Discovering Appreciative Inquiry

When results are not as good as planned, where is your focus ? Do you look for problems to solve or do you identify areas of performance ? Most of us focus on problems to solve. Appreciative Inquiry invites us to look at things differently. The results may be surprising, and in any case very interesting since one of the main benefit of this approach is to become unstuck and to generate new positive dynamics. To gain insight on what this approach generates, I invite you to experience it by asking one of these following questions to one of your team members in a manner that may seem unusual to you.

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What we can learn from Neuroscience

Did you try Appreciative Inquiry ? The approach we invited you to try with our previous publication actually has two benefits: The first benefit is to get out of the negative spiral that focuses only on what does not work and to shift our focus towards learning how to use and spread largely what we do best. It can reboost a blocked system. The second benefit is biological. Focusing ourselves on our positive experiences has a positive benefit on our physiology. We free some neurotransmitters, Oxytocin, that have a major impact on social interactions, and have a positive effect on our perception of connection (of course this presentation is oversimplified – but that’s basically it).

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The art of asking questions to move things forward

In our previous article, we encouraged you to suggest to your team members to use open questions. Shifting our practice of interactions with team members by using a maximum of open questions and limiting affirmations and closed questions is a transformative practice. A quick reminder about open questions (as opposed to closed questions that are answered by yes or no): typically, they start by ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’, ‘how’… By definition, they are open to larger exploration for answers and are adapted to open discussion, to allow different views to be expressed and let team members diverge in their thinking.

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