior, but on a desired future state or outcome. Ai doesn?t ignore problems; it recognizes them as a desire for something else. The Ai process then encourages people to identify and enhance the "something else."
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The MBTI is an inventory of peoples? distinct personality characteristics. Using four critical dimensions of information processing common to all human beings, it provides insight into the unique balance of forces that make up each individual?s unique view of themselves and the world. Unlike other personality tests, the MBTI is based on a model of "normalcy". There are no low or "bad" scores. There are only measures of uniqueness: different combinations of factors leading to different ways of perceiving and responding to the world. The intention of the inventory is to stimulate insight into "self" and others, and to encourage the recognition of differences from a position of understanding rather than judgment.
In particular, an individual?s combination of preferences greatly influences their interpersonal communication style. Their understanding of their own preference profile helps them understand why they react to common situations differently than others and how differences in others? responses can be seen as a natural result of different preferences rather than as a result of bad intentions. Like the Ai process, the MBTI appreciates individual differences, strengths and the potential to learn.
Heart of the Matter offers you the possibility of integrating the MBTI into any training or to use it as a stand-alone process for team building, leadership development or personal effectiveness. Further exploration of psychological type is available through Heart of the Matter with the use of the MBTI Step II on an individual basis. This step is recommended for leaders who have already completed the MBTI Step I at an earlier date. Step II is designed to provide in depth feedback, particularly to executives and people leaders.
LSI and Other Human Synergistic Assessment Tools
The Life Style Inventory (LSI) , developed by Clayton Lafferty, is a self-assessment tool that helps individuals take stock of the effectiveness of their interactive strategies. The tool identifies three basic styles of interacting: Passive Defensiveness, Aggressive Defensiveness and Constructive. Going beyond identifying interaction styles, it also assists individuals in establishing strategies to replace unhelpful behaviors with those that insure interpersonal effectiveness and long-term productivity.
A complementary tool, the Group Style Inventory (GSI), based on the same principles and research, helps teams assess how they work together and discover ways to increase inclusiveness and effectiveness by developing cooperation, communication, heightened innovation and stronger agreements.
These tools are powerful sources of helpful feedback. They provide both insights into key behaviors (positive and negative) and pathways to individual and group improvement.
A third tool, helpful to leaders and people responsible for organizational development, is the Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) . The OCI provides a reliable measurement of how members of an organization perceive its culture and helps them create an optimum culture. It clarifies for everyone in the organization 1) the behaviors being rewarded 2) employee satisfaction and performance 3) shared norms and expectations. It provides great insights in order to gauge organizational forces that promote or impede change and assists in defining changes that need to take place. This tool can also be used to measure the effectiveness of change by "pre" and "post" change assessments.
Self-managed Communication is both a model of how we think, and also a communication style that permits us to connect to others in a respectful way, particularly when we are in disagreement or when change in a relationship needs to be made. Self-managed communication recognizes our natural tendency to respond to change by asserting C.O.N.T.R.O.L. over others and/or the situation. It then enables us to manage our thoughts and feelings, and respond with D.I.A.L.O.G.U.E. in difficult situations, i.e. how to make connection, respect the uniqueness of others, generate valuable problem-solving information and co-create a positive climate for cooperation and change.
Self-Managed Communication is based on the fundamental elements of Emotional Intelligence (EQ):