When we focus on problems we begin to build a world in which problems are central. They become the dominant realities that can burden us every day. To ask questions about our failings, is to create a world in which failing is the focal point. They generate conversations about what went wrong, why and who is to blame. To ask questions (only) about what’s not working, is to invite "fix-it" action. Deficit-based questions lead to deficit-based conversations, which in turn lead to deficit-based patterns of action.

We can turn this over and apply the same logic more positively. By asking ourselves more positive questions we can bring forth future action of far greater promise. Positive questions invite positive action.

Focusing on deficits is a powerful aspect of oppression. In working life we may not be able to find the strength to combat those things we think oppress us. But where are these obstacles? If the real obstacle to improving what we do, in particular workplaces, lies buried within us, we can fight all we want with others, but it is likely to be to no avail. We are putting our physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual effort into the wrong things. A ‘problem’ in our work, or working life, is not simply a problem "out there". It can also be something we carry internally.
So instead of simply believing that the root causes of "problems" and deficit-based actions is something about organizational cultures, it is possible the causes might be within us. One way of beginning to address this is to try to "externalize" those things we internalize. To express them to others. To write about them. To inquire into them. This involves trust. Trusting ourselves and others.