Appreciative Inquiry: Are You Asking The Right Questions?

Appreciative Inquiry Right Questions

“If you’re going to create change across an entire system, it’s important to bring in as many different voices as possible that are impacted by the system to be part of discussions,” advised Jon.  “You’ll find that the level of commitment and desire to make the future happen is so much higher, faster, and more efficient than just sending out the vision and hoping people get it.”

How could Appreciative Inquiry approaches be used to transform your team or organization?

Jon offered three suggestions on how you can bring the principles of Appreciative Inquiry into your workplace by asking more of the following questions:

Questions About Purpose 

more than anything else studies suggest people are longing for a sense of meaning in their work. We want to know that what we do matters, and can’t simply assume that the company vision is enough to make what people do each day meaningful. The most rewarding tasks provide us with both individual and collective purpose. Take a few moments to pause at the start of your next planning day or meeting and ask people: “Why is what we’re doing today important to us?”

Related: 3 Key Questions To Ask Yourself To Help Make Any Decision

Questions About Strengths 

re-frame your questions to look for what’s working well, rather than getting stuck only on what’s not working. For example, if you want to improve your team’s performance starts by asking: “When have we performed at our best in the past? What made this possible? How can we build upon these strengths?”

And if you’ve never been any good at it, look outside of your organization for anyone else who’s good at it. Ask: “What does that look like for others when it’s working? What can you learn from these experiences? How could your own strengths support these practices?” Commit to finding and spreading great practice stories.

Related:10 Questions To Know If You Should Support Your Leader Or Manager

Questions That Connect You To Images Of The Future 

positive images have been found to pull us forward into positive actions because into new possibilities that fuel us with hope and put us on the road to finding solutions, helping us to realize we have the power to make things happen.

Try asking: “What do you want your future to look like? What would it look like if you were exceptional in the area you want to improve? If everything went as well as it possibly could, what are your deepest hopes?” Consider what actions you could take to move you and your team from where you are now to where you want to be, based on what you know of your organization.

What appreciative questions can you start asking to shape your own and the wellbeing of others around you?

Written by:  Michelle McQuaid 
Originally appeared on
Republished with permission.

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Michelle McQuaid

Dr. Michelle McQuaid is a best-selling author, workplace wellbeing teacher and playful change activator. With more than a decade of senior leadership experience in large organizations around the world, she’s passionate about translating cutting-edge research from positive psychology and neuroscience, into practical strategies for health, happiness, and business success. An honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, she blogs for Psychology Today, hosts the top-rated weekly podcast Making Positive Psychology Work, and her work has been featured in Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, Boss Magazine, The Age and more. She holds a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and has completed a PhD in Appreciative Inquiry under the supervision of David Cooperrider. Michelle lives to help people discover their strengths, move beyond their fears, and finally discover what it truly takes to flourish with confidence.View Author posts