A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry
Author: David L. Cooperrider; Diana Whitney
Last Updated: January 6, 2008
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) begins an adventure. The urge and call to adventure has been
sounded by many people and many organizations, and it will take many more to fully
explore the vast vistas that are now appearing on the horizon. But even in the first steps,
what is being sensed is an exciting direction in our language and theories of changean
invitation, as some have declared, to a positive revolution.
The words just quoted are strong and, unfortunately, they are not ours. But the more we
replay, for example, the high-wire moments of our several years of work at GTE the
more we find ourselves asking the very same kinds of questions the people of GTE asked
their senior executives: Are you really ready for the momentum that is being generated?
This is igniting a grassroots movementit is creating an organization in full voice, a
center stage for the positive revolutionaries!
Tom White, President of what was then called GTE Telops (making up 80% of GTEs
67,000 employees) replies back, with no hesitation: Yes, and what I see in this meeting
are zealots, people with a mission and passion for creating the new GTE. Count me in,
Im your number one recruit, number one zealot. People cheer.
Enthusiasms continue, and they echo over subsequent months as lots of hard work pays
off. Fourteen months later --based on significant and measurable changes in stock prices,
morale survey measures, quality/customer relations, union-management relations, etc.--
GTEs whole system change initiative is given professional recognition by the American
Society for Training and Development. It wins the 1997 ASTD award for best
organization change program in the country. Appreciative inquiry is cited as the
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