Briefly introduce the key ideas of Appreciative Enquiry. Learning from and releasing energy by paying attention to what works and gives life. Sharing and creating together our highest dreams for our shared future. Focusing on positive things.
Run a short introductory exercise in "Appreciative Interviewing". "Turn to your next door neighbour. Take three minutes to tell your story about a time in your life when you felt fully alive, energised and confident and knew you were making a difference". Your neighbour, listens, encourages and joins in the celebration!" Then reverse roles. Go round the group and ask everyone for two or three words to describe how they feel now!
Outline the next part of the session and explain our focus on team working, learning and customer service. Brief people on appreciative interviewing. The schedule of questions is a guide not a straight jacket. It is quite OK for both to enjoy the process. Don't worry if it is messy but keep your focus on what works, not problems! This is about telling your stories not collecting data.
Telling your stories
Pairs of people, selected at random (?) have 30 minutes each way to interview each other. The questions you might use follow.
Tell your story about team working.
Tell your story about learning from others
Tell your story about providing superb and exceptional service to your customers
If you had three wishes to make this department and the organisation an ideal organisation to you to work for, what would you use them for?
Form groups of five, split pairs, spend 15 minutes identifying the key themes or things to think about that have arisen from the interviews. For example, a theme that could arise from all of the topics might be the value of excellent communication. List just a few of the themes on a chart and find out which ones have the support and interest of most of the people.
Generate "Provocative Propositions"
Form new groups about the most important themes. Ask each group to come up with "Provocative propositions" which are stretching statements, in the present tense about what you, or key stakeholders, will be saying about the department when you are living and working to your highest aspirations about each theme. For example, if a theme was excellent communication, a "provocative proposition" might be "We understand and listen to each other brilliantly and as a result work together so well that people from the rest of the organisation keep coming to see us to ask us for our "secret"".
Share provocative propositions between groups. Decide one step to take the momentum forward. Briefly share what we have all enjoyed, valued, learned from our work together.
If you have time and inclination, we could have a very short, slightly silly and light-hearted game to finish.
The excellent Provocative Propositions the groups produced were: -
'Whatever's on my mind, I can speak openly and freely knowing I am listened to and encouraged'
'We have so much fun that people are queuing up to join us'
Learning From Others
'We are so effective that our clients transform our business'
'We are pivotal to the success of the firm'
'Knowing me, knowing you - Aha!'
'We meet, and exceed, our clients expectations each and every time'
'The Training Team is recognised throughout the firm for the added value they provide to the business'
The next step will for the groups to plan how to achieve the above.
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