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It's Time to Appreciate Your Challenges

Updated: Jun 24, 2021


It has been a long year! Lots of things have been challenging, and it is easy to look at everything as a problem that needs fixing. Many of us, see things that don't work optimally as "broken." It's great to think of a better way. However, when we look at everything as being in need of repair, it can hurt our mindset. For example, if you are at work, and the communication isn't as clear or transparent as you would like, there are too many meetings, and those meetings don't feel constructive, some of your teammates don't meet deadlines, and your office is too small to meet your needs, it can get you down. In fact, if others feel the same as you, it can start to lead to a negative culture, which will lessen motivation across the board. Lower motivation does not really help with innovating your way out of challenges. In comes today's superhero: Appreciative Inquiry. Appreciative Inquiry, like the pictures suggests, ask us to assume a positive mindset for all problem solving. Appreciative Inquiry asks you to look at what is good and draw from your strengths. It looks at places where the team is thriving. It creates a culture of excitement around possibilities rather than a culture of how do we fix what is broken?


Recently, I had a team of young professionals look at issues they were facing, but instead of burrowing into the negative hole (which often leads to just complaining). they were asked to try specific innovation techniques including Appreciative Inquiry. At first, they might have thought this was going to be an annoying exercise, thinking about things that troubled them, but then they shifted their attention to what is going well, and they realized it wasn't nearly as bleak as they thought, that, in fact, a lot of processes and instrumentation had been put into place to allow the team to do well. They took the time to research what actually existed and talk to those responsible and found out a lot had been done to address the team's needs. Realizing this made them more hopeful. With hope as part of the equation, they started looking around at what others had done with similar issues, and they felt like they could dream about what this might look like in their setting. Most importantly, they were able to approach the challenge with positive energy. Try a little Appreciative Inquiry. We all could use some good vibes right now.

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