Positive Governing: Building Upon Your Best, By: Barbara Lewis
BEST PRACTICE IN P2 – Positive Governing: Building Upon Your Best
By Barbara Lewis
The following is an excerpt from the Colorado Municipalities
IMAGINE YOUR COMMUNITY 15 years from today. It is a vibrant, freestanding community where prosperity has continued, even blossomed. The community is everything you had hoped and wished for, and there is enough money in the municipal coffers to pay for it. What do you see?
In 2005, municipal staff members from Longmont invited community members from all walks of life to engage their imaginations around this question. Hosting a process that involved listening, appreciation, and discernment, they forged strategic directions that still guide the City today.
In the past decade, local governments in Colorado have pioneered a new way of governing – positive governing – in which municipal and community members’ partner to appreciate what works and build their future on today’s strengths. Using an approach called appreciative inquiry (AI), they have flipped problems into opportunities and complaints into shared responsibility. This process has enabled people of radically diverse – even conflicting – backgrounds to co-create new opportunities by focusing on, understanding, and leveraging what fuels success.