Being appreciative is a positive and motivating approach to developing (improving) practice and enhancing participation. It underpins the My Home Life vision.
It pays attention to the best in us, not the worst; to our strengths, not our weaknesses; to possibility thinking, not problem thinking. It focuses on the core strengths of a situation or organisation, then uses those strengths to reshape the future. It focuses on doing more of what is already working, rather than focusing on fixed problems. It’s question based. The very act of asking curious and courageous questions helps us to both acknowledge diverse views and influence how we and others act. It recognises the important of storytelling as a helpful way to communciate and foster positive relationships.
The four phases of this approach are:
What is working well? When do you feel most proud?
How would you like things to be? What do you value?
How can we work together to make it happen? What strengths do people have that would help us?
What can we do together to make it happen more of the time?
This approach is adapted from the principles of Appreciative Inquiry. For more information, see Reed, J. (2007) Appreciative Inquiry. Research for Change, London: Sage.