When I first read about appreciative inquiry, I remember being completely captivated- nerdy, I know, but I loved the idea of such a positive approach to change and transformation.
Appreciative inquiry is an approach that focuses on the positive and successful- essentially focusing on questions that target successes and what is going well instead of focusing on problems and failures.
It’s actually really challenging to take this approach, however- so much of our lives is focused on solving problems and identifying root causes and mitigating risk. Focusing on what keeps us most engaged and most benefits us, instead- it can feel like sugarcoating.
Instead, it can be a powerful tool to find the opportunity in every problem. Â Take these examples:
|Employees are not engaged.
|How can we provide opportunities for employees to do the work that best engages them?
|We’re not meeting our profit goals.
|How can we manage projects to ensure profitable delivery of products and services?
|Overhead tasks are consuming too much time.
|What is the ideal amount of administration to keep us connected on track without overwhelming employees?
These are just a couple of examples where a problem-based approach is transformed into more of an appreciative inquiry approach. Beyond that, appreciative inquiry can be used to focus on the unique strengths of an individual or organization.
What do you do particularly well? What is special that you bring to your work and relationships?