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For More Information: Dynamic Relationships,


To accelerate the strategic planning process by allowing creativity and innovation while inspiring the organization’s people to SOAR. 

  • Develops a whole system perspective 
  • Uncovers the strengths and opportunities of the organization 
  • Cocreates the values,vision,and mission of stakeholders 
  • Develops a strategic and tactical plan 
  • Identifies the structures, systems, and processes 
  • Engenders continuous informed appreciative reflection and action 

When to Use: 
  • For environmental scanning 
  • To accelerate existing strategic planning processes 
  • To create strategic and tactical plans 
  • To embrace a whole systems approach to strategic planning 
  • To heighten awareness of organizational relationships and how to best use these relationships 

When Not to Use:
  • Leadership is not supportive (top-down approach) 
  • Participants are not empowered to act on their aspirations and plans 

Number of Participants:

Types of Participants:
Internal and external organizational stakeholders 

Typical Duration:
  • Preparation: 0.5 day to 1.5 days 
  • Process: 0.5 day to 4 days (average is 2–3 days) 
  • Follow-up: Continuous 

Brief Example:
A health-care facility was in a shutdown state and needed a “last-ditch effort.” The administrator gathered 76 stakeholders to discuss creating constructive accountability and strategic initiatives so corporate would not close the facility. The results were a 20 percent increase in census within six weeks, improved employee morale and resident satisfaction, and the facility broke even for the first time in three years. 

Historical Context:
Created in 2000 by Jackie Stavros, David Cooperrider, and Lynn Kelley. Theory Base: Appreciative Inquiry, Dialogue, Whole Systems Approach to Change, Lippit’s Preferred Futures, Strengths-Based Theory by Don Clifton, Social Construction, and Positive Organizational Scholarship.