Why the Visual Image is so Important in Appreciative Inquiry

Posted: March 17, 2014

Although I have been practicing Appreciative Inquiry for a number of years, and have seen a lot of amazing things, I am continuously in awe in the possibilities and opportunities that are generated from an Inquiry. My favorite part of the inquiry would have to be the dream phase, as I am sure many of you would agree. I love the creativity that emerges when you give adults permission to play and be curious.

I came across a quote recently that reaffirms why the visual image is so important in the Appreciative Inquiry process that I would like to share with you…

In an interview, Warren Bennis, an author, professor, and leadership guru stated:

“The next question people often ask is: How can I imagine exceeding my benchmarks when I have no idea of how I will actually do it? Remember that when you say you have “no idea”, you mean you have no conscious idea. However, [studies] revealed that imagery can help in several ways: In addition to helping to focus your attention by stimulating attentional networks in the brain, imagery can actually help your brain to map your path to your goal outside of conscious awareness. Imagining activates brain regions that can unconsciously map your path to success. Not knowing “how” doesn’t actually matter, since the brain will figure this out once you let it know where you want to go.”

What I also appreciated about this quote is that it talks about exceeding benchmarks. Often times I am asked what is the Return on Investment (ROI) on Appreciative Inquiry? It is hard for many people to believe that you can obtain measurable results from Appreciative Inquiry – but as we know – you absolutely can measure benchmarks before and after an inquiry.

Anyways, just thought this quote was too good not to pass on. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

P.S. isn’t the brain amazing?

You can read the rest of the HBR article here.

Pillay, S. (2014, March 10). To Reach Your Goals, Make a Mental Movie. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved March 13, 2014, from http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/to-reach-your-goals-make-a-mental-movie/

Why the Visual Image is so Important in Appreciative Inquiry

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