Positive Questions

2,500 views
2,363 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
2,500
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
59
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Positive Questions

  1. 1. Positive Questions – positive outcomes A Different Approach to Problem Solving There is a theory that runs as follows: if we put our energy into finding problems then we are likely to continue to create them. If, on the other hand, we focus our attention, energy and questions on what IS working, we will begin to find solutions. This technique is known as Appreciative Inquiry. It evolved when researchers in the United States challenged the traditional problem solving approach to change management and began to look at more positive and effective methods. Don’t make the mistake of thinking Appreciative Inquiry means wearing rose-tinted glasses. Appreciative Inquiry is a rigorous approach that does not gloss over problems, but uses them as learning opportunities to bring about profound cultural change. Using Appreciative Inquiry with your team This tips booklet describes an approach to team discussion which provides a new perspective on problem solving. The questions that follow are Appreciative Inquiry questions. You will notice that none of the questions has the word ‘problem’ in it; the only thing the questions are meant to do is help teams discover their strengths and best practices. The first part of this booklet lists the ways of using positive questions to bring out the best in people and teams, based on our values. You may wish to review this part first and then review and choose from the Appreciative Inquiry questions in the second part. Part One – Using positive questions in team meetings 1. Get off to a good start The way meetings begin often set the tone for how they will proceed and what will be accomplished. Select your questions from the list in part two and begin your next staff meeting with a round table discussion. Ask everyone to share answers to the question. After the sharing is complete, ask people to reflect on what they heard and learned in the process. Starting meetings with stories of success and accomplishment will set a time for further success during your time together. Information in this booklet has been taken from the Encyclopaedia of Positive Questions by Whitney, Cooperrider, Trosten-Bloom and Kaplin published in 2002 by Lakeshore Communications Inc., Ohio
  2. 2. 2. Transforming problems into possibilities Talking about problems leads to thinking about problems which often leads to conversations about who caused a particular problem and finally to the tendency to apportion blame. More time can be spent trying to analyse the problem than exploring possibilities for the future. Conversations focusing on problems can be changed by the use of the positive Appreciative Inquiry questions (see part two). Try using a positive question the next time a colleague or employee comes to you complaining about a problem. For example, if a colleague complains about lack of co-operation from another person, you could ask positive questions about communication, co-operation or a shared vision to turn the conversation around to a more positive approach. 3. High performance teams To work well together as a team it is important to know what skills and values individuals bring to the team. You can foster teamwork by selecting two or three of the positive questions in section two and asking team members to share their answers. Concentrate on what matters to them at work and allow them to share their story with the team. After this sharing process is complete, ask the group to identify common themes, or list the resources team members bring to the team’s work. 4. Project reviews which make a difference All too often, projects end without a review and project members go their separate ways. It is, however, important to celebrate and learn from work carried out well. All projects have their high and low points. Use questions from part two to learn what to celebrate in a recent project, and to identify key success factors. Gather the project team together and use the meeting as a time to recognise and celebrate achievements, as well as to learn lessons for the future. 5. Planning a course of action Conversation leads to action. The next time you are future planning with a group of people start by asking a series of positive Appreciative Inquiry questions. Select between three and five questions from part two and ask each person to interview each other for 15-30 minutes each, depending on the time available. After the interviews, bring the group together. Have the group share key points, common themes and core capabilities of the group. Use these discussions as a baseline for conversations about strategies, objectives and action plans for the future. Information in this booklet has been taken from the Encyclopaedia of Positive Questions by Whitney, Cooperrider, Trosten-Bloom and Kaplin published in 2002 by Lakeshore Communications Inc., Ohio
  3. 3. Part Two – Positive Appreciative Inquiry questions A. Excellent Communication Excellent communication is essential to the success of the department as a whole and occurs when information is shared in ways that enhance the relationships among people and their ability to do a good job. It serves to strengthen relationships, to focus on future work, and to convey a sense of caring and commitment. Example questions include: i. Tell me about a time when excellent communication allowed you and another person to really connect and to work together exceptionally well. What was the situation? What was it about you, the other person and the communication that made this possible? ii. Imagine that you’ve arrived at work tomorrow morning to find that a miracle has happened. Excellent communication is now the only form of communication within our organisation. a. What is different? b. How did we get here? c. How does it feel? iii. What lessons have we learnt from this exercise which could help us achieve excellent communications within the team and with customers? Co-operation Co-operation requires open communication and commitment to common purpose. It enables people with diverse interests to work together and to find mutual satisfaction in shared processes and practices. It allows people and groups to maintain their separate and unique identities, while at the same time contributing to the achievements of a larger purpose. i. Imagine that our department has capitalised on co-operation in every form, that co- operation flourishes among departments, teams, with customers, with suppliers and so on, and that this co-operation is happening on a local and national basis. What do you see happening in the department? What’s different and how do you know? Information in this booklet has been taken from the Encyclopaedia of Positive Questions by Whitney, Cooperrider, Trosten-Bloom and Kaplin published in 2002 by Lakeshore Communications Inc., Ohio
  4. 4. ii. How can we transfer the lessons we have learnt from this exercise to improve co- operation within our working practices? Customer satisfaction Customer satisfaction is something we earn by: • Listening to what our customers want • Exceeding expectations • Treating them with genuine respect and caring • Creatively anticipating ways in which products and services can become more and more customer-friendly Think of a time when you were a customer, a very loyal customer of, say, a supermarket, a holiday company or a builder.  What were the most significant things that this person or organisation did to earn your loyalty in the first place?  How did they learn about what was important to you? How did they stay current with your needs, as time went on?  Describe an episode when this loyalty was tested, yet sustained. What did your provider do to keep you engaged, and if necessary rebuild the relationship?  How can we transfer lessons we have learnt from this exercise to improve our customers’ satisfaction with the team’s work? Creating and sustaining positive energy Organisations work best then they are vibrant, alive and fun. You can sense that their spirit of the organisation is vital and healthy, and that people feel pride in their work. Everyone builds on each other’s successes and a positive, can-do attitude is infectious. The positive energy is appreciated and celebrated, so it deepens and lasts. 1. Tell me about a time when you experienced positive energy that was infectious. What was the situation? What created the positive energy? How did it feel to be part of it? What did you learn? 2. If positive energy were the flame of this department, how would you spark it? How would you fuel it to keep it burning bright? Information in this booklet has been taken from the Encyclopaedia of Positive Questions by Whitney, Cooperrider, Trosten-Bloom and Kaplin published in 2002 by Lakeshore Communications Inc., Ohio
  5. 5. Shared Vision When people share a vision, they are clear about where the organisation is going, how it will contribute to its customers and what it will take to succeed. They understand how their work serves the big picture and contributes to the department’s success. They feel they can make a significant contribution. 1. When have you felt most involved in delivering the department’s wider agenda? Tell me about the situation. What made you aware that you were involved in ‘the bigger picture’? What was it about the situation that brought out the best in you? 2. What did you learn from that situation about creating shared vision within a team, division or the whole of the organisation? Information in this booklet has been taken from the Encyclopaedia of Positive Questions by Whitney, Cooperrider, Trosten-Bloom and Kaplin published in 2002 by Lakeshore Communications Inc., Ohio

×