As the holiday season is almost upon us and lists for whom and what to give are building, I was inspired by a client’s request for a gift she wanted to give to others.
She is the Campaign Director of a large non-profit organization and she asked me to facilitate a leadership and learning event for 40-50 substantial donors and volunteers. During the year, they give so much of their time, energy, and money, so my client wanted to provide a gift in return. Simply put, her gift to them is recognition and gratitude. The event is to celebrate their dedication to the non-profit by highlighting their positive attributes and how they contribute to the organization’s success.
Not only is appreciation a wonderful gift to bestow, but it is an invaluable resource for drawing out the best in people. Showing appreciation motivates and inspires others to perform more of the behavior you acknowledged; thus in return, you get more of the desired results. Successful leaders know how to use these affirmations to enhance productivity. A classic business tool, Appreciative Inquiry (developed by David Cooperrider), utilizes our strengths and successes to solve problems, make decisions, and build better businesses. Rather than trying to improve our weaknesses or fix what went wrong, Appreciative Inquiry focuses on the future by capitalizing on what we do well and building upon those assets.
How can you use Appreciative Inquiry in your life and in your business? Cooperrider created the 4D cycle for easy application of this process. Think of an issue, need, or goal you would like to positively address (i.e. growing your business, getting a partnership/relationship back on track, navigating a life/career transition).
Illuminate what you do well. What are your best gifts? What strengths do you offer your organization, your employees, your relationships, or your community?
Envision the possibilities. What can you do with your gifts? How can your organization use these strengths to increase productivity, profits, market share? How can you contribute to other people?
Construct the future. What should you continue doing because you do it well? What assets can you maximize to advance your dream? What systems, structures, and strategies will get you to the desired goal?
Carry out the plan. Concentrate on your strengths and abilities and how they best serve you and your organization.
There is more satisfaction in performing actions we do well, rather than those we do not do well. Search for the greatness in yourself and others and the solutions will be more enjoyable to pursue. Equally as important though, is how you affirmatively view the experience. To learn more about Appreciative Inquiry or how you can uncover your gifts and apply them in your life and work, contact me.