There is a different and powerful way to approach getting things done in organizations today. It’s called appreciative inquiry. Now, it’s a pretty radical way of looking at what we do at work, so I hope you’re sitting down.
Instead of looking for problems and what’s wrong in a situation, with appreciative inquiry we look for what has and is working, and what’s possible. Instead of concentrating on what not to be doing anymore, we focus on what we need to be doing more of.
So, for example, if your team meetings are usually ineffective, you could focus on the problems and try and fix them. But the appreciative approach would have you all look at the parts of your meetings that do work, and encourage more of that behavior.
Again, focus on what works and do more of that. Always ask questions like,
“What did we do really well on that project?”
“When our meeting was flowing smoothly today, why was it?
“While making that sale, how did I uncover the client’s needs so easily?
“What did you do to make that customer come back and buy some more?
Get the idea?
Now, appreciative inquiry doesn’t just have to deal with doing things. It can focus on who people are. For instance, you can ask, “What do we value most about our team, and how can we foster more of that?”
When you have an idea of what works, then explore how you can bring more of those activities and attitudes into what you do.
I encourage you to try appreciative inquiry for a while. If you do, you may never go back to solving problems, again.