How To Engage Your Team With Appreciative Inquiry

Engaged employees are the backbone of any organization beyond any doubt. They are the ones who brings customer satisfaction, higher productivity and ultimately increased profits. However, the latest study by the Gallop indicates that unengaged employees outnumber the engaged ones by the ratio of 2 to 1 and the condition is even worse in Middle East, North Africa and East Asia. It still remains to be figured out how to turn this dismal state of affairs around.

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You can make a lot of difference to your organization if more of your team members become actively engaged, applying all of their creativity, discretionary efforts and intelligence to the work. As matter of fact, your organization including your employees and yourself can perform much better than you can even imagine. Appreciative Inquiry is a simple method which helps you improve engagement and resolve both simple and hard problems with relative ease.

Common Team Challenges:
Before we discuss the appreciative inquiry in detail, it is pertinent to throw some light on the most common team challenge. For instance, it is always difficult to make newly formed teams work together as a unit. It is also difficult to restore faith among team members after failures and redundancies. Furthermore, solving a specific problem concerning the entire team is never easy when standard methods fail. Most importantly, leaders are often at sea when they confront the problem of how to engage the entire team in improving organizational performance.

What is Appreciative Inquiry?
The founders of Appreciative Inquiry, Diana Whitney and David Cooperrider, define the term as, “Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative search for the best in the people, their organizations and the world around them.” History suggests that those companies who have implemented Appreciative Inquiry in their workplace have benefited significantly. For instance, 02, one of the largest telecom provider in UK, improved customer retention by 32% in 20 months. Similarly, US Navy successful improved officer retention and saved massive $2 billion with the help of Appreciative Inquiry.

Three Principles for Successful Change:
The concept of Appreciative Inquiry is based on the fact that everyone can change successfully over the time. There are in fact, three principles of effective change which are as under.

  • In every human situation something works.
  • Organizational reality is shaped by conservations and change starts as soon as you ask a question.
  • We have more confidence in the future when we rediscover and carry forward the achievements of the past.

The “5D” Model:

5D Model

The 5D model is an integral part of Appreciative Inquiry. The first part of the 5D model is Defining your problems and determining why your team is not engaged and working up to the expectations. This is the stage in which you ask affirmative questions to define problems. The second step is Discovery in which you discover what actually is already working and what not. In this stage, you conduct affirmative interviews and look for the best experience instead of benchmarking average performances.

Dream is the third stage of Appreciative Inquiry in which you first individually visualize what you want to see followed by doing the same for your team. You depict a future with perfect outcome for your particular problem. Similarly, Design which is the fourth stage deals with questions about how to convert your dreams into reality. You sit in a group to generate ideas about how to bring change in actions, processes and systems.

The last state is known as Delivery in which you decide how to take your topics forward and measure success. Similarly, this is the time when you finally formulate a high action plan to accomplish the task of improving employee engagement.

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