Practice Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry means exactly what it says. You inquire about (or look for) things to appreciate. It is a term I believe was first coined in the Human Resources world. The old style of giving one-hour performance reviews was to spend 10 minutes telling an employee what she was doing well and the last 50 minutes letting her know all the things she needed to improve during the coming year. This is one of the reasons performance reviews have such bad press.

Utilizing Appreciative Inquiry, the manager would reverse the process. In other words she would spend the first 10 minutes telling the employee what she needed to improve over the next year and the last 50 minutes exploring ways they could leverage the employee’s skills.

When you accept that there is something called the Law of Attraction and that “you get more of what you focus on,” then you can see why practicing Appreciative Inquiry in a work setting would do more to improve performance than the mainstream style of performance reviews and management.

If, however, we limit Appreciative Inquiry only to that arena, we would be seriously shortchanging ourselves. When you approach all of life by looking for what you can appreciate, the Law of Attraction brings more things to you that match that feeling of appreciation. The more you appreciate, the better your life becomes. And it’s not that your life SEEMS to improve simply because your attitude is better. Things DO improve!!! It can be no other way.

This is good news for a number of reasons. Let’s say you have a boss who is driving you wild. It seems you can do nothing right for this person. No matter what you do, it’s wrong. Well, as long as you are noticing all the ways he’s driving you crazy, it will only get worse and worse. You are attracting it to you by your attention to it.

You can turn this situation around by starting to look for things to appreciate about your boss. It’s important that you be genuine, though. You can’t “pretend” to appreciate him by saying certain words when, inside, you’re thinking, “This guy is the world’s biggest jerk!” No matter how challenging, there has to be SOMETHING to appreciate! Maybe he’s good at making presentations. Maybe his desk is well-organized. Is he a pet owner who’s good to his dog? It doesn’t have to be big; it simply has to be something you can appreciate.

Once you learn to start looking for what you appreciate about him, you will begin to notice that he’s acting differently. It won’t be overnight and it won’t be dramatic but if you keep your eye out for things he’s doing right, you’ll start to see that he treats you better. He might still treat others on the team poorly but that’s their business, not yours. You can only take care of what you’re attracting.

Appreciative Inquiry is why children behave better for grandparents than parents. The grandparents continually look for all the wonderful things Johnny is doing while Johnny’s parents are looking for behavior to correct. The grandparents attract good behavior; the parents attract the tantrums.

Appreciative Inquiry is why some bosses can get great work out of their staff under the most grueling conditions while other bosses who DON’T practice it cannot get good work from their staff under the plushest of conditions. People will jump through hoops for appreciation.

So, if there is a situation you want to improve, look to see how you can apply the magic of Appreciative Inquiry to it.

Become one who continuously asks the question, “What’s good about this?” whether “”this” is an interaction with someone, a task, a job, etc. After just 30 days, you will find yourself with better circumstances than you ever dreamed possible.

Practice Appreciative Inquiry

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