High-Moment Team Reflection: Growing our Individual and Team’s Strengths

350 staffer Sarah from Egypt has been using a method called appreciative inquiry. That approach centers around the belief that groups make their best progress when they they focus on the skills they do well. When a group says they aren’t good at communication, for example, this approach asks of the group: “Okay, but when you’re the best at communication—what does that look like?” The idea is that seeing what you’re lacking doesn’t help you know what to do more of. Instead focus on what resources you have and how to expand and grow those.

Time: 45 minutes Group Size: 5-25 people

How it’s done:

Step 1. Think of a campaign achievement or outcome that you are proud of

Each person thinks about things they are proud of from (for example) the past 6 months. These could be individual, group, or campaign achievements. Write those down or bring them to mind with as much detail as possible.

Step 2. In pairs, take one of those and talk deeply about what happened

Have people pair up. Then have them each take one of the moments they wrote or spoke about earlier. Have them take turns listening and speaking. Give them a few minutes each to tell details of the achievement. Have them answer the questions: What happened? What role did you have in it? What did you learn about it?

The listener can ask questions to help their partner get clearer about the qualities that they and their group had for that achievement. And how exactly did you know to do that…? What other qualities did you draw on to make that happen? Where did that quality come from inside you? Is that often how your team operates?

Step 3. In the large group make a list of: “What makes our campaigning effective?”

The list-making is a chance to start making general statements about what’s working. For example, ask questions like: What are our strengths in the climate movement? What value do we add? Where are there gaps? What’s working best about how we’re working? What is something that we would like to do differently? In the spirit of appreciative inquiry, follow-up with challenging questions on areas of growth by focusing on your strength: When we’ve done that best, even if it wasn’t perfect, what did it look like?

Step 4. Application for our future work

Have people write down a personal note from the lessons on the list or the discussion that they want to integrate into future work.


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