Did you wake up happy today? Did you jump out of bed excited to get to work because your work makes you feel valued, listened to and moving forward in your career and your life? Do you feel unwavering loyalty for your employer? Is your work ethic rock solid? Is this not the type of employees that businesses dream of; employees that are happy, loyal, and have great work ethics? The question is,
“How do employees and employers get to this ideal working environment?” Maybe, a shift in focus is needed.
Have you ever heard of appreciative inquiry? No? Then, today is your lucky day!
Here is the definition of what appreciative inquiry means, taken from the book-Appreciative Inquiry-A Positive Revolution in Change by David L. Cooperrider & Diana Whitney. (1)
“Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative, coevolutionary, search for the best in people, their organization, and the world around them. It involves systematic discovery of what gives life to an organization or a community when it is most effective and most capable in economic, ecological, and human terms.” (1)
Imagine taking the focus off of what is wrong and focusing instead on what is working. What makes your business or organization stand out in a positive way? What empowers your employees and what do they do better than anyone else? Appreciative inquiry fosters asking positive questions that strengthen work environments to bring out the best in people. Appreciative inquiry assumes that there is future potential for positive change within each of us.
“Human systems grow in the direction of what they persistently ask questions about, and this propensity is strongest and most sustainable when the means and ends of inquiry are positively correlated. The single most important action a group can take to liberate the human spirit and consciously construct a better future is to make the positive core the common and explicit property of all.” (1)
Imagine bringing out the best in your employees by focusing on their strengths. How can you make your work environment magnetic where people feel so connected to their work and organization? Think about it. What would happen to productivity and sick time? Productivity would go through the roof and sick time would plummet. How exciting is that?!
Here are some notes I took, after reading the book Appreciative Inquiry- A Positive Revolution in Change (1), of how one organization answered the question,
“How can we engage the positive potential of all employees toward transforming the company?”
1. Set a goal of five stories of positive performance of every negative one.
2. They trained 50 people as internal change agents on various levels, in Appreciative Inquiry.
3. They also trained a large number of frontline employees.
4. They created opportunities for sharing new positive stories.
5. They created an Appreciative Inquiry teaching tool for all employees.
6. The Appreciative Inquiry model was introduced as a new model for unions and management.
Have I given you food for thought? If so, that’s great! Imagine starting each day knowing you are part of a positive revolution for change. Imagine how this concept will affect your children and future generations! You are laying the ground work to help unleash your and their full potential.