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How to Rehab Colleagues With Status Quo “Addiction”

by Ron Oslin
November 7, 2018

How to Rehab Colleagues With Status Quo “Addiction”

by Ron Oslin
November 7, 2018 | Comments (3)

Every lean transformation has managers and associates who just won’t get on board. Others appear to be complying with new ways of working and behaving only to ultimately backslide to the old ways.

The reason for such regression is that most people can’t change. They are “addicted” to the status quo, a non-chemical compulsion similar to addictions to running, watching TV, playing video games, or using smartphones excessively, says Ron Oslin, a lean coach, leadership therapist, and a senior coach at OneSystemOneVoice.com

“We're learning that the brain actually is pre-dispositioned to addiction,” Oslin says. “It likes patterns and when it finds one it likes, it sticks to it. And it's really hard to overcome. So, one of the things that we're learning is how to bring some of the techniques that are in the medical field into the business world that can help a person become less addicted to the status quo.”

For example, when a healthcare organization hit resistance among nurses to changes necessitated by a lean transformation, medical professionals who helped addicts break deep-rooted habits, began counseling the nurses.

“Magic started to happen,” Oslin says.

Part of the magic was a key technique called motivational interviewing that the therapists and counselors used to arrange conversations so nurses convinced themselves to change, based on their own values and interests. 

Listen to Oslin now as he explains how this valuable technique, which works with the coaching questions used by continuous improvement practitioners, can make you a more effective coach and leader.

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3 Comments | Post a Comment
Mark Graban November 07, 2018

This is great stuff and I love Ron's work in this area. I've taken Ron's full-day workshop on Motivational Interviewing. I've read the books "Motivational Interviewing" and "Motivational Interviewing for Leadership," which I recommend strongly.

The one thing that cannot be emphasized enough to leaders and change agents... the MI methodology is NOT intended to be used to make people go along with your change.

As the summary says:

"convinced themselves to change, based on their own values and interests."

The Motivational Interviewing for Leadership book emphasizes it's unethical to use these methods when it's pushing something that's not in the interests of the person you're helping. Ron understands this of course... and I want to make sure that's clear to others.

That said, we can find enough win/win situations in the workplace where employee interests are aligned with the organization. 

Also, I recommend Ron's LEI webinar on this topic. I've linked to it, along with two podcasts I've recorded with other experts in this methodology: 

https://www.markgraban.com/motivational-interviewing/ ;

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Mark Graban November 07, 2018

And as Ron says in the video, it's more about "helping someone change" rather than "making them change."

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Bob Emiliani November 07, 2018
1 Person AGREES with this reply

RE: "The one thing that cannot be emphasized enough to leaders and change agents... the MI methodology is NOT intended to be used to make people go along with your change... it's unethical..."

Yes, unethical, perhaps, but if doing so helps maintain the status quo, then one should fully expect MI to be used for that purpose -- thus degrading MI, as commonly happens to most "tools."

Leaders view themselves as having a duty to neutralize real and perceived threats to Natural Rights. In this regard, status quo is not an addiction for them. It is a reasoned and desirable condition. Ignoring this reality obviously imperils Lean.

Unfortunately, people commonly fail to see the conscious, determined, long-term, and varied efforts that are purposely applied by those in power to maintain the status quo. Because status quo has great value to leaders, other (stronger) countermeasures must be developed for Lean to gain wider acceptance among leaders.

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