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BLP TIG Week: Carla Forrest on Using Appreciative Approaches to Drive Workplace Performance

Greetings! I am Carla Forrest, a staff member and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico. My professional work involves configuration management of scientific and engineering knowledge and information. My passion, however, lies in using appreciative approaches to improve workplace performance.

Rad Resource

Recently I read “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White. The authors categorize the five appreciative languages as: (1) words of affirmation; (2) quality time; (3) acts of service; (4) tangible gifts; and (5) physical touch. In the workplace, we often overlook the impact that appreciative inquiry and language have on organizational and individual performance. Authentic appreciation, when expressed in the primary appreciative language of the individual, can be a strong motivator, trust builder, and empowering influence, often uplifting the individual and organization into high performance.

Hot Tip

Appreciation is not recognition or reward. The focus of appreciation is intrinsic. The focus of recognition and reward is extrinsic. Organizational reward and recognition programs focus on performance. Appreciation is personally meaningful, focusing on who a person is. The typical “one size fits all” reward and recognition program is usually managerially directed and impersonal, often lending skepticism as to the genuineness of the leader’s intentions. The ultimate downside to the reward/recognition approach is the cost involved. Motivating through authentic appreciation has no financial cost, but is truly priceless!

In what ways can leaders apply appreciative approaches to transform relationships, attitudes, and performance in the workplace?


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Business, Leadership and Performance (BLP) TIG Week with our colleagues in the BLP AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our BLP TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


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