Shifting the Tone and Direction Of Conversations With Others and With Ourselves

Jun 16, 2023

Monday Kickstarters are virtual sessions that serve as an opportunity for all of us to practice generative questions and positive framing on issues and concerns we’re currently experiencing. Sometimes, those issues involve conversations with others, and sometimes, those issues involve our internal dialogue. Both types of conversations can pave a pathway to possibility and innovation, even in the face of unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances.

This week we utilized two Conversations Worth Having practices —generative questions and positive framing– to address challenging problems with creativity and energy.

Positive Frame #1

Name it:  Lack of affordable housing after I’ve already moved out of my former residence.

Flip it: I have a confident sense of what to do next.

Frame it: Outside of the box concepts are known.

 Other suggested frames:

  • I’ve narrowed geography while searching for homes.
  • I know the timelines.
  • I feel the benefits of having moved before having a place to buy.

Generative Questions

Once the frame was in place, the group created generative questions that would create a conversation in which everyone would want to participate. 

  • What aspects of a home are most important to me?
  • Think of a time when I experienced a successful search for a home. What made it successful?
  • Who has done what I want to do recently who I can learn from?
  • Are there new programs or products being offered in the real estate market?
  • What are the parameters of affordability?
  • Which communities am I most drawn to?
  • What aspects or make up a community are most important to me?
  • How can being open-minded to different housing situations open up new possibilities?
  • What type of person would be a good roommate?

Positive Frame #2

Name it:  Staff Issue! A team member has applied for promotions and not been chosen for performance issues.

Flip it: The team member has greater self-awareness about her potential for flourishing!

Frame it: This team member’s strengths would shine through.

Generative Questions 

To work toward that frame, the group offered generative questions the Manager might ask the team member:

  • When is the last time you learned something new that was wildly successful? What made it happen?
  • What motivates you about your current position when you are performing at your best?
  • Tell me about a time you learned something from someone else and how you applied that.
  • What gives you deep satisfaction about your work?
  • If the role in the promotion might be a better fit for your strengths, how might we determine that?
  • What are you most proud of in your career from the last year or two?
  • When things get tough, what strengths have you used in the past to overcome obstacles?
  • Would you be open to a DISC assessment or other tool to identify your unique strengths?
  • Tell us about a recent group achievement and your role in making it happen.

Cool Tip!

In the Conversations Worth Having Community, we remember the words of Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist whose work involved a search for life’s meaning as the central human motivational force. He once remarked, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” How true. We have one-quarter (0.25) of a second to choose our mindset when faced with a challenge and that mindset will influence what happens next. Learning to Tune In and being able to flip our challenges into a positive frame is a great way to beat the clock so we can start working toward what we desire.

Monday Kickstarters

This topic came from our Summer 2023 Monday Kickstarters series, working sessions to figure out how to have a conversation worth having when faced with a tough situation, challenge, or problem on leadership or performance. Do you have a tough situation you’d like reframing? Join us on June 19th and 26th for Monday Kickstarters. Register at The Center for Appreciative Inquiry.

Shared by: Kelly Stewart, a certified Conversations Worth Having and Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator, a Strategic Conversation Facilitator, and Consultant



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