Adopting a Positive Perspective

I’ve been working on the Multiple Metaphor Model of change for a few weeks and was indebted to Rob Lewis who suggested some key questions which could compliment the metaphors.

Around the same time that I received Rob’s questions I came across the notion of Appreciative Inquiry. In order to try out the model I used the metaphors and some of Rob’s questions to reflect upon our current Integrated Children’s Services Plan. The difficulty I was finding was that I kept coming up with problems and areas of need. As the work went on it became more and more negative, to the point where I wondered how we could possibly put a successful change strategy together. My solution was to adopt an Appreciative Inquiry approach and consider each of the metaphors in turn but to seek three concrete examples within each which demonstated good practice, for example, using the sculpting metaphor I considered our medium – which is people, and identified these three strengths:

  1. Our colleagues are committed to providing the best possible service for children, young people and their families.
  2. Our people will continually work beyond the expected parameters to benefit children, young people and their families.
  3. Our people care about their colleagues in their immediate situation.

By considering each of the parts of the metaphor model in turn I began to develop a much more positive perspective on what we have been doing – and – more importantly – a number of things which we could build upon to imrove our service. Such an approach has the added benefit of maintaining morale, engaging postively with people and creating a culture where the focus is on success – not failure.

I don’t see this as being a “happy clappy” way of working and if we can find a way of linking this approach with the rigorous Performance Indicator model mentioned in the previous post then I’m excited by its potential.

Perhaps the greatest problem that we face – and this isn’t “Appreciative Inquiry” – is the tendency for Scots to see the downside and also to be more comfortable with that approach. I’m going to continue exploring this area over the next few months.

PS – I’ve made a start at putting together a list of related literature which people might like to dip into for additional infromation – or feel free to make addtions.

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  1. Pingback: Don’s Learning Blog » For Scotland’s Children - next steps

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