Podcast #374 — Mark Valenti and Brittany Wilson, Motivational Interviewing and the Great Mask Debate

Brittany Wilson and Mark D. Valenti

Joining me today for Episode #374 of the podcast are two colleagues, Brittany Wilson and Mark Valenti.

The topic, as Mark and I discussed in Episode #306, is “Motivational Interviewing.” We will all be exploring this topic in the context of talking to people about wearing masks during the pandemic. But, there are many applications to workplace situations, as well.

Mark and Brittany do a series of very engaging webinars, which you can find on their YouTube channel.

I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Streaming Player:

For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/374.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS, through Android appsor via Apple Podcasts.  You can also subscribe and listen via Stitcher or Spotify.


About Mark Valenti

Mark Valenti enjoys disrupting the status quo. His nontraditional career path includes work with the National Board of Medical Examiners' China Health Coach Program and with Australia's Flinders University and their innovative approach to patient chronic condition self-management. His approach is a mash-up of health systems management, behavioral design, continuous quality improvement, and patient activation.

Mark teaches a unique curriculum that includes provocative topics such as Apologize (or Don't), Accepting Ambiguity, and Perfection Paralysis. His life mission is to help others uncover their intrinsic motivation to reach their goals.

About Brittany Wilson, BSN

Brittany Wilson, BSN has experience in critical care medicine, interventional telemetry, home care, and care management. She has experience partnering with primary care offices to simplify their processes.

She coaches providers in real time on the front line as they communicate with patients, providing mentorship and guidance through a Motivational Interviewing lens. She has experience with curriculum design and delivery around topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Health Literacy, and the Speed of Trust.

Topics, Links,and More Resources:

  • Overview of Motivational Interviewing
    • Goal: Helping people change
    • Drive: 3 levels of motivation
    • 4 Steps
    • 3 Elements of behavior change
      • Knowledge
      • Importance
      • Confidence
    • 4 strategies
      • Expressing empathy
      • Promoting partnership
      • Softening sustain talk
      • Cultivating change talk
  • How is your approach different? (Brittany Wilson)
    • We embrace imperfection (wabi-sabi)
      1. Japanese – imperfect beauty, everything has beauty
    • People waver in their own confidence, and that is expected
    • We embrace the term wabi-sabi
    • The Japanese art of imperfect beauty. 
    • Accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay in which everything has beauty.
    •  And that beauty is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.
  • How does all of this connect to what's going on right now?
    • Emotional drive is particularly relevant in current COVID/shutdown ambiguous/stressful environment
    • Example statements meant to evoke reactions from the listeners (purposefully emotion-inducing)
      • Patient: “I think the mask wearing is just for at risk old people in nursing homes”
      • Politician: “Masks need to be worn to flatten the curve and save lives.  It doesn't matter how long we have to stay closed.”
      • Family member: “I can't believe people who won't wear masks over the inconvenience, they must not care about people's lives.”
      • Coworker: “I can't believe I have to wear this mask outside all day, these tan lines!”
      • Doctor: “Masks are most effective for preventing spread for people who have symptoms or are COVID positive. Don't people read the CDC website?”
    • Pause and ask the learners: How are you feeling now?  What emotions do you have?
  • Brief Case Study: Using MI to evoke change talk regarding mask wearing
    • Role play of effective interaction with some ineffective elements (2 minute)
      • Example: Too much directing (“You should really go to the CDC site.”)
      • Example: Too little guiding and focus on sustain talk (“You really don't want to wear a mask.”)

Past Episodes That We Reference:


Videos by Mark and Brittany:

Visit their YouTube channel

Thanks for listening!

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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