Tools for the successful cooperation in a complex working world

Appreciative team development is a positive approach to organisational development that recommends a values-based approach in companies, organisations and other areas of society.

The authors

Dr. Reinhold Pabst works at the Fraunhofer Institute IOF in Jena. He is an experienced coach and researcher in organisational development, open innovation and design thinking.

Mareike Schütt is human resources and organisational developer. She works on the staff of the scientific directorate at the Fraunhofer Institute IOF in Jena.

Isabelle Tyrasa is a staff development officer at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Planning of the State of Brandenburg.

Some aspects and thoughts

The approach takes a helpful approach to cohesion, (self-)reflection and empathy in the world of work. The representatives of the approach assume that there is constant change within and outside of one’s work and organisational structures.

The authors of the book describe the basics of successful cooperation in teams and the team development processes that are conducive to this. The focus is on using existing human potential, i.e., skills and qualities with which team members can advance and shape the team and teamwork. The starting point should always be a shared (future) vision and common values.

Shared values should be named, promoted and also exemplified. Existing relationships should be made conscious and further developed. This and the possibility for each team member to participate strengthen team cohesion, knowledge management and the learning culture.

The authors suggest leaving linear paths of thought and reflecting on existing routines. Address problems, develop solutions or changes and repeatedly question your steps’ meaningfulness.

It is important to them that the participants repeatedly change their perspectives and thus sharpen their perceptions.

The concepts and tools offered are based on the assumption that every team has its reality and components, whose existence should be valued and can be used very well for joint work.

The appreciation should also include what has worked well and can be used further. Existing resources and relationships should be consciously pointed out, valued and encouraged.

Details on the content

The book presents concepts on which appreciative team development is based. Theories underpin these. Trends and developments that will influence team development in the future are highlighted, e.g. Appreciative Inquiry, diversity in teams, diversity of team resources, resilience, mindfulness, knowledge work, team structures, agile teams, team empathy, team creativity, knowledge management, digital collaboration and Dream Team.

Graphics and interviews from practice deepen the descriptions. Reflection questions support understanding and provide further suggestions.

The tools described afterwards show how appreciative team development can be promoted in organisations and what has proven successful in practice.

The tools are assigned to the different sub-areas:

  • Appreciative communication – “From challenge to a goal”, e.g. Helping Hands and the Team Resilience Balance Model.
  • Discovering common strengths and resources – “What works and where are our strengths”, e.g. Team Garden, Team Chameleon
  • They are developing shared visions and goals – “Orientation for the future”, e.g. describing team narrative, discovering team kompetencies
  • Shaping creative cooperation – “Designing how it could be”, e.g. appreciative team packs, team charter
  • Cultivating a culture of debate (culture of trust, participatory decision-making) – “Implementing the designs”, e.g. team life cycle, team building and gamification.

They are described (motivation, methodology, process) and illustrated with graphics. Further suggestions for use are given in the reflection. It also shows how the tools can be adapted to different contexts.

The tools emphasise working out solutions, activating existing resources and, at the same time, appreciating what is already working well.

 They also invite people to look at challenges from a different perspective/viewpoint, which can lead to new solutions.

 The tools arouse curiosity and encourage people to try them out. They sound promising, creative and stimulating.

 Dipl.-Kffr. Adele Heinz read and reviewed this book for you.

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