Members enquiries, committee queries, customer feedback, media requests, Freedom of Information submissions … we deal with a lot of questions as an organisation every minute of every day.
As staff we tend to be well versed in answering questions, but don’t often get the time to ask them.
As an organisation we really want to change that and encourage everyone in all corners of the Council to become more inquisitive, about what we do now and what we can achieve together in the future.
There’s a working group being set up as a first step towards embracing a technique called Appreciative Inquiry, with expressions of interest invited from anyone keen to get involved. I’d encourage you all to find out more and consider taking part.
Appreciative Inquiry works on the simple principle that we grow as individuals and teams by asking questions (and working towards finding the answers). The aim is to shift thinking towards identifying successes and strengths which provide a positive platform to build from, with a structured approach to seeking improvements and solutions.
It’s a way of turning the focus to what we want to create, grounding outcomes in past successes and the new guiding principles, as well as inspiring us all to embrace opportunities. By opening up positive discussion we hope to encourage creativity, increase buy-in and improve morale.
The first working group will be tasked with looking at how we can better value each other and recognise a job well done – an important guiding principle.
It’s particularly relevant following on from the Star Awards last week, and some of the debate we saw in the build-up to the event. Lots of questions were posed about what recognition should and could look like – and I hope there will be many more as part of the Appreciative Inquiry approach.
That approach can be just as vital in areas including recruitment, engagement and our daily work in looking for ways to improve what we deliver on behalf of customers.
We need to think differently and want to support individuals and teams to do that in a collaborative way. If we continue to do the same things and think the same way, we’ll get the same results.
I’m excited to see how we can use Appreciative Inquiry to shape the future and the first of the working groups is a great opportunity to test and learn.
If you haven’t expressed an interest already, please do give some thought to getting involved in what promises to be a really positive and rewarding project.