079: Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Creating Organizational Change With Dr. Ronald Fry

Finding people’s strengths, changing the way you talk about a problem, and positive possibilities are key to creating change in organizations. Instead of problem diagnosis, Dr. Ronald Fry shares how his work in Appreciative Inquiry (AI) focuses on opportunity and future direction to drive change. Dr. Ronald Fry is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University and former Chairman of the Department of Organizational Behavior.

With Appreciative Inquiry, Dr. Fry reconnects systems to existing strengths, best practices, or life-giving forces that have helped it be most effective. Listen in to hear how Appreciative Inquiry impacted the United States Navy’s turnover, resulting in a $2 billion cost savings. Don’t miss Jen and Dr. Fry dissect Appreciative Inquiry and how to infuse it into your workplace.

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want to Miss:
  • 5 key phases of AI: Definition, Discovery, Dream, Design, Destiny
  • There is no such thing as a neutral question
  • The ratio of positive/negative imagery plays a role in well-being
  • Changing the way you talk about something can create change
  • Appreciative Inquiry (AI) impacted the US Navy’s turnover
Check out these highlights:
  • Appreciative Inquiry definition [4:00]
  • How Appreciative Inquiry got its start [8:25]
  • Why questions aren’t neutral [16:45]
  • 5 key qualities/phases of AI [18:40]
  • How long does the process of AI take? [27:44]
  • Dealing with an organizations problems/weaknesses [43:35]
  • Infusing AI into the workplace [50:55]
Links mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio

Ron is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and former Chairman of the Department of Organizational Behavior, consistently ranked one of the best in the world by the Financial Times. He has been honored with the University Award for Outstanding Teacher in the Professional Schools and the Weatherhead School’s Lifetime Service Award. He received his MS and PhD from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after completing a BS in Engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The OB Department at CWRU pioneered the first PhD program in Organizational Behavior (1963) and then the first Master of Science degree program in Organizational Development (1975). Ron led the re-design of the Masters program into the current Masters in Positive OD or MPOD and served as Department Chair for seven years. He has served on the Executive Board of the Academy of Management’s Organization Development & Change (ODC) Division, including serving as PDW Chair, Program Chair, and Division Chair. He also directed Weatherhead’s EMBA program to national, Top Ten rankings during 12 years as Program Director.

With 11 books and over 45 articles and chapters, Ron is widely published in the areas of Organizational Development, Appreciative Inquiry, Team Building, Change Management, Executive Development and the role and functioning of the CEO.  He is a co-creator of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) theory and method, and continues to both apply and study the applications of AI in the field.  His most recent books are Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Building Cooperative Capacity (Taos Publishing), with Frank Barrett, and Appreciative Team Building with Diana Whitney, Jay Cherney and Amanda Trsten-Bloom (iUniverse). He has also co-edited Appreciative Inquiry and Organizational Transformation: Reports from the field (Quorum) and the Handbook of Transformative Cooperation (Stanford University Press).

With Professor David Cooperrider, Ron has been co-editor of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship. He conducts the Weatherhead International Certificate Program in Appreciative Inquiry for Business and Society Benefit in Brazil, Belgium, China India, Australia, Indonesia, France, Sweden and the USA.  He directed a world inquiry project to find and disseminate business innovations for mutual benefit of business and society. This inquiry has now grown into a global mobilization of business school students (see Aim2Flourish.com) at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at the Weatherhead School. He has facilitated and studied large scale, multi-stakeholder change processes in a variety of systems including General Electric, World Vision, ArcelorMittal, Roadway Express, Akzonobel, Sustainable Cleveland 2019, Belgian Learning Network for Talent Development, Fairmount Minerals, Swagelok, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Los Angeles Fire Department, Lowes Foods, SAB Miller Latin America, Trinidad Ministry of Justice, and the US Navy.