Print This Post Print This Post

A few weeks ago, I received an email that included the following invitation:

“The Jewish Federation of Cleveland has enlisted CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management to help design the future of women’s leadership in our community. We want your voice to be heard during this community-wide conversation.”

How could I say no? Women’s leadership. Community. Jewish.  Hello?

I couldn’t – and didn’t.

And so tomorrow, for several hours, I will be in a room with more than 150 women doing this very thing called Appreciative Inquiry.

What is it, really, you wonder? I have to confess, just hearing and seeing the words “appreciative” and “inquiry” next to each other were enough for me to say, yes! Luckily, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland has a page for the Summit and on it, some explanation:

The Appreciative Inquiry Summit will explore new and bold possibilities for engagement by Jewish women in our community, and then mobilize toward specific initiatives and projects. The success of this summit hinges on the diversity of voices in the room. We want your voice to be heard!

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland has enlisted Ronald Fry, Ph.D., Chairman, Department of Organizational Behavior at CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management, to lead this unique Summit. By uncovering the diverse voices in our community, the Appreciative Inquiry process will generate creative and innovative outcomes for women to have a positive impact and shape the future of our community.

Our aspiration for this Summit:

Strengthening our Jewish community, building meaningful connections, and creating valuable experiences through opportunities that utilize the unique strengths and resources of women and maximize our personal growth and leadership potential.

Also, more generally, from CWRU’s Appreciative Inquiry Commons website:

Appreciative Inquiry is about the coevolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives “life” to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It centrally involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question” often-involving hundreds or sometimes thousands of people. In AI the arduous task of intervention gives way to the speed of imagination and innovation; instead of negation, criticism, and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, and design. AI seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people talk about as past and present capacities: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul– and visions of valued and possible futures. Taking all of these together as a gestalt, AI deliberately, in everything it does, seeks to work from accounts of this “positive change core”—and it assumes that every living system has many untapped and rich and inspiring accounts of the positive. Link the energy of this core directly to any change agenda and changes never thought possible are suddenly and democratically mobilized.

And here is a great compendium of definitions of the same term.  Anyone who knows me even a tiny bit can imagine why involvement in such a process would excite me, especially when it has to do with two passions of mine, women in leadership and being Jewish.

During the day tomorrow, I will be posting two or three entries that say more about what exactly AI is like as I go through it in this particular context.

Have you ever gone through an appreciative inquiry process?  Again, just based on the phrase? I am quite confident that I’d love to have more of it in my life.

Bookmark and Share

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:55 pm February 16th, 2011 in Announcements, Jewish, Judaism, leadership, Ohio, Philanthropy, Women 

Comments

5 Responses to “Who Couldn’t Benefit from a little Appreciative Inquiry!?”

  1. 1 Hedy Milgrom on February 16th, 2011 9:59 pm

    Jill, Thanks for sharing this with the world! I share your excitement and dual passion and am also looking forward to participating!
    Hedy

  2. 2 amy Budish on February 18th, 2011 5:53 pm

    I truly “appreciated” the effort that was put into the summit! I look forward to being part of a continuing process that will transform our great ideas into action.
    Amy B.

  3. 3 Jill Miller Zimon on February 18th, 2011 6:53 pm

    @Amy – You, me and hopefully a lot of others who were there!

  4. 4 Appreciative Inquiry: The Wrap-Up (for now) : Writes Like She Talks on February 21st, 2011 11:44 pm

    [...] Who Couldn’t Benefit from a little Appreciative Inquiry!? [...]

  5. 5 Guest Post: Jill Miller Zimon Appreciates Inquiry « Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Blog on February 22nd, 2011 12:39 pm

    [...] I wrote about my anticipation of the day and followed up with a morning and afternoon dispatch from the [...]

  • Mothers Mean Business When It Comes to Governing

  • Find Me On

  • 2011 Campaign Innovator Award

  • Category Specific RSS

    Pepper Pike
    Cleveland+
    Politics
    Women
    Ohio
    Elections
    Law
    Jewish
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Calendar

    February 2011
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan   Mar »
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728  
  • Meta

  • Notorious Women through History


  • Our Bodies, Our Blog


"));