The Zone - Volume 63
In The Zone Volume 62, Positive Psychology was discussed as to its’ application into how we can use it to help us practice self-care. As the country continues to open and organizations face a new landscape, it is important to reflect on a sense of self-care for all. This concept moves us beyond personal self-care to include organizational and societal self-care. How all facets of our everyday world need to address self-care processes and strategies is an imperative in today’s world.
An example of how the concepts of Positive Psychology can be incorporated into organizational change is the practice of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). According to Dr. David Cooperrider, a founder of Appreciative Inquiry, “the positive core of organizational life is one of the greatest, yet least recognized resources in the change management field today. Appreciative Inquiry has demonstrated that human systems grow in the direction of their persistent inquiries, and this propensity is strongest and most sustainable when the means and ends of inquiry are positively correlated.”
Appreciative Inquiry is a process of discovery into what is the life-giving energy within an organization. The organization can be an educational, industrial, business or societal community organization. Appreciative Inquiry is a way to engage groups of people in self-determining change. Using positive generating questions to explore one’s feelings about the organization, the purpose of the process is to articulate the human resource energy and talents within the organization and to build upon them to move an organization forward.
As outlined by Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva in 1999, Appreciative Inquiry has 5 core principles that outline the tenets of this change process. They include:
Constructionist Principle – Words Create Worlds. The words we choose to use create reality.
Simultaneity (Co-existence) Principle – Inquiry Creates Change. The questions we use are fateful.
Poetic Principle – We Choose What We Study. Organizations have endless areas to study and learn from. What we choose to study makes a difference.
Anticipatory Principle – Images Inspire Action. The more positive the image of the future, the more inspirational it is today.
Positive Principle – Positive Questions Lead to Positive Change. Large and small scale change requires a great deal of positive affect and societal bonding.
Generative questions, such as the following ones, can offer the opportunity for the first step in effective positive change.
Tell me about a time when you experienced positive energy while living in your community. What was the situation? What created the positive energy? How did it feel to be a part of it? What did you learn?
If positive energy is the flame of our organization, how will you spark it when you get back to the office? How will you keep it bright?
Once the positive core of the educational, industrial, business or societal community organization has been discovered, by asking the specific group of individuals generative questions, the members of the group begin to envision the changes that need to be made, design the process of the changes needed and then deliver the results. Although this is briefly presented in a linear fashion, the process of change takes many twists and turns. However, working with positive affect of hope and inspiration invigorates the change agents.
Excellent resources on AI http://www.centerforappreciativeinquiry.net
The process of Appreciative Inquiry offers individuals the opportunity to have a positive intentional growth impact on the world that they live in. Whether it is the organization that we work in, or the organizational community that we live in, discovering the strengths-filled, opportunity-rich world around us offers many opportunities for personal, organizational and society self-care.
What you focus on, grows.
Asking positive, generative questions is key to positive change.
Appreciative Inquiry is a relational people process.
Create a safe environment for people to share their stories.
Decide and commit to emphasizing the positive.
Focus on what is working and build on it.
Things to Limit
Wandering into negativity.
Believing that dysfunction is normal.
Thinking that opportunities for positive change are not present.
Quote of the Week
“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
~ Marcel Proust
Working with organizations, large and small, from the Appreciative Inquiry perspective, has shown how effective it can be as a tool. It can be used to assist organizations in developing a positive mindset and resources to pursue the projects and strategies that set them apart from others and that will assist in their growth during these turbulent times.
Check our Welcome Greeting on YouTube
The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.
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