When we focus to correct an organization for deficiencies, what we are trying to do is to make that organization better. But better in relation to what? In relation to what it was in the past as it was the past situations that revealed those areas of need for correction.  In other words, we are guided by the past.

But so much is happening in our times, pandemics like Coronavirus or Global policy changes by Governments, or huge jumps in technology. These and similar drastic-changing events make the past, even when at its best, a very poor guide. Thus, by managing this way, the possibilities are high that our corrective efforts may be found wanting or even wasted on the wrong target.

Now let us try another way that of managing by ‘Appreciative Inquiry’. Instead of adopting a past orientation, let us focus on the future and the possibilities. Get our people to assess their strengths and imagine what these strengths can create, share that vision with all, multiply capacity by allowing our people to cocreate, and get everybody energised and motivated by a shared perspective so that all could bring to the fore their best whole self.

A series of advantages can be recognized in this latter approach. It energizes the human ingenuity by showing trust. It is people inclusive drawing on the strengths of everyone. Vision and cocreation becomes everyone’s concern for the company’s brighter future. The creative tension between what we are and what we should be becomes a strong operational driving force toward the envisioned future of the company.

Managing by ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ with emphasis on strengths and trust seems in many ways to be more effective than any traditional way of managing by focusing on correcting weaknesses that arise from the past. Peter Drucker, the prominent management guru, in a similar tone, said it very eloquently:
‘The tasks of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in a way that makes a system’s weaknesses irrelevant.’


About the author: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training. You are welcome to communicate with us by email: or telephone: +357 99640912.