Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry Methodology

Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry has several core assumptions, listed below:

  1. In every society, organization, or group, something works.
  2. What we focus on becomes our reality.
  3. Reality is created in the moment, and there rae multiple realities.
  4. The act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way.
  5. People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future (the unknown) when they carry forward parts of the past (the known).
  6. If we carry parts of the past forward, they should be what is best about the past
  7. It is important to value differences.
  8. The language we use creates our reality.

The Three Classic Questions of Appreciative Inquiry

  1. Think back through your career in this organization.
    Locate a moment that was a high point, when you felt most effective and engaged.
    Describe how you felt, and what made the situation possible.
  2. Without being humble, describe what you value most about your self, your work, your organization.
  3. Describe your three concrete wishes for the future of this organization

Ethics and Integrity within Appreciative Inquiry

  1. Describe a person, organization or incident that you feel is a great example of someone being fair.
    What were the circumstances that led to it?
    What were the consequences?
  2. Think of a person whom you admire for his/her integrity.
    Think of a specific incident, a time and a place where you saw this person demonstrate high integrity.
    Describe the circumstances and the consequences.


Describe a time when you were part of or observed an extraordinary display of cooperation between diverse organizations or groups.
What made that cooperation possible?

Customer Service

Describe an incident when you or someone you know went the extra mile to deliver what the customer wanted when they wanted it. What made it possible?

Value Added

Describe a moment or example when you or someone you know was recognized by a “I could not have done this without you” letter, phone call, email, public acknowledgment, etc.
What were the circumstances and how did people feel afterward?

Supplier Relationships

If you could transform the supply-chain relationship any way you wish, what would it look like and what three things would you do?


Describe a time when you were part of a team that had a high level of trust and respect among the members.
How was trust and respect communicated?
What made it possible to establish trust in that up?

Valuing Differences

Think back over your adult life and think of a person for whom you had a great deal of respect but didn’t always agree with.
When you disagreed with that person, how did you communicate that?
What made it possible for you to maintain respect for that person?

The Classic Questions Applied to your Professional Life

  1. Describe the most energizing moment, a real “high” from your professional life.
    What made it possible?
  2. Without being humble, describe what you value most about yourself, your work, your profession.
    If you are new to the profession, what attracted you to it?
  3. Describe how you stay professional affirmed, renewed, energized, enthusiastic, inspired?
  4. Describe your three concrete wishes for the future of your profession.

For additional resources, see the AI Commons


Primary Goals sits at the intersection of three core ideas about communication:
  • Leaders create vision by communicating a compelling future to their teams.
  • Teams create success based on how effectively the communicate and coordinate with each other.
  • Entrepreneurial ventures are successful only when they communicate value to people with a concern that the business can take care of
In all cases, it’s about Conversations for Committed Results.  That’s our Primary Goal.  



Copyright 2021 Primary Goals - Privacy Policy