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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Appreciative Inquiry - Any pointers?

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  • Jean Richardson
    Dan – You pose an interesting and not uncommon problem: “how I can motivate responsibility in people within a large organization without getting the top
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 10, 2013

      Dan –


      You pose an interesting and not uncommon problem:  “how I can motivate responsibility in people within a large organization without getting the top leadership on board”


      I suggest that sometimes people need to question the wisdom of modeling the behavior of their leaders broadly.  We all need to think for ourselves:  we’re born alone and die alone.  The space in between is too precious to simply say to ourselves:  The leader walked off the cliff; so must I.  If teams want to be successful in their work, and we, individually, want to have happy lives, we’ll likely find that taking responsibility for our choices is a necessary practice. 


      Yes, there is plenty of history that shows people often don’t do this.  These stories generally end badly, as I’m sure you know. 


      Also, I would question the notion of motivating others.  I’m not sure we can do this. We can tell them stories that might help them motivate themselves.


      Remembering some of our conversations last October, I’m betting you’re speaking about nominal leaders in organizations broadly, not about a specific group of managers in a specific organization.  (If they were real leaders, not nominal leaders, likely the problem you pose would not exist.)  While the stories we tell and the things we notice might vary in context based on the specific ways that nominal leaders are unsupportive, either in modeling or reward systems, of employees’ fulfilling their accountabilities (taking responsibility), the dynamic of employees waiting to act on their accountabilities until they are told/forced to by others is, I think, a pretty consistent phenomenon.  Bureaucratic deep hierarchies are absolute hothouses for it.


      Ultimately, such employees must ask themselves whether they will ever be the hero of their own lives, and what the cost of not being the hero of their own lives might be—to their team, their employer, their families, their communities more broadly, and themselves.  The conversations that leap into being from this conversation hold the seed of self-motivation no matter where the individual sits in the hierarchy.


      ---- Jean


      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dan Greening
      Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 1:25 PM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Appreciative Inquiry - Any pointers?



      I find that Christopher Avery's work on teamwork (see his book Teamwork is an Individual Skill) and the Responsibility Process very helpful in understanding how blame is a normal stage in progressing to responsibility (blame other, justify, feel guilty, go through the motions, take responsibility). I think it works well when I apply it to myself, and try to quickly move up the stack. However, something I find challenging is understanding how I can motivate responsibility in people within a large organization without getting the top leadership on board. It might not be possible? Would love to hear more from others.

      Dan Greening
      Managing Director, Senex Rex LLC, http://senexrex.com
      Email: dan@... Phone: +1 (415) 754-8311, Skypeid: drgreening


      On Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 4:08 AM, PAUL <beckfordp@...> wrote:


      Hi All,

      I'm interested in hearing peoples experience applying appreciative inquiry as a "positive deviance" approach to change..

      I'm reading the seminal paper by Cooperrider and Whitney, and I'm finding their arguments very compelling.

      The particulars of my current consulting assignment is a small company with a strong blame culture. This conflicts with their espoused values which can be summarised as a "can do" attitude. Most people "don't do" and look for reasons why the "can't do". I am pretty certain that this behaviour as emerged in response to blame.

      I think AI could really help here, by removing the focus from problems and problem solving (and hence blame) and focusing instead on achievements, especially achievements that followed from people taking risks.

      I'ver identified several such examples, and I have individuals willing to tell their story. I'm open to advice on where to take this.

      Thanks in advance.



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