The Wisdom of Inquiry

Adapted from Appreciative Leadership:
Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization
Diana Whitney, Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Kae Rader

Appreciative questions are a ready source of positive power. All you have to do is ask, and a wealth of information, ideas, and knowledge unfolds. Positive questions are keys to treasure troves of best practices, success stories, and creativity. They unlock positive emotions essential to high performance such as acceptance, validation, job satisfaction, confidence, and courage. Positive questions are among Appreciative Leadership’s most powerful tools. They are compelling vehicles for empowerment, for fostering risk taking, and for guiding value-based performance. They stimulate learning, change, and innovation.

The strategy of Inquiry speaks of how Appreciative Leadership leads with positively powerful questions. Knowing that questions are fateful, appreciative leaders cultivate a positive “Ask to Tell” Ratio, embed values in questions, and “flip” negative issues into positive questions, thereby fostering new organizational and community realities.  In particular, the practice of Appreciative Inquiry enables appreciative leaders to focus themselves and others on strengths and positive possibilities, building bridges across departments, organizations and communities and unleashing cultures of inquiry.