This is the time of resolutions that will provide you with a bountiful new year, 2016. I’ve seen a lot of thoughts on what would be appropriate resolutions: (Light the torches of others. Gloria Steinem) (The world needs a change. Malala Yousafzai) (Gratitude not entitlement. Steven Aitchison) (Do your best. OGMANDINO)
All of these are good important thoughts (I’ve shortened them in the parentheses behind the photo). Yet I think that Appreciative Inquiry as an evaluation approach is what will guide my evaluation new year’s resolutions. The model of Appreciative Inquiry is a powerful way to make positive changes. Hallie Preskill and Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas wrote the book on this: I had the good fortune to hear Catsambas at Evaluation 2015.
A FB friend of mine says about AI: “Appreciative Inquiry is a way of being and seeing. It is both a worldview and a process for facilitating positive change in human systems, e.g., organizations, groups, and communities. Its assumption is simple: Every human system has something that works right–things that give it life when it is vital, effective, and successful. AI begins by identifying this positive core and connecting to it in ways the heighten energy, sharpen vision, and inspire action for change. As AI consultant Bernard J. Mohr says, “Problems get replaced with innovation as conversations increasingly shift toward uncovering the organization’s (or group’s, or community’s) positive core.” (Thank you, Missy McElprang Cummins.)
One image I found that resonated with me and reflects the above paragraph (especially the “positive core” comment) is I have long been a proponent of asset based/asset building activities. It makes more sense to ask people (organizations, systems) what are the strengths that they have and work with than to ask what is missing. If AI can do that, good! If there are other paths to determining what the assets are, good!
So my resolution is to do good work; apply AI to my work; and keep the Guiding Principles and the Standards in the forefront.
Happy New Year! It will be a very good year!