Your Team and Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry and Teams

Appreciative inquiry is an important tool for your team.  All teams, no matter how successful, will have dips in performance now and then.  Reasons are too numerous to list completely. Performance issues arise  from internal constraints (lack of resources, talent, time) or from external influences(market conditions, change, technology).  Winning teams survive because they do not get stuck in negativity.  Instead, the best teams focus on past accomplishments and celebrate their abilities.  By building on their past strengths and capabilities, they move from a negative position into a more productive zone of energy and enthusiasm.  Every team can do this if they are aware of the “Appreciative Inquiry” process.

The Appreciative Inquiry Approach

Appreciative Inquiry is a well know tool and widely used especially during organizational change.  Teams derive renewed energy as they discuss and share examples of past and present achievements and peak experiences.  An Appreciative Inquiry Approach includes:

  •  A discussion about possibilities
  • Vision focused dialogue
  • Generative thinking that builds on past accomplishments
  • A “Glass half full” mentality
  • Individuals and team collectively can participate
  • The focus is “What is Working Here”, rather than “What is Not Working Here”

Why Appreciative Inquiry Works

Appreciative inquiry works because:

  • It is purposefully positive
  • Highly participative
  • There is vision, creativity, cooperation and commitment
  • There are positive stories and images
  • All the voices are in the room
  • The team can generate innovative results

Appreciative Inquiry brings the best of the past into the future.  Team members are reminded of the obstacles they overcame.  The team is refreshed and ready for current and future challenges.

How you Can Use Appreciative Inquiry

If you feel your team is in a slump or headed into one soon, set up a time for discussion.  For pre-work, have the individuals complete the following:

  • Describe a peak experience/high point with the team
  • Identify a time when you felt most effective and engaged.
  • Make one or two suggestions to enhance the health and vitality of this team