To Get Your Personal or Professional Changes Back on Track, Focus More on “The Why” Than “The What
The article begins:
“What do you hope to change in 2019? If your New Year's resolutions have already gotten off track, don't feel bad. Various studies estimate that 80 to 90 percent of resolutions fail. We can get our resolutions back on track — we can build motivation and increase our chances for success by continually reminding ourselves why change is important to us. The same is true with professional or organizational goals.”
I share how I've been working to apply “Motivational Interviewing” techniques as a way to self-coach myself when I feel “stuck” or in a state of “ambivalence.”
I'll be talking about this during my keynote talk at the Society for Health Systems conference.
Instead of labeling others as being “resistant to change,” it's perhaps more constructive to think about them being in a “state of ambivalence.” Being ambivalent about change is quite normal and to be expected in most cases, even when change is positive and self-initiated.
So, it's no wonder that organizational change is less likely to succeed when it's an idea that one person is forcing on others.
Instead of blaming or labeling people, the key is to “lean in” to the conversation and to try to help people move themselves forward by talking themselves into change (which is not the same as manipulating others to do what you want).
One core theme of my SHS talk is to shift from:
- Telling people what to do
- Telling people WHY they should change
- ASKING people to articulate why they should change
Have you found yourself “stuck” in change?
I think of a nurse manager I was working with over a year ago. She was having trouble doing some of her daily “leader standard work” activities. She was stuck.
She expressed change talk, like “I need to…” and “I should…” and even “I want to…”
But, her sustain talk included statements like “But it's hard to make time.”
Instead of TELLING her she should do this (an unhelpful act, since that something she already knew), I asked her questions about her motivations. I acknowledged and affirmed that leader standard work seemed important to her.
I asked a simple question of:
“What are your top three reasons for doing your formal gemba walks?”
This question triggered more change talk. She was building and reinforcing her own commitment to change. She was convincing herself to do this. I wasn't convincing her or manipulating her. I think I was helping.
After that discussion, I could see her smile… her body language changed… she seemed more confident. Moments like that, I think, show the power of “Motivational Interviewing.“