Appreciative Inquiry: The Simultaneous Principle

The Appreciative Inquiry ‘Simultaneous Principle’ says the questions we ask and the stories we share already hold the seeds of change.

Change doesn’t simply happen at the end of a process – it starts from the first moment you step in to ask the question or to tell a story. In other words ‘the questions we ask determine what we find’.

For example a company facing a large staff turnover and wanting to retain staff could ask ‘what do you think is causing people to leave us’ or they could ask ‘what are the things about this company do you value most and have encouraged you to stay with us’.

Imagine the conversations, topics and emotions that would be buzzing around that company as a result of each of those questions.

What kind of company do you think people would start to find?

On the one hand they will probably start seeing a place that is full of problems so people don’t like to stay. On the other hand they will probably start seeing a place that is far more attractive and gives people lots of good reasons of working there.

In each case the very first question is already influencing the lens through which people are looking at their work place.  This in turn will influence the ‘culture ‘of the place and direction in which it develops.

So what questions are you asking the people around you?

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