Asking the right questions in your organization, non-profit, or team can change everything. The traditional questions that tend to be asked in organizations are diagnostic questions. These types of questions are deficit based and lead to a problem based, problem focused culture. The alternative to this type of focus is questions that are strength based and lead to engagement and positive energy.
The trick to driving innovation in any type of organization is to craft questions that S.O.A.R (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results).
S.O.A.R questions lead to revolutionary partnerships and revolutionary partnerships do things radically different together. These partnerships are not only different, but quicker and share common focus while leveraging each other’s diverse strengths. These types of positive partnerships also establish new ways of doing business that are based on trust, mutual respect and shared vision.
A couple of sample questions that could begin to uncover the hidden strengths and positive innovation in your organization could include:
A. Tell me about a time when you experienced positive energy that was infectious. What was the situation? What created the positive energy? How did it feel to be a part of it? What did you learn?
B. If positive energy were the flame of the organization, how would you spark it? How would you fuel it to keep it burning bright?
When crafting questions that lead to innovation and positive engagement, its best to keep close to your team’s experience. This can be done by making sure your questions consist of three parts.
•Positive Preface—a topic intro
•A question to evoke a story from the person/team’s/org’s history
•A question to evoke/help give voice to their best images of future
According to David Cooperrider the creator of Appreciative Inquiry, organizations work best when they are vibrant, alive and fun. People can feel when the “joint is jumping!” You can sense that the spirit of the organization is vital and healthy and that people feel pride in their work. In engaged organizations everyone builds on each other’s successes, a positive can do attitude is infectious and the glow of success is shared. What’s more, this positive energy is appreciated and celebrated so it deepens and lasts. S.O.A.R questions lead to this type of positive, innovative culture. Give it a try.