Appreciative Leadership and Positive Framing

Where in the Blueprint might you find evidence of Appreciative Inquiry and Appreciative Leadership?  If you are thinking, “it’s throughout”, you are absolutely right!  As you review the following Blueprint components, reflect on the strengths of your district and school and how you might contextualize this thinking.  Appreciative Inquiry and Appreciative Leadership is embedded in the:

  • Outer Ring, Instructional Leadership Routines, Teacher Collaborative Routines, and Leadership Network – Adult relationships are a large part of these areas of the Blueprint.  The foundation of Appreciative Inquiry and Appreciative Leadership is built on relationships.  Staff need to know 1) that they belong, 2) that their contribution is valued, 3) where their organization is headed, 4) that excellence is expected of them, and 5) that they are contributing to the greater good.  The outer ring, the Leadership Network, and teacher and leadership routines exemplify this thinking.
  • Problem-Solving and Performance Management Driver Systems – The problem-solving driver is an inquiry-based model for problem-solving, in other words, how do we remain curious about the data (by asking questions) instead of defending a point of view?  With AI, strengths are focused upon and leveraged.  When we do root-cause analysis, how might we focus our energy on determining positive root cause(s) and growing from what is working? In this way, districts develop the ability to replicate their strengths and apply them in other areas. 
  • Communications Driver System – A communication strategy guides the district’s approach to systems creation/improvement. It sets the tone and direction so that all communication activities, products, and materials work in harmony to achieve the desired change.  A communication strategy also enables stakeholders and partners to provide input and agree upon the best way forward so that actions are unified. With Appreciative Leadership, the Communications Driver System leverages Illumination, Inclusion, Inspiration, Inquiry, and Integrity.
  • Visions – One key practice of AI is to use positive images of the future to motivate positive action . . . in other words, the more that people share the same positive image (vision) of the future they want, the more probable that future becomes.  Your visions of high-quality instruction, student support, and talent guide the district with each decision being made.  The core practices of Appreciative Leadership support your visions as well. Inspiration provides people with a sense of direction (vision) and hope.  Through practices of Illumination, you can help people learn about their strengths and the strengths of others and allow for risk-taking. 

The content within the Blueprint Framework can be approached from a number of angles. Taking the Appreciative lens encourages you to capitalize on your district’s strengths and collectively and creatively address your opportunities for growth in your systems, drivers, and routines. How might you start from your strengths and activate the knowledge and experience of your staff, students, and community?

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