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Reflections on Two Appreciative Interviews

by Lisa Matter (9)

I recently lost my Appreciative Inquiry book, and if I had it here, I would probably find a nice engaging quote to start this s****y first draft. Instead, I’ll paraphrase and butcher the words of several leaders who have inspired my own transformations. Brene Brown provided the SFD idea — just get some ideas out there —  and that is what you are getting today. Appreciative Inquiry brought me the idea that our questions are prophetic and guide us forward. So first, thank you to Nicole Ortiz for guiding us in an inviting and prophetic set of interview questions. 

I have conducted one interview and have been interviewed as well. I’m a see-er of big pictures and so want to share with all of you a few big ideas that have already emerged in hopes that you might participate in an interview too — your voice, your transformation, and the leadership you have already provided has all we need in order to move forward as a network. To paraphrase Peter Drucker–the alignment of our strengths can make the systems’ weaknesses irrelevant.

Big Idea One: You are already enough. Using the Appreciative lens means that we DO see the good that is already here–that change and transformation we have already influenced. Every single time I engage in one of these interviews, I see, hear, or feel something that moves my own work forward, regardless of my role in the interview. Learning who you are and talking about your own learning and growth will benefit all of us and our communities.

Big Idea Two: You can change. This being a SFD, I might very well be wrong about this concrete next step. It is not surprising that, when the interview questions are focused on transformation, we realize we have changed and can keep changing. If our shared goal is change for our communities, for children, then change also has to be our practice. I’m hoping that we can coach each other in our changes.

A request: Hold each other accountable. I believe that as our network engages in transformation, we will multiply our power to impact change for children, families, and communities. We both have to stick our necks out and know the network is right there with us. I’m sticking my neck out here to you. I recognize that, for me to change and bring all the light I know I have to bring, I’ll need help. First, I’ll need to know that your light is kept alive in the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Network (respond to whoever asked you to participate in an Appreciative Interview–it will be worth it, I promise!). Second, ask me how I’m bringing my light and who is helping me. We are in this together, and we are going to do small things with great love (to paraphrase Mother Theresa) and together these small things will change the world.