The Four I Model is very similar to the Four D Model previously discussed; however, while the Four D Model focuses on the individual employee as well as a small group of employees, the Four I Model is designed to think one step above that. This model focuses on taking changes and plans designed by employees and implement them to other levels of the company, such as upper management and stakeholders.
In the initiate phase, people are introduced to the Appreciative Inquiry theory and how it can help in the company. This phase is important to develop planning and strategies. It debuts new plans and ideas the employees have about the company and what can be improved upon (or even changed). These ideas are usually backed up with previous experiences, employee research, and documented successes or failures. From this, upper management can begin to formulate a plan for themselves and what they can do to aid in the process.
The Inquire phase aims to help employees begin to form a plan or course of action to make the plans in the Initiate phase. Also called ‘the interview’ stage, this part of the plan involves a lot of communication between employees, managers, and higher-ups. People are urged to share their ideas and visions which can be used as valuable input. Much of this is done in groups, large or small, but don’t forget to utilize personal, one-on-one interviews as well. Remember to encourage positive language and include positive thinking methods for everyone involved.
The Imagine part of the plan focuses on forming a route of action for all of the ideas and brainstorms previously collected. Its purpose is to determine what needs to be done and how it can be carried out. Once a stable vision has been designed, it can be shared with other employees to ensure their participation. Ensure that the plan is introduced with a positive attitude and outlook to encourage employees into the plan and make them feel more confident about moving forward. Whether done in small or large groups, every employee should have a positive outlook about moving forward with any action plan.
Finally, using Appreciative Inquiry, the action plan can be put into place and carried out according to its design. Employees may be fearful or skeptical at first, but this is where the positive language and attitudes are put to the test. Every person has a role and should take the steps necessary to carry out their part of the plan. Remind employees of their abilities and praise them for their efforts during this transition. Confident and self-assured employees are needed to support any change in the company and are key to smooth plan implementation.