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Corporate culture and change management

box commerceEvery company has a unique mix of personalities, skills and experience that drive its Corporate culture and how people learn and adapt.  Combined, these create a company culture that cannot be replicated.  It is essential that a strong CEO identify the motivations of the company as a whole and help build a sense of purpose for the organization.


Using your company culture to maximum advantage


Inspiring CEOs focus on continuous improvement in their operations.  While it is important to ensure individual contributors feel valued and empowered in their roles, it is also beneficial to ensure each employee understands how they fit into the greater organization and what it is that the organization is achieving together.

Some organizations do this by partnering with a charity and raising funds or, more frequently, allowing employees to do volunteer work for the charity on company time.  Other organizations may show employees that they value education and improvement by encouraging and incenting training and development for employees at all levels of the organization. Being committed to having a positive corporate culture can result in significantly lower employee turnover, improved morale and improved brand awareness and value.



Appreciative Inquiry: an act of exploration and discovery.

Appreciative Inquiry and Change Management are about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant business environment around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives “life” to an organization’s eco-system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, business and strategic terms. It is also termed as the act of recognizing the best in people and processes within organizations; affirming past and present strengths, successes, and potentials; to perceive those things that strengthen existing processes and human capital.

Igniting creativity to transform corporate culture

INSIGHT: Top Drivers of Employee Effectiveness

Our research identified six attributes that are highly valued by employees, often above salary increases. Read more.




Appreciative Inquiry and Change Management


AI involves 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 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, strategic competencies, stories, insights into the deeper corporate entity — and visions of valued and possible futures.




Taking all of these together as a gestalt, AI seeks to work from accounts of this “positive change core”—and it assumes that every process and insight has many untapped and rich and inspiring accounts of the positive. Link the ideas of this core directly to any change agenda and changes never thought possible are suddenly and democratically mobilized. AI has a proven record of success in a wide variety of strategic initiatives.


Investigative Journalist and author Jake Adelstein shares his eye-opening and often eyebrow-raising insights as he leads us through his experiences with both the Yakuza and the police while reporting on crime in Japan for the last nineteen years.


Insights: Managing Teams, Capacity and Workflow


Three lessons from successful CEOs to streamline work flow across departments. The concept of a core team that stays small until you really are forced to scale it up is the preferred approach of innovative companies to manage work flow. The core team concept allows for a more open style of management and culture. CEOs are intrigued by how effective this approach is in terms of helping everybody really live the business. The fundamental concept is to give people more context to their jobs which helps them better evaluate every decision they make. Read more.



This tool and resource helps the collaborative group to frame and ask the right questions,
whether that’s within the collaborative group or in the larger community. Asking the right
questions is key to successfully addressing community issues like sexual and domestic violence.
The specific purposes and benefits are:

  • To learn about what constitutes a powerful question.
  • To understand the three dimensions of a powerful question, including construction, scope and assumptions.
  • How to use appreciative inquiry, including sample questions for focusing attention, connecting ideas and finding deeper meaning, and creating forward movement.

This document illustrates why asking the right questions using appreciative inquiry is important and how to construct good questions. Asking the right question in the collaborative group or in the community can create meaningful and positive change. This document is meant to be used in conjunction with every other tool and section of the toolkit.


What is a powerful question?

While you may not readily be able to articulate all of the aspects of a powerful question, we
recognize one when we see it. For example, rank the following questions, with 1 being the most powerful:
1. What time is it?
2. What possibilities exist that we have not thought of yet?
3. What does it mean to be ethical?
4. Did you take a shower?
A powerful question:
• Is thought-provoking and invites reflection and finding deeper meaning
• Expands possibilities or focuses attention
• Brings underlying assumptions to light
• Stimulates curiosity and creativity
• Can help a group move forward



The dimensions of a powerful question
There are three dimensions to a powerful question:
1. Construction—The construction of a question can make a critical difference in either
opening our minds or narrowing the possibilities we consider.
Review the following key question construction words on a continuum from less powerful
questions to more powerful questions:



Now consider the construction of the following questions:

  • Are victims in our community getting the services they need?
  • What is it about our community that supports healthy relationships for all of its citizens?
  • How can we prevent sexual and domestic violence from occurring in the first place?
  • Why* is it that so many families in that area of town experience violence?
  • What if we got it right? (Creating a community that supports non-violence and healthy relationships.)

As you move from simple yes/no questions to why to what if, the question stimulates more
reflective thinking and more creative responses.


2. Scope—The scope of a question must match the need we are addressing or the discovery
that we’re trying to make.
Note the impact of scope below:
• How can we best share information as a team?
• How can we best share information as a coalition?
• How can we best share information with our community?
The questions above progressively broaden in scope. Sometimes questions are interesting,
but are outside the scope of our capacity (e.g., How can we change the social norms in our
society that support male superiority and sexual entitlement?).
3. Assumptions—Almost all questions, explicit or implicit, have some degree of assumptions built into them.

Which questions assume a solution? Which assume error or blame, leading to narrow
discussions or defensiveness? Which stimulate reflection, creativity, and/or collaboration
among those involved?
Examine each question for any unconscious beliefs it may introduce:
• What assumptions or beliefs are we introducing with this question?
• How would we approach this issue if we had an entirely different belief system?


Using Appreciative Inquiry

Pay attention to the construction, scope, and assumptions of the questions you ask.
When working with groups, spend time crafting the questions they will address:
1. Start by discussing the end-in-mind for the discussion or process.
2. Work with planning partners to write down several questions relevant to the topic.
3. Discuss and rate the questions.
• Which is best constructed to promote reflection and creativity?
• Which has the right scope for the end-in-mind?
• What are the underlying assumptions embedded in each question?


The goal is not always to make the question assumption free; work to make sure it has the right assumptions to move your group forward.
4. Experiment with changing the construction and scope to get a feel for how each can change the direction of the inquiry.
5. Give each question the “genuine test.” Is this a question to which we do not already know the answer? If we already know the answer or have a preset right response, it is not inquiry.
6. Run the question by an outside key informant to see how well the question works and where it leads the discussion.