Almost all employees can perfectly point out what goes wrong in their organisation: “We work inefficiently, the executive board is invisible and all departments are working in silos.” Usually there’s a tendency to solve these problems by doing extensive research, followed by appointing managers who should avoid these situations in the future.
In the mid 1980’s a new approach was developed: Appreciative Inquiry (AI). This is a method for studying and changing social systems (groups, organisations, communities) that advocates collective inquiry into ‘the best of what is’ in order to imagine ‘what could be’. It is followed by a collective design of a desired future state that is compelling and thus does not require the use of incentives or persuasion for planned change to occur.
Enterprise Social Media turns out to be a great medium for this process. It is possible to involve and engage many people, who can contribute their ideas in their own time and from their own workplace. Of course one of the biggest challenges is to avoid negativity. During changes some might say that this has been tried before or stress the things that probably won’t work.
The secret lies in the questions. If you want positive answers, ask positive questions. And choose topics employees can personally relate to. A few examples:
- “Why is this approach in your opinion the most effective?”
- “Who do you regard as a role model for this and what does he/she do right?”
- “Please share a situation when department X positively surprised you.”
- “Please share an example of the things you do to work efficiently.”
- “What was one of the successes in the last project you participated in?”
All of these questions ask for short contributions that can’t be right or wrong, but at least are positive. They stimulate the discussion and encourage to respond on others as well. And that’s where the real value is realised: by collaboration. Within your team, your department or across the globe. Imagine if everyone in your company would focus on what goes right and you can dream together about a desired future, some great changes might happen before you know it. Give it a try on your platform today!