Ideas to Read and Pass Along

Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

Why Appreciative Questions Work

10 Reasons

1. Grounded in a history that is real.

Appreciative questions challenge us to build on what we’ve ALREADY done that works. No pie-in-the-sky platitudes. The focus is on REAL strengths that have achieved REAL positive results.

2. HOPE is ignited and energized.

Appreciative questions unleash passion and enthusiasm. They create positive and attractive pictures. People get “pumped” when they know they can do it, when they believe there is a realistic chance for success. They know that the probabilities for success are high because they’ve done it before.

3. They build rapport.

People obviously like to talk about what’s working. When they connect, rapport takes place that is interpersonally gratifying. Since we gravitate toward things that are gratifying, relationships have a chance to grow at a deeper level.

4. They give people a voice.

When asked about what is working, we automatically feel like our opinions and ideas count. This makes us feel valued. Motivation, morale and a willingness to engage go up when we know that we’ve been heard.

5. They stimulate innovation.

When people are hopeful, heaviness, stress and rigidity give way to lightheartedness, calm and mental flexibility. Appreciative questions focus on possibility, they give new ideas room to grow and creativity an opportunity to flourish.

6. They build confidence.

What’s more motivating: focusing on what you are doing right or concentrating on all of your mistakes and weaknesses? One lifts you up and makes you confident, the other tears you down and makes you insecure. Appreciative questions assume that confidence is a critical key to great solutions while insecurity, resentment and defensiveness lead to a much lesser result.

7. They create the freedom to embrace positive change.

When we are confident and secure we are more open to change. We have the freedom to receive new ideas. When we are fearful and insecure we become defensive and closed. Positive questions stimulate positive change.

8. They give people an opportunity to be visionary.

Appreciative questions force us to transcend petty preoccupations and picture a better future—a future that magnetically pulls us forward. They allow us to dream and when we dream with others we discover common aspirations that unify us. Appreciative questions remind us that the most important things about us are not where we have been, but rather where we are going.

9. Action-oriented.

Appreciative questions are inherently action-oriented. They challenge people to think about “next steps” and moving forward; they don’t get wrapped around the axle of planning and analysis.

10. Culture that is alive.

Appreciative questions transform organizations into places where impassioned people come to work fully awake and firing on all cylinders. Hope and optimism fuel a strong desire to make the company the best that it can be. The result is solutions that amaze, surprise and blow the doors off business-as-usual.

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