Sunday, March 07, 2004

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry is change based on strengths, values, victories and dreams. It focuses on the positive, not the negative, recognising the value in each other and building on it. People want recognition, validation of what they do well. They aren’t clairvoyant and can’t know if you find them valuable or not unless you share that with them. Similarly, change begins with you. It’s not only working through conflict in the workplace, but recognising that individuals not only want to change but are working on it. Changing behaviour is very difficult, especially if that behaviour is ingrained in everything you do. It takes a great deal of effort and energy and if it isn’t recognized by others, then what would be the point of change?

You get what you expect. If you’re still seeing the past, holding on to a lot of baggage, judging an individual by what was rather than what is, then you’ll only see the negative. And if you give them the encouragement and recognition that you notice the change happening, then you will be instrumental in empowering and supporting that person through the path to positive change.

When I interview staff within an organization and ask them what they would like more of within their teams, the first answer is almost always “Recognition and respect for what I do”. Most tend to chastise and share anger way more than encouragement and praise. Put yourself in their position. If you’re a leader, which do you think will build more loyalty and create willingness to work harder, focusing on common goals?

It only takes a second to say thank you, job well done, or to give recognition where it’s due.

Donna Karlin

Recommended reading:
Appreciative Inquiry: The Power of Positive Change by Diana Whitney and Amanda Trosten-Bloom ISBN 1576752267

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