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‘Appreciative inquiry’ focuses on successes

John Seelmeyer

Executives often pride themselves on their skills at problem-solving.

A philosophy that’s been taking shape over the past decade suggests, however, that a better course is to focus on what’s going right whether it’s in a business or a family.

The management style known as “appreciative inquiry” will be in the spotlight in an Aug.

22 workshop in Reno sponsored by WE ACT Women Executives Accelerating Change Today.

Mel Minarik, a lecturer at health ecology at the University of Nevada, Reno, and keynoter of the workshop, said last week that adherents of appreciate inquiry operate from a basic assumption: “When you focus more on the things that are working, those things tend to grow.” The theory of appreciative inquiry was developed by David Cooperrider, a professor of organizational behavior at Case Western University, in the late 1980s.

The theory is based on the thought that organizations aren’t like machines that work in clearly identifiable ways.

Instead, Cooperrider suggests that organizations are like books that can interpreted in many different ways.

In business, Cooperrider has said, the theory can be applied when managers choose to learn more about systems that work well, then make that information known throughout the organization.

“It’s the capacity to see with an appreciative eye the true and the good, the better and the possible,” Cooperrider has said.

Minarik said she’s found the management philosophy sets deep roots and isn’t a management flavor of the month because it extends beyond workday considerations.

“It’s a way you do your life,” she said.

The WE ACT workshop will run from 8:30 a.m.

to 12:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is required through info@weact.biz by Aug.

15, and the cost is $50 for WE ACT members and $75 for non-members.