Positive Inquiry™ is all about leveraging strengths. To get to that, we first need to uncover which strengths caused past and present successes. Next, we must ask ourselves, what would be possible if we properly align these strengths? And finally, before we set out to implement the change required, is there a viable business case?
Traditionally, we would focus on what went wrong; however, this isn’t necessarily going to bring us anywhere closer to the future. After all, we’re fixing the past. Positive Inquiry™ focuses on what went right and what caused our successes. Not to make incremental improvements but to leap off it in new and exciting ways.
This approach to organizational change, often called positive change, is designed to unite people in a common purpose by co-create an exciting, meaningful, and bright future. Together, the alignment of strengths and the high energy at the core is what we believe can best be compared to a nuclear fusion process.
Nuclear fusion generally involves positively charged nuclei forming a heavier nucleus. This is because the strong nuclear force, which is responsible for holding atomic nuclei together, is attractive only at very short distances. For fusion to occur, the nuclei of two atoms must overcome their natural electrostatic repulsion and come close enough for the strong nuclear force to bind them together. This usually requires extremely high temperatures and pressures, as well as a sufficient supply of atomic nuclei to undergo fusion.
We like to compare the repulsion between the positively charged nuclei to the silo effect, driving a wedge between the departments, thereby preventing the positive forces from strengthening each other. To overcome siloization, a force is needed that is greater than the forces that cause the organization to divide.
Alternatively, nuclear fission splits an unstable nucleus into smaller nuclei – comparable to the reductionist viewpoint of breaking things apart. As with nuclear fission, reductionists create ‘waste’ in the form of non-reusable potential.