Saturday, January 9, 2010
Hugging David Cooperrider
"I just want to hug you! You've made me cry three during your lecture. Your energy opens us up. It comes from your authentic love and centered self. Thank you." This is what I said to David Cooperrider, the Founder of Appreciative Inquiry. From the United Nations, to the Dalai Lama, to the world's top CEOs, to individual nations, to cities, to hospitals, to universities, to families, David has been driving a new way of change, a new language, a new future. This man is as incredibly humble as he is brilliant. David is not a dramatic, suspenseful, orator. He's a cheery, even keeled, soft-spoken, accessible, and kind man. As I hung onto David's every word I was surprised by my level of engagement relative to his calm presentation style. He wears simple clothes, a delightful smile, and I couldn't sense of stitch of ego in this 21st century game changer. I've never been the affectionate type, especially with people I don't know. But as our class intervened David's lecture to give him a dose of his own appreciative medicine, I felt compelled to get up in the middle of his lecture and give him a big hug. He gave me a big hug back.
David has given the world a tremendous gift. And by give - I mean GIVE. Appreciative Inquiry is not a trademarked or copyrighted process- it can be used by any professional or organization as an approach to creating positive transformation.
I have to get up early for an 8am Sunday lecture...so here are some of the highlights from David's talk today to our MAPP class (Masters of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania) that I want to share with you:
1. All change begins in the imagination. It literally does.
2. It's not about top-down or bottom-up, it's about the WHOLE. Get everyone involved in change.
3. “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths..making a system's weaknesses irrevelant.” -PETER DRUCKER, one of the most prolific writers on management.
4. Organizations aren't problems that need solving. Their rich full of solutions. Let's release the our deficit/problem-centered model of change.
5. "AN ESTIMATED $300 BILLION IS LOST IN THE US ECONOMY DUE TO DISENGAGED EMPLOYEES." Woah. I don't have the source...but I believe David.
6. It's not the past, nor the present, but rather anticipation of the future that drives human beings. The power of change happens in the images, inner dialoge, and metaphors within us and organizations.
7. The questions we ask set the stage for what we find. The questions we ask create our reality.
8. Consider your ROA. Your return on attention. Companies spend millions figuring out what's WRONG. Rather, investigate what's right, what you want to grow.
9. Why has AI taken off.
-Exceptionality: We are all exceptions to the rule - no one is born the same. AI seeks to highlight the exceptions.
-Essentiality: It's not about being the central focus that we crave as human beings, but rather it's the need to feel essential in a group. AI enables people gives notice to the essential and meaningful contributions of everyone in the WHOLE.
-Equality of voice: We have a right - responsibility - to honor the full voice of any organization or system. Only by assembling the whole can we create monumental, lasting, and fast change.
10. This is all new. We still haven't nailed the language to this process and this new way of being and calling for change. The limits of language limit our world. So together we must seek to create a new common vocabulary, so we can live within a new context of possibility and imagination.
Much love and good night.