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Appreciative inquiry: Using AI in the strategic planning process

Penny M. Stein

Appreciative inquiry (AI) in the strategic planning process showcases the real power and impact of AI; especially when it is used as a comprehensive orientation to change in complex systems (p. 22). Kindle Edition. This suggests AI is the best and most wide-ranging approach to strategic planning.

AI takes a holistic view of a change process it ensures to include all stakeholders or representative stakeholders in the inquiry process and ensures those stakeholders or representative stakeholders have a voice in the proposed changes. It does not seek consensus, rather, it seeks agreement from stakeholders to accept and support the final decision.

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, (p. 207) author Patrick Lencioni, noted, "By engaging in productive conflict and tapping into team members’ perspectives and opinions, a team can confidently commit and buy-in to a decision knowing that they have benefited from everyone’s ideas."

The above point was in respect to Lencioni’s third dysfunction: Lack of Commitment. It reaffirms AI’s approach in that true commitment is highly unlikely if not all stakeholders or representative stakeholders have a say in the final output. When executives institute a change in, for example, procedures and the principal players do not have input it is likely the new procedures will be enacted; however, the dedication, advocacy, and overall commitment of the new procedure may not become apparent in its execution.

Find additional information on Appreciative Inquiry at

©2012 Penny M. Stein
Readers and media may contact Ms. Stein via e-mail.


Cited Sources: Magruder Watkins, J., & Mohr, B. D. (2001). Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the speed of imagination. San Francisco, CA, USA: Jossey-Bass/Pfieffer. Lencioni, P. M. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (First ed.). San Francisco, CA, USA: Jossey Bass A Wiley Imprint. Stratton-Berkessel, R. (2010). Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions 21 Strength-Based Workshops. San Francisco, CA, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



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