We as individuals and societies make many assumptions, and these assumptions are formed in their natural course, some of them are incorrect, we have previously tested, and some of them are just assumptions.
We carry these assumptions with us from our experiences, from our communities, from school, and even from ourselves and our family
It is these assumptions that we carry that cause us to be influenced, and influence other people around us.
According to the nature of each assumption:
Negative ones affect us and limit our ability to be creative and explore our resources, while positive ones help us and push us to know our best.
The concept of appreciative inquiry falls under eight positive assumptions, which help us understand and improve our relationships and behaviors as community leaders within our societies.
The first assumption of appreciative inquiry:
In every society there is something going well, This assumption is central to this concept, and virtually , within every society there is something that works effectively.
As community leaders, it is our responsibility to remind people of the need to know what is going well in their community, and what is going on the right path in their community , so that we can help them by adopting an approach taken among them as a way to solve problems and face the challenges that confront their lives and work in particular.
During the Corona pandemic, people did not leave their homes and adhere to the home quarantine. This period caused feelings of frustration, fear, tension, and the control of negative thinking, which revolves around "what's going on in this life", will life stop? Will I continue my work and my passion, or will I miss the train?
At the same time, there was something positive, the bonds of love between family increased by reconnecting with distant people, gaining time by sitting with the family for longer periods.
And there are those who tend to search for the strengths they possess within to develop them, and we noticed the increasing popularity of online training.
This event taught us that even though we went through the Corona crisis, and despite the passage of a great deal of our days without going out, something was going well!
We were able to make the strengths within us a basis on which to build a better future that we hope for.
The second assumption of appreciative inquiry:
What we focus on becomes our reality, many times, within people's interaction with their communities and even with the workplace and family, they are exposed to challenges and problems that obscure the vision of the surrounding opportunities, and this is what makes problems and difficulties an instant reality that we live with at all times.
And as community leaders, we have a responsibility to develop our abilities to help these people notice the opportunities around them, invest resources, and explore strengths that have been missed due to the conviction in the details of an assumed negative reality, and we encourage them to build a completely different reality based on exploring strengths and noticing opportunities further.
An example of this assumption:
A young man who finished his college study and drowned in a negative reality that falls under the concept of the lack of job opportunities and the dominance of unemployment, and that he is a person who is unable to influence society within his field of work.
But if this young man thinks in a positive way that there are some job opportunities, and that he is supposed to search and discover the strengths that he possesses and put them in the right place, and know what are the resources surrounding him and the resources he owns that help him to reach the appropriate opportunity, to make from it a different reality in which he finds himself .
This is what makes us move from a reality that is far from our hopes and ambitions, to a more positive reality that supports and focuses on our capabilities and the strengths within us.
The third assumption of appreciative inquiry:
The truth is in the moment and there are many truths; That is, people have different ways of understanding the same situation, but sometimes there is no right or wrong explanation for our understanding of situations in our interactions as people, and with others within our communities.
AppreciativeInquiry challenges the mantra of right and wrong and addresses matters on the basis that there are many and varied ways in which we can understand the same situation as we work within our community.
And as community leaders, we have the responsibility and the sufficient role to make people look at situations and facts from different angles and at different moments.
This makes them more flexible and more able to interact with each other and within their communities and associations, and even within the workplace and within the family framework.
The fourth assumption of appreciative inquiry:
The language we use creates our reality; The language and the words we speak, whether to ourselves or in our interactions with others, are of great importance. They influence the ways we plan, and our relationships with others as well.
Sometimes we resort to defeatist or aggressive language, naturally, this language will increase the flame of the current situation and take it to the worst results, and this does not help at all in building human relationships or even strengthening them.
As community leaders, we encourage people to use language based on thinking about strengths, using resources, and building interventions based on what is going well.
A volunteer team conducted an activity with an association, after the end of the activity and with not reaching the full desired results, what happened during the activity was evaluated among them and the result is as follows:
The first person: He went to criticize his colleague for wasting time, stressing that his delay was the cause of failure.
The second person: He went to criticize his colleague that he did the activity in a wrong way.
This leads to the dismantling of team bonds, occurrence of some conflicts and may lead to verbal violence between individuals.
But if during their evaluation they looked at the successful aspects of the activity, what resources were used, and what were the strengths they drew on to make them the basis for building upcoming activities.
This change will be sufficient reason to move them from the reality of the end of disintegration to a reality that strengthens relationships and builds stronger teams through community interventions.
The fifth assumption of the appreciative inquiry assumptions:
Asking questions affects the direction of people, organizations, and societies.
As community leaders, if we want to help people, organizations, and communities achieve the desired positive change, we have one of the most important and best tools and means that help us achieve this desire, which is the skill of asking powerful and inspiring questions.
And as community leaders, it is our role and responsibility to strengthen our capacity to ask these questions, and to encourage people to develop their skills in focusing on what is going well in their communities.
By looking at the capabilities, resources, and best behaviors that guide them to ask powerful questions that create new interventions in new areas, and make new advances within the work.
The sixth assumption of the appreciative inquiry assumptions:
It is important to respect and value differences; We as community leaders and even within our own communities it is very important to notice the differences that exist whether people come from different regions with different cultures, or different countries.
It is essential that we notice these differences and invest them in every area, and to know the importance of the return richness when the activity or team is diverse and different, brings from each different spot the best that goes within its community and builds its goals on the expertise and resources found in other communities.
So how beautiful and important it is to focus on investing this existing diversity, and emphasizing on respecting it, because it can open new horizons and make us more open to any planning or intervention wherever we reach.
The last two assumption of the appreciative inquiry assumptions that the CLP talk about are:
The seventh Assumption: People are more confident about their journey into the future if they carry pieces of the past with them.
The eighth assumption: Let these parts be the best of the past.
One of the biggest challenges that communities face when seeking change, is to get people to be partners in that change.
This matter within the community leadership program and the appreciative inquiry approach calls us to help people recover the resources, capabilities and experiences that remained in the past, and turn them into a means or tool for future planning that keeps pace with the changes of community.
Some communities are unaware of all the positive experiences, behaviors, and things that have gone well in the past, therefore, when they decide to be a partner in the change, they must retrieve these experiences from the past, plan for them, and build on them to be a partner in the change they seek in the future.
Many times within our interventions, we turn to communities with the intention of change from the bitter reality, and we attribute all the moments of pride, all the strengths, and all the achievements that these communities have, because we are the ones who will make the change.
While we as community leaders have the role and responsibility to motivate these communities, we encourage them to explore and retrieve the moments that made them feel proud or of good behavior, even the small details that were going well, to carry them from the past and take them to the future towards the change that they aspire to.
One of the tools that can be used within our community work and based on the appreciative inquiry approach is the SOAR Tool:
S stands for Strengths.
O stands for Opportunities.
A stands for Aspirations.
R stands for Results.
It is possible to use the SOAR tool within the three levels that we talked about in appreciative inquiry, whether on an individual level, if I plan something, or if I look at the strengths and opportunities available that support my hopes and ambitions, and how they can help me reach the desired results ,or with me another individual as we work on a team, or even at the levels of communities as they build their interventions.
When applying the SOAR tool, which is based on appreciative inquiry, within our communities, at the level of the self and the other, or even at the individual level, the four points in the four letters has a set of questions that help me apply this tool.
What are my main strengths?
What resources can we build on?
What am I proud of?
When we look at the available opportunities
that we haven't invested yet:
What are the best opportunities available to me that I have not invested in?
Where can you add value to others or be at benefit to them?
aspirations and hopes:
What should I be?
How would I like my future to be?
The results are what make me decide; have I arrived?
How do we know we are succeeding?
How can we translate strengths, opportunities and aspirations?
What are the indicators or measures that inform me that I have achieved the desired future?
Who will be responsible for achieving this?