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Positive Organizational Development Cards

Positive Organizational Development Cards

BY Michelle McQuaid

Does your organization have a tendency to get bogged down in what’s wrong, rather than focusing on what’s strong? Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels trying to get people committed to making changes, they don’t really care about? Have you been longing for practical tools you can use with your team to get them interested, motivated and energized about the possibilities that exist within your business?

In an effort to help leaders get their teams curious and connected about their future, Sarah Lewis has created the Positive Organizational Development Cards. Covering key findings from the field of positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship, the cards feature questions to help your team explore how these insights may assist your organization. Designed to generate discussions in management meetings, strategy sessions, coaching, team development and performance reviews the twenty cards are color coded into four categories:

  • Presence Strengths – engagement, high quality connections, flow, positive energy networks, and mindfulness
  • Collective Strengths – positive emotions, feeling connected, psychological capital, resilience, social capital and collective intelligence.
  • Cultural Strengths – virtuous practices, positive deviance, flourishing, creating abundance and authentic leadership.
  • Appreciative Strengths – affirmation, Appreciative Inquiry, strengths, and generativity.

So how might you use these cards? These cards are great conversation starters to introduce new ideas, tap into creativity, help your team explore how they are doing at the moment, and discover exciting new possibilities to achieve excellence in your organization. For example, you could select the card creating abundance and use the questions provided to spark opportunities for innovation:

  • Share your most exciting experience about performing beyond expectations, what happened?
  • How do you know when really great things, exceptional performance happen in your organization?
  • How could creating abundance become the new normal?

Or if you’re about to embark on a new project choose the high quality connections card to explore ways to improve communication and bring about more trust, hope and optimism within your team. The strengths card could help your staff discover and develop their strengths, identify tasks where they can use their strengths, and look for ways to build an economy of strengths.

How To Get The Tool?

The Positive Organizational Development Cards can be purchased from: You can also download a free User Guide e-book with ideas to help get you started.*

What Have Researchers Found?

Positive organizations are places where employees are able to use their connections with others, their strengths, positive emotions, sense of purpose, knowledge and goodness to increase their motivation and engagement, and achieve excellence and success in their work. They are characterized by positive leadership and energy that gives you a sense of vitality, zest, creativity, persistence and unlocks your resources and capacity.

Building presence strengths may help your organization to improve:

  • Employee Engagement has been found to be positively related to wellbeing and attendance, employee retention, effort and performance, quality, sales performance, income and turnover, profit, customer satisfaction, shareholder return, business growth and success.
  • High Quality Connections that leave people feeling more energized and enriched have been found to increase positive emotions, resilience, motivation, trust, creativity, performance and attention in organizations.
  • Positive Energy Networks where people feel stimulated, supported and enthused have been found to be highly motivating, and enhance individual commitment, performance and resilience.
  • Flow is the psychological state experienced when challenge and skill are sufficiently matched in area of interest to unleash peak performance. Researchers suggest that during ‘flow’ people experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and engagement.
  • Mindfulness has been found to improve our concentration, wellbeing and ability to cope with stress by bringing open, curious and non-judgmental attention to our experiences of the present moment.

 Building collective strengths may help your organization to improve:

  • Social Capital by releasing the hidden potential of relationships can enable trust, information flow, speed of adaptation and organizational resilience.
  • Collective Intelligence harnesses the resources from people within and outside an organization to gather knowledge, ideas and insights and has been found to make teams smarter and groups more effective.
  • Psychological Capital reflected in people’s state of hope, optimism, self-efficacy and resilience has been found to improve their wellbeing, satisfaction, motivation and performance at work.
  • Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity allowing you to return to a functioning, productive state more quickly after trauma or adversity.

  Developing cultural strengths may help your organization to improve:

  • Virtuous practices such as forgiveness and humility, within and by organizations have been found to increase social capital, improve performance, amplify positive outcomes, and buffer against negative outcomes and setbacks.
  • Positive Deviance by seeking out bold and exceptionally honorable initiatives, the job satisfaction of your employees and long-term effectiveness of your organization can be increased.
  • Flourishing organizations and individuals have been found to be more successful because they experience more opportunities for positive emotions, strengths, engagement, high quality relationships, meaning and excellence.
  • An abundance culture of exceptional performance, generosity, reciprocity, forgiveness and growth has been found to lead to higher levels of performance.
  • Authentic leaders who have openness, integrity, self-reflection and balanced judgement seem to be able to foster higher levels of engagement, commitment, performance and wellbeing in their organizations.

Developing appreciative strengths may help your organization to improve:

  • Affirmation through valuing employees and what they bring to an organization has been found to generate energy, vitality, wellbeing and enhance the performance of individuals, teams and the organization as a whole.
  • Appreciative Inquiry can assist organizations harness and grow more of what they do best to create positive change, energize, empower and engage employees.
  • Developing the strengths of your employees has been found to help them feel happier, more engaged and energized, more motivated and increase excellence and productivity at work.
  • Generativity through connecting people together within and outside an organization can help to magnify strengths, resources and ideas which research suggests elevates people’s hope, energy and confidence for change.

The process embedded in the Positive Organization Development Cards reflects an Appreciative Inquiry approach to organizational development.  At the heart of Appreciative Inquiry lies the “art of the question” – the ability to craft unconditionally positive questions to discover the true, the good and the possible, and ways you can build on these. It is grounded in the premise that people move in the direction of what they consistently ask questions about, and asking affirmative questions unleashes positive energy for transformational and sustainable success.

What exciting new possibilities could you create to achieve excellence in your organization?


*Please note we receive no commission on this tool, and are sharing it as we believe it is a valuable tool to help you create positive and flourishing workplaces.

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