Generally speaking, most people, and most of human behavior has a tendency to view situations as negative rather than positive.
In an average day, the human brain will process approximately 60,000 thoughts, a huge number. Most of these thoughts will be negative, ridiculous or tedious and recurring.
Those recurring or repetitive are around 90% and 80% to 90% of those are negative. The results, in the life of a person, are basically negative: unhappiness, fear, frustration, disappointment and stagnation.
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According to psychologist, Martin Seligman, who is an advocate of positive psychology and also the author of “Authentic Happiness”, only one article out of one hundred articles published are about happiness while the remainder speak about sadness.
This is also the case in terms of news items that appear in most of the media.
Appreciative Inquiry is a valuable tool which can be used by individuals and also in groups and can be helpful for companies.
It is a system which focusses on the factors contributing to issues that need to be dealt with or managed instead of honing in on just searching for solutions to the problems.
This is definitely not a situation in which reality is denied but is more a case of redefining it and highlighting those factors which will help in resolving the issue.
Moving From Swot Analysis To Foar
The SWOT analysis is the go-to method in the business world to ascertain a company’s or organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
SWOT is often the method used by organizations and companies when looking to understand all the different aspects involved when making business decisions.
Another method, being promoted by the Appreciative Inquiry is the FOAR method which advocates Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results.
It is suggested that this model improves decision making and at the same time improves human behavior.
Professor David Cooperrider from Case Western Reserve University in the US, has contributed to our understanding of the Appreciative Inquiry way. It is described as being the four “Ds” of appreciation: Discover, Dream, Design and Deliver.
They are not changeable, but are as they are when they appear, but you have the choice whether to accept or reject them.
Below are the four aspects pertaining to FOAR: Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results.
This is the stage at which you determine what the tools are that you possess. All that is good and will contribute to the success of the objective. This also applies to situations in which challenges need to be overcome or solved.
It is key to use triggers, for instance being fully aware of the particular skills, values and beliefs that you have that will have an impact on your strengths, particularly positive ones. Asking yourself and recognizing what you excel at and where your talents lie.
The FOAR model is about being open-minded and reshaping internal thinking beyond that already known. These include internal opportunities like giving yourself permission to experience something new.
To allow enthusiasm to surface whereby you are able to confront your process of personal and professional development. There are also external opportunities where you learn how to see things in the environment that will be helpful for your development.
For instance, networking in order to resolve an issue or taking a course or reading a book which helped you see something more clearly.
Imagination, innovation and creativity fit into the area of opportunities and will allow for the expansion of perception. They are helpful in resolving issues in ways that you were unable to see before.
The FOAR model counts on the existence of possibilities. Just because you don’t see it now, does not mean that it cannot occur in the future. Being open and ready for good things to occur allows for the possibility of them to happen.
All those things you dream of and aspire to can materialize because of the opportunities you are visualizing, in spite of how far away they may seem at the time.
In order to understand and learn what your aspirations are, and also those of your team, it is important to look at the strengths and opportunities and to review the goals that you are aiming for.
Ask the following questions: What do I really feel passionate about? What do I want to achieve? How do I see the future? Create an image in your mind. How will all these aspirations look in real life and what emotions will you be experiencing?
|A very useful and interesting exercise to carry out for you and also those in your team is to take a photo of your face. On the photo write remarks concerning different parts of your face, for instance, in the mouth area – where you want to go in terms of communication.
In the eye area – where you want to go in relation to vision. In the ear area – in terms of listening skills. This will help in determining areas in the photo that relate to qualities which promote appreciative inquiry. This will help to define those areas which you would like to develop.
The results represent the outcome of all the actions you have made in order to reach your goal. It is the reality of all that you have activated.
This part of the FOAR model is where you define the physical and measurable aspects of what you want to gain. Managing to sell a set number of items, starting a new business in a particular sought-after location, resolving a problem which can be very empowering, or closing a business deal. All of these are some examples of concrete results.
In order to realize the results, it is vital that you have a plan of action. It is important to have goals and methods for achieving them, a strategy and time schedule and who is responsible for making them happen. It is also important to measure the results as the plan progresses.
The results wanted will not occur without action, energy and focused attention. All of these are needed in order to produce the results. Without action, a good imagination, a lot of dreaming and a lot of aspiration will not be enough to produce results. Being disciplined and focused and making positive adjustments along the way will help to achieve this.
The structure of the FOAR model allows you to improve those aspects that will propel you forward. At the same time new possibilities may arise in the process, something that may not occur in the SWOT model.
The focus here is to always look and observe the positive features of any situation. This will change the way you think in fundamental ways. Instead of concentrating on what you lack, you will become more focused on things that will bring you to the results you want.