For survival’s sake, we are hard-wired to scan for what’s wrong. The problem is, when we focus exclusively on what we don’t want and what’s not working, we get stuck in the negative. What if we could shift the conversation to the things that ARE working and what we DO want—and solve our problems along the way? What if we could leverage everyday conversations to dramatically improve outcomes in both our personal and professional lives?
Cheri Torres is an author, speaker and catalyst for change. She specializes in leadership and team development, partnering with clients to facilitate positive organizational change through Appreciative Inquiry. Torres is also an entrepreneur, founding the management consultancy Innovation Partners International as well as NextMove, a firm that helps organizations invigorate collaboration and create a culture of excellence. She is the author and co-author of numerous books and articles, including Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement.
Today, Torres shares the Appreciative Inquiry conversation model, explaining how a focus on what IS working opens us up to higher-order thinking. She describes the top two components of conversations worth having: generative inquiry and positive framing. Listen in for Torres’ insight on improving outcomes for our organizations and relationships by way of Appreciative Inquiry—and learn to make a conscious choice to scan for what’s RIGHT!
Key Interview Takeaways
Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to organizational change and design that focuses on the best of what IS and what’s possible. Rather than looking at what’s wrong and how to fix it, Appreciative Inquiry asks: What do we want? Where can we go together? How do we get there?
By focusing on what’s working, we open ourselves to higher-order thinking. Torres contends that we are energized by our successes, and directing our attention there leads to creativity and innovation.
Worthwhile conversations begin with great questions. Torres explains that inviting people to share information (rather than making statements) breeds deeper understanding and connection.
Positive framing means choosing a tone and direction that moves us toward what we want. The process of Appreciate Inquiry is not about ignoring the negative but finding the pockets in an organization where things are going right—and replicating what works through the system as a whole.
Connect with Cheri Torres
Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement by Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres