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traditional description fits this stage well
in that contemplation translates to being
aware of a need but not yet committed to
change. People start to look at the pros
and cons of their continued actions.
Preparation: At this stage, people are
intent on taking action but just don’t do it.
Action: People have made specific overt
modifications in modifying their behavior
or in acquiring new healthy behaviors.
Maintenance: People have been able
to sustain action for a while and are
working to prevent relapse.
Each of us is working through the stages
of change every day. Each time we are
presented with a new idea or thought,
we slip in and out each of the stages.
Some people will only spend a brief
time in some of the stages; others may
get stuck in a stage. Moving from stage
to stage is bi-directional. The critical
question is, can you recognize where a
person is in his or her change journey?
Take a moment and think about what
you have read thus far. Where are you?
What do you think of the ideas we have
presented thus far. Which stage best
describes your mindset?
With a desire to create sustainable
results, we determined that assisting
people move from precontemplation to
preparation was an appropriate pursuit.
This was after consideration of the
traditional conversation about getting
the right people on the bus, getting the
“concrete heads” off the bus and other
standard approaches. We found these
approaches to be short-sighted, since at
the bank, as in all organizations, some of
the precontemplative and contemplative
leaders and associates were in either
critical leadership or technical roles.
Sustainability looked more like figuring
out how to work with these leaders and
associates versus replacement.
The quest of the coaches for wisdom
on how to allow every associate to
transform led us in nontraditional
directions. We recognized that the
traditional coaching methods of
presenting logical (mind driven) reasons
for making change did not work most of
the time. For the part of the associate
population that is ready for change, the
common methods, including kata, work
well. If a person is ready to change,
most of the logic driven, systematic
approaches will suffice. The larger
portion of the associate population
is, however, not particularly ready to
change. For this large population,
the coaches found wisdom in the
clinical world, where transformation
takes on life-critical components.
While a complete understanding of
how people change was not part
of our discoveries, we did identify
methods that clinical practitioners have
effectively utilized to assist the process.
The discovery allowed the coaches
to develop methods to assist every
employee in becoming comfortable
with change. These added components
of change, getting people ready, can
add dramatically to the success of any
transformation. The coaches believe the
addition of the people-centric practice
of motivational interviewing enhances
existing efforts undertaken by change
agents. We’ll state outright that this
method, consistent with lean thinking
and principles, requires an investment
in people on the part of the coach. It
also will challenge coaching tools and
methods and will put coaches in the
Motivational interviewing first emerged
30 years ago. To date, more than 25,000
articles citing motivational interviewing
and 200 randomized trials have
appeared in print.
In spirit, motivational interviewing
overlaps with millennia-old wisdom
on compassion that crosses time and
cultures and on how people negotiate
with each other about change. Perhaps
this is why leaders who encounter
motivational interviewing sometimes
have a feeling of recognizing it, as if
it were something they had known all
along. In a way, it is. What we have
sought to do with it is to make it
specifiable, learnable, observable and
useful. At Toyota, leaders learn and
use the fundamentals of motivational
interviewing to meet associates where
they are, prepare them to be coached
and to assist them to navigate change.
Motivational interviewing involves
attention to natural language about
change, with implications for how to
have more effective conversations about
it, particularly in contexts in which one
person is acting as a helping professional
for another. Our experience is that many
such conversations occur in a rather
dysfunctional way, albeit with the best
of intentions. Motivational interviewing
Want to hear and/or learn more?
Attend the AME Annual Conference
in Cincinnati, Oct. 19-23, 2015.
Bank leaders will be presenting their
transformation experiences. Special
interest sessions and workshops
will give you the opportunity to learn
more and to practice the application
of motivational interviewing. Join us
in our continuing transformation/
learning journey. Unable to
attend the conference? Visit us at
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