People who are interested in the Appreciative Inquiry approach sometimes struggle to understand how they can apply it to the challenge of assessment or evaluation.
Lots of people feel instinctively that happiness and wellbeing at work must be important. But are they a business necessity or a ‘nice to have’. Surely it makes more sense to ensure your business is profitable and thriving before you start worrying about how people feel?
Increasingly research suggests that investing in employee wellbeing by ensuring positive work relationships, an emphasis on strengths-based development, and worker happiness has productivity pay-offs. So why delay, start promoting positive psychology practices at work today!
Earlier this month I attended the Global Strengthscope Practitioner Conference in London. A wonderful and inspiring conference where completely unexpectedly I was presented with the 2017 conference ‘Outstanding Contribution to Positive Work Practices Award.’ I was delighted and honoured and it got me thinking about what we have achieved so far in bringing positive work practices into the workplace and what we have yet to achieve,
I have recently come across a great paper about human energy, it is referenced at the end of this piece. It set me thinking about what it was saying in relation to Appreciative Inquiry. These are my thoughts.
How is it different, why is it better?
Co-creative approaches to organization change such as Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space, and World Café have some very distinctive features that differentiate them from more familiar top-down planned approaches to change.
Elsewhere on this website we explore social capital as a group or social phenomena that adds value by increasing trust and information flow around an organisation, however it can also be understood from an economic perspective.
From this perspective it can be defined as a combination of the number of relationships some one has, the economic usefulness to them of those relationships and the quality of them: effectively, how well known someone is, in what circles, and with what degree of affection. It is the social capital in an organisation that means that we care about the effect our work will have on the next part of the production chain, rather than slinging substandard work over the functional line saying, ‘done my bit, their problem now’.
Fascinating research on group performance suggests two key things:That the collective intelligence of a group is more than the sum of its parts and that the presence of women in a group is key to high collective intelligence
I used this recently with a group of managers as part of a workshop on positive and appreciative leadership. It is an effective way into the virtuous practices aspect of flourishing organizations and into the topic of authentic leadership. It could just as well be used as an exercise in individual executive coaching or development
We are all taught that it is polite to be grateful, but does it make any other difference? Recent research suggests yes, including in the workplace.
Most people feel gratitude a lot and it makes them feel good to feel grateful
Gratitude motivates reciprocal aid giving
It can be considered as an emotion, a behaviour and a personality trait
We all know rudeness is an unpleasant aspect of life, did you also know it has a cost attached? Two researchers, Porath and Erez, have spent years exploring the effect of rudeness on people at work, this is what they have found:
Between 1998 and 2005 the percentage of employees who reported experiencing rudeness once or more in a week doubled from almost 25% to almost 50%. Indeed in 2005 25% of employees reported experiencing rudeness at least once a day.
When disaster strikes, under the intense pressure to do something fast, it is very easy for leaders to make quick, isolated obvious decisions i.e. to have a round of redundancies. Very few people like to have to do this, but often feel they have no alternative. However alternatives are available, what they demand is a willingness to go beyond simple and obvious solutions and to call upon the wisdom and goodwill of the workforce. A leader who is willing to work appreciatively with his or her workforce in finding ways to survive and thrive in these challenging trading times will reap the benefit now and later.
1. Change is changing
Traditional, top-down, designed then implemented change takes too long and is too hard to push through an organization. The plan is out of date almost as soon as it’s made. People resist. Change needs to be fast, flexible and proactive and focused on maximising tomorrow’s possibilities rather than rehashing yesterday’s mistakes. Change needs to take everyone with it. Appreciative Inquiry is a change methodology for our changing times.
Positive psychology is the new domain of psychology that burst upon the world when Martin Seligman coined the phrase at his inaugural speech as the President of the American Psychological Association in 1998.
Having recently extensively studied the literature, Appreciating Change can exclusively reveal the ten things that you can do that can make your organisation an even more inspiring and positive workplace.
1. Play to everyone’s strengths
People playing to their strengths are effective, successful, engaged and energised. Their productivity is at its best. Those dutifully struggling with weaknesses are slow, ineffective and demoralised. Their productivity is poor.
What is positive devience and why is it a good thing?
Positive Deviance is an exciting methodology emerging from an understanding of organisations as complex adaptive systems. It helps organisations learn from those who manage to achieve better than normal outcomes from within the same resource constraints as their colleagues.
What is a positive culture?
Cameron’s research has revealed three key distinguishing features that define a positive organisational culture. Essentially these are: an interest in learning from success to exceed standard performance; the cultivation of graceful behaviours such as helpfulness, patience, humility, forgiveness; and a bias towards spotting and affirming the good in people and situations.