Appreciative Problem Solving

How to Gain an Appreciative Perspective Before Raising a Potentially Contentious Issue with Someone:

Step 1:

  • Your experience:
  1. How does the (situation /circumstance / relationship) make you feel?
  2. How does it affect your performance / behaviour?
  3. What thoughts does it evoke?
  4. How does it influence your relationship with the other participants in this situation?
  5. What does all of the above lead you to conclude?
  6. How does your conclusion affect your relationship with the other participants in particular?
  7. How in general does it affect your relationship with the group that those people represent (family, friendship circle, firm, club etc)?
  • Articulate Your Aspiration:
  1. How would you prefer to be feeling in such a circumstance or relationship?
  2. What values would need to be honoured for you to be able to host such feelings?
  3. How would you prefer to be performing /behaving?
  4. What approach in your thinking would you prefer to be taking?
  5. What would you prefer your attitude towards the relationship/person/firm to be?
  6. What would need to be different or change for the above to become a reality?
  • Envision Potential solutions:
  1. What would you like or would be helpful for others to know about you and your experience that might change their approach to you or the management in the situations?
  2. What could you do to give them the necessary knowledge / awareness or understanding?
  3. How could your manager bring out the best in you?
  4. What stands in the way of this happening?
  5. How are you participating in this circumstance?
  • Conjure-up  Creative Options?
  1. What other options for participation do you have that could bring meaningful change to the relationship or circumstance?
  2. How could you and the other people involved in this circumstance make the shift from describing the problem or complaining about it to solutioning the problem?
  3. Might giving the benefit of the doubt help as a starting point?
  4. Could the situation be managed in a way that keeps it safe, preserves the self esteem of all involved and creates a win-win for everybody?
  5. How would that be done?


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