Tag Archives: appreciative inquiry

Podcast Episode 080: Steve Onyett RIP

IMG_2565xx-682x1024It’s 1992, I’m submitting the manuscript for the publication of my first book. Anticipation is tinged with anxiety, an anonymous reviewer holds the power to launch or terminate my fledgling writing career. All fears immediately recede as I receive pages of positive comment and constructive critique. Many references are made to a newly published book ‘Case Management in Mental Health’ (he beat me to that title by 6 months) give away the source of the review. Steve never did anonymity very well!

Fast-forward 22 years through my publications CV and I realize my latest book would benefit from an appropriate foreword from a recognized expert. They say ‘when you want something doing ask a busy person’, that should have been coined about Steve Onyett as he agreed unequivocally and produced a pitch perfect reflection of the book. Who else could get royalty and the act of farting into a mental health textbook with such skill?

In 2009, while facilitating a team development workshop, I received two of the finest compliments I have ever received. Two senior and experienced practitioners enthusiastically told me how influential my book had been on their work. As they elaborate further it becomes clear to me they are talking about ‘Teamworking’, published by Steve in 2003. As I had been acknowledged in his book I decided to unashamedly bask in the reflected glory. Being Steve Onyett for a few minutes still ranks as one of my finest moments! He loved that anecdote when I recently revealed it to him, but couldn’t help but try to reflect any glory back to me. Steve had a particular modesty when it came to appraising his own work.

In his relationship to others the word that comes to mind for me in describing Steve would be generosity. He gave of his time, but perhaps more important was the quality of that gift. Steve had a generosity of spirit that shone through his passion to understand and help people. To describe Steve by his professional role of psychologist is to miss the point; he was a humanist who believed in the potential of others and dedicated his life to supporting and developing people. His choice of the Spanish word ‘Entero’ was apt for describing his passion for the whole person, supporting people to discover or recover their own solutions, identity and true place in the world.

His conference presentations were dynamic and engaging, and his workshops were always a passionate process of exploration and discovery. Steve understood the stupidity of some of the systems we have created, but was always prepared to work within them to create better leadership and conditions for change. He infused everything he did with a big heart, but on 28th September 2015 that heart tragically failed him. I lost my greatest guide and mentor, and the world of mental health lost one of its brightest lights. To use one of his favourite words, knowing you Steve was truly ‘groovy’… rest in peace my dear friend.

For the full content of this episode click on the links for iTunes and Soundcloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/080-steve-onyett-rip/id867043694?i=355718155&mt=2

This tribute was originally drafted for inclusion on the Centre for Mental Health website at the following link:

http://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/News/tribute-to-steve-onyett

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Podcast Episode 073: What is appreciative inquiry?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2AI is more frequently known as Artificial intelligence, but in the context of organisational change I am focusing this episode on Appreciative Inquiry. But, apart from the simple assumption of showing some appreciation to another person, what is it?

David Cooperrider and colleagues have claimed this to be a uniquely strengths-based approach to the leadership and management of organisational change; and also that strengths-based management may just be the management innovation of our time!

However, the concept of change does not sit easily with everyone; for one thing, it can give the impression that there is never enough time to implement some seriously good ideas before the next management initiative is passed down.

In this episode I outline the strengths credentials of Appreciative Inquiry, its 4-dimensional cycle, as well as the 5 principles and 6 essential conditions for it to occur. It may require skilled facilitation by a trained practitioner, but it also offers all of us a positive language to adopt and apply to our own thinking about the organisations we presently inhabit.

For the full content of this episode click the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/073-what-is-appreciative-inquiry/id867043694?i=351497308&mt=2

“A well designed system filled with ordinary but well-trained people can still achieve consistently high performance; whereas a badly designed system can make a genius look like an idiot.” [Pfeffer and Sutton].

Podcast Episode 072: Provocative Propositions

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2The strengths approach shares many values, principles and practices with other well known approaches, one of which is Appreciative Inquiry.

During a conversation planning for a workshop presentation at a conference the question of establishing a ‘provocative proposition’ arose… a concept closely integrated into the practice of Appreciative Inquiry.

In this episode I establish my statement as: ‘Positive risk-taking will transform the relationship of individuals and organisations to risk forever!’ I then test out this statement against the eight criteria for a good provocative proposition. See whether you agree, and more importantly, learn a little more about how positive risk-taking should be implemented to maximum effect.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/072-provocative-propositions/id867043694?i=350141736&mt=2

“When someone sets out to be controversial or provocative or shocking as an end in itself, I don’t think that’s a noble goal.” [Rob Bell].