How many times have you heard a manager proudly declare, “I’m a problem solver”. In fact, when I work with CEO’s, I always ask, “what’s your signature strength?” One of the most common answers I get is “I’m more than happy to jump right in and solve a problem someone is having.”
Our default question is “let’s start with what isn’t working”. Overtime, this creates a deficient culture meaning that the culture is focused on what’s not happening and what isn’tsuccessful. Sometimes, we just need to look at the situation differently to create opportunities.
This is where AI - appreciative inquiry - comes in. Appreciative inquiry is one of the most commonly used tools in coaching to get people out of a negative space and help them to focus on what is working in their life and work. By reframing situations, overtime, we can literally change our brains by creating new neural pathways that will help us to live in the positive . If we change the questions we ask ourselves, we change the reality we live in.
Practicing appreciative inquiry and developing a consistent language around positive affirmation is contagious. Solutions-focused and strength-based work allows us to think differently. In fact, the anticipatory principle states that human systems move in the direction of their images of the future. The more positive and hopeful the image of the future, the more positive the present-day action. Basically, positive thought precedes positive actions which lead to positive results.
So what can you do? Keep your team living in the positive. Resist the urge to criticize or diagnose. Ask about what is going well and what is working and focus on that. By reframing a situation to see the strengths, you will get more out of your team every time.