Living the Questions: How’s it going?

Appreciative Inquiry is usually used in organisational development, but I think it can also help individuals think about their careers, goals, and so on.

It focuses on building on what works well rather than on eliminating what works badly, based on the assumption that the questions we ask will tend to focus our attention in a particular direction.

Imagine what happens to the inside of your head when you always assess situations by asking “What are the problems?” or “What’s wrong?” Focusing on dysfunction can make things worse, or at least fail to makes things better.

Instead, Appreciative Inquiry starts with the belief that every organisation and every person has positive aspects that can be built upon. So it asks questions like “What’s working well?” and “What’s good about what you are currently doing?”

It looks for strengths, experience, assets, motivations, potential. This discovery is the first of a cycle of four processes, which are in organisation-speak, but can be interpreted for individuals:

DISCOVER: The identification of processes that work well.
DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
DESIGN: Planning and prioritising processes that would work well.
DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.

As for the detail, there is a lot on the web about AI. If anyone reading this knows of any resources particularly targeted at individuals, please let us know in the comments. But I suspect doing just the discovery phase will help a lot of people clarify things, and you could make up the rest as you go along. Just don’t let me hear you saying “oh but I didn’t think that was anything special”.

Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t ― you’re right.”