This is a typical format that we use for Appreciative Interviews. It’s four simple questions and might take 20-40 minutes, depending how much depth you go into.
The aim of the appreciative interview is to unearth stories of times when things went exceptionally well – times which are often overlooked in the rush to identify and solve problems.
By reminding ourselves of what is important about these peak experiences, we have a clearer idea about what we want to do more of in the future. We also start to feel better about our work, our organisation, our team, and ourselves.
You can modify these ‘generic’ questions according to the subject of your appreciative inquiry. Here they are:
- What has been your best experience of your professional life – a time when you felt most alive, most engaged, and proud of yourself and your work?
- What’s really important about this experience? What do you value most about it?
- What do you value most about your work?
- Without being overly modest, what do you value most about yourself and the way that you do your work?
Remember, you are after stories and the motivating emotions they evoke, rather than detached conceptual analysis.
We find that the ‘what do you value most about yourself’ question works best after the other three – tradionally modest Brits (and this is probably true of Aussies and Kiwis too) might feel inhibited if they were asked to blow their own trumpets with no warm-up! Maybe in the US it would be easier…