Episode: 535 |
Michelle Drapkin:
Research-based Approaches to Driving Change:


Michelle Drapkin

Research-based Approaches to Driving Change

Show Notes

In this episode of Unleashed, Dr. Michelle Drapkin,  author of The Motivational Interviewing Path to Personal Change: The Essential Workbook for Creating the Life You Want, discusses her book and her work as a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist and behavioral scientist, focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Michelle is known for her work at Johnson and Johnson and the Veterans Administration, and she shares science-based techniques on how to change behaviors beyond intuition or folk knowledge. 

CBT and Motivation 

Michelle explains cognitive behavioral therapy and her motivational interview technique. Her area of focus within psychology is the common sense approach of using intrinsic motivation to drive behavior change that aligns with an individual’s values and goals. She also emphasizes the importance of aligning these values and goals with the context of the organization. Michelle addresses myths about what motivates people and how to overcome them. One myth is that simply telling people what to do is enough, but it’s not always the case and doesn’t always endure.  She also discusses the importance of fostering a supportive environment and setting clear expectations. She believes that a supportive environment can help individuals feel more comfortable and confident in their decisions, leading to more effective behavior change. 

Discussing the McKinsey Change Model

Will and Michelle discuss the McKinsey change model, which consists of four parts: understanding and skills, commitment, leadership modeling, and accountability. They agree the McKinsey model is mostly right, but Michelle also mentions the missing motivation component. She talks about the Combi model, which combines capability, opportunity, and motivation to achieve behavior change. However, the accountability mechanism and measurement are missing in the McKinsey model. She offers an example to prove the point. She suggests that the McKinsey model might not be the best fit for organizations, as it may not be suitable for adopting new habits or habits that require a different approach. She suggests using motivational interviewing, which is a more compassionate and empathic approach that helps people connect with their internal intrinsic motivation to change. 

Michelle explains what motivational interviewing is and how it was developed 40 years ago as an alternative to confrontational approaches in the addictions field. It is a gentle, compassionate approach that meets someone where they are at and helps them connect with their internal intrinsic motivation to change. By using motivational interviewing, organizations can help individuals change behaviors for themselves or at least for their own benefit. 

Michelle talks about the importance of self-compassion, the best-self,  and various exercises and strategies for enhancing team alignment and organizational effectiveness. She suggests exercises on how to connect with the best-self and emphasizes the importance of motivational interviewing in behavior change, as it encourages people to talk about their reasons for change and commitment to change. This has been scientifically proven to result in the change.

How to Prioritize Values 

She discusses the importance of prioritizing values, which can be challenging to identify. She suggests that individuals should first identify their values and then narrow them down to about 10, and then prioritize one value. This offers a map to their North star(s). These are the building block to purpose, and 

helps in making decisions about how to manage competing values and navigate conflicts. 

She talks about the importance of recognizing and valuing different aspects of an individual’s life, such as their time and family, and how they can prioritize these aspects. They emphasize the importance of understanding and valuing different aspects of oneself to better understand and manage competing values. By focusing on positive experiences and addressing barriers, individuals can become more likely to make changes and improve their overall well-being.

Michelle talks about chapter two in her book which focuses on finding their why which leads to the what. She helps them identify and prioritize what they want to focus on driving towards before identifying what needs to change. She moves on to explain how she motivates change and introduces the process to consolidate motivation to make change and then commit to the action. She stresses that this approach is not telling people why they should, convincing, persuading or cheerleading.

What Is Motivational Interviewing 

The concept of motivational interviewing (MI) and its four components: focusing on motivation, consolidating motivation, consolidating commitment, and empowering employees. MI is different from other approaches as it is not persuasive but rather evokes motivation from inside the individual. It is important to consider the individual’s needs and desires when making changes, as well as their ability and skills to achieve the change. MI can be applied to various settings, such as clinical settings or organizations where an individual is nested within an organization. 

The spirit of MI, which includes compassion, acceptance of autonomy, partnership, and empowerment, is crucial to understand. MI emphasizes the importance of recognizing that everyone is their own person with their own background. This is especially important in an organization where diversity and inclusion are becoming more important. By helping employees change in a way that aligns with their values and goals, leaders can help them improve, or find a new role, or exit the organization gracefully. MI can be complicated, but it can be done by being collaborative, and transparent in discussing the changes with team members. By focusing on specific areas of struggle and addressing any wiggle room, leaders can help employees find a solution that aligns with their values and goals. 

Michelle talks about why transformation efforts often fail within organizations. She mentions the assumption that change will just happen is not enough to enact change, and that communication with the team may be lacking or lack in engagement and empowerment. She also mentions common mistakes that leaders make when addressing the team. 



00:05 What is cognitive behavioral therapy? 

06:40 Mckinsey’s four part model

09:31 Accountability mechanisms and motivation

14:07 How to determine your best self

19:09 Categorize your values into categories

21:50 Knowing your values and prioritizing

26:02 How to get started on making a change

31:23 Common characteristics of why transformation efforts fail

35:30 The importance of reflecting on your change



Book – https://a.co/d/4UbNT5h

Website – http://drdrapkin.com/



LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelledrapkin/


One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:


Michelle Drapkin


Michelle Drapkin, Will Bachman


Will Bachman  00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host will Bachman. If you go to umbrex.com/unleashed You can read the full transcript of this episode, see the show notes and sign up for a email I’ll send you whenever I publish every new episode. So you can read the quick show notes and decide which ones you want to listen to now, I am so excited today to be talking with Dr. Michelle Drapkin. She is the author of the motivational interviewing path to personal change the essential workbook for creating the life you want. And she is a like I said PhD. She has worked at Johnson and Johnson, she’s worked at the Veterans Administration, she is going to share with us some science based techniques on what actually takes to change behaviors going beyond our intuition or folk knowledge. Michelle, welcome to the show.


Michelle Drapkin  00:54

Thanks so much for having me, I’m really excited to


Will Bachman  00:57

so you have such a cool range of activities. Maybe before we dive into the book, and also to, you know, cognitive behavioral therapy, and all that give people just a snapshot, an overview of the range of things you’re doing, you’re doing a lot, you’re doing some political work, you’re doing some keynotes and some speeches and training, give us a quick overview of what you have going on right now.


Michelle Drapkin  01:20

Yes, I like to keep busy. And I like to keep busy doing different things. And so I’m a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist, which means I’m I’m licensed to practice in a few different states and across the country. And I also own and run a practice that is based in New Jersey. So we see patients here and in New York. And then I’m a behavioral scientist. So I consult with organizations, both on health tech, so making sure when they’re building stuff that it has really science back tools inside. And then I get to travel and do some workshops and trainings, which I really love because I you know, and some sometimes just like right now we just do it all virtually. So I keep myself very busy. And I’m writing and spending some time on LinkedIn, which is how we met, which is kind of cool. And so I’m all over the place. But that’s how I keep myself engaged and alive.


Will Bachman  02:11

And for lay listeners, most of us are independent management consultants. Tell us a bit just center us on your area of within psychology. You know, I think it’s cognitive behavioral therapy for people who don’t know exactly what that means help us understand what is cognitive behavioral therapy? And what’s your area of focus within psychology.


Michelle Drapkin  02:34

Sure, well, and so when your listeners are thinking about this, I think about not just therapy, but really, it’s just how do we relate to humans. And so Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, I like to think of it as this big umbrella under which are a variety of different evidence based tools and practices that can help us manage ourselves or even work with our teams. And so some of that is something like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, where we work on really mindfulness and awareness and values, which we talk a lot about in organizations, right? And then the book really centers on something called motivational interviewing, and motivational interviewing, or am I as I might refer to it is, is really just this common sense approach of really, how do we how do we have a conversation with someone or even engaged with ourselves using what we have inside? And really leveraging something we call intrinsic motivation? Right? So rather than pushing or incentivizing from outside, how do we help people connect with what’s really important with them inside to drive the behavior change that’s consistent with their values and goals? And for for your listeners context of values and goals of the organization? Right? How do we align those things in a way that works for everybody? And so that’s really just a style of communication. That’s really important that, you know, I so here’s, here’s like, the cool thing, I think, probably everyone who’s listening to this has little pops of everything that I talked about in the book, but the idea is how do you center and do more of that stuff and let go of some of the some of the things that doesn’t work like confrontational scaring people yelling at people, believe it or not, that doesn’t work to actually help motivate people.


Will Bachman  04:18

So on that topic, before we get into what does work, I would love to hear some of what some myths are some of the things that people believe that are not true. Now, there’s some things that our intuition might tell us that science might say is is actually not the case. And there’s some things that psychologists may believe, two or even five years ago, with the whole replication crisis that now have not replicated what are some things out there that people believe to be true, but are some people believe to be true, but they’re actually myths and science has said not so.


Michelle Drapkin  04:59

Good. So I think there’s one of these myths that if you just make it clear, and you just tell people what to do that they’ll do it, right. And so it’s kind of the Nike just do it. Which Nike, please don’t come after me. But like, sometimes you just can’t just do it, right. And I think that’s one of the biggest myths of like, you just can’t make it happen by telling someone to just do it. And so if you’re a leader, and you’re sitting with someone, and you want want to really, they’re not doing whatever they’re supposed to be doing, you can’t just tell them to just do it. And here’s actually the other. So there’s kind of like a sub myth of that. Now, they may go just do it. But the odds of that being a sustainable behavior change that’s actually going to endure are slim. And so the so the corollary to that, and like, remember this show intervention, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that well, but like, you know, it’s where you get people in a room and you make an intervention with like their family. And there’s always like some, someone leading the intervention, who’s and it, oh, my gosh, that scene is great TV, right? Because there’s so much drama, and there’s like, we love you so much, we’re so worried about you. And then at the end of the episode, someone like goes off to rehab or some kind of inpatient treatment or, you know, finally cleans our hoarding house or something. But the reality is that unless motivation comes from inside, that doesn’t generally endure, it’s very rare that that actually turns into sustainable behavior change. And so it’s very easy, right, it’s easier to just tell someone to just do it. But it doesn’t actually work in the end. And so something like where you sit with them, and you’re really connecting with them is a more sustainable approach.


Will Bachman  06:40

So I’m going to be curious, as we go through this, to compare what you’ll be telling us with what I was taught 20 years ago at McKinsey, the McKinsey changed model, which is four part model, which is number one, if you want people to change their behavior, they need to first have understanding and commitment. So they need to understand the new behavior, and be committed to it. That’s number one. But that’s not all there is number two, which is they have to have the skills to do it. So you can’t just if someone understands it, but they don’t have the skills, and they’re not going to work. So you have to make sure people have the skills to do it. Number three, they have to see their leaders modeling that move new behavior. So if the leaders aren’t doing it, then you know, the subordinates won’t. And number four, there has to be some kind of accountability, tracking measurement, some sort of system to actually follow up and make sure people are doing it. So those four things, According to McKinsey, McKinsey change model are what it takes to change behavior. Any reaction to that is incomplete. Or would you largely agree with that? Did McKinsey get it mostly right?


Michelle Drapkin  07:49

McKinsey don’t come after me. But I think I think motivation is missing there. Right? So I talked about this a little bit in the book, because one of the one of the behaviors. So let me select, let me tell you about the Kombi model, which is another model that I go over in the book, right of really thinking about your capability, which I think would match up with skills, right? And opportunity would match up with understanding and commitment. So I’m sorry, let me back up. Combi is capability plus opportunity plus motivation equals behavior change, right. And so you can see where capability and opportunity show up in your McKinsey model. And I agree with the accountability piece, and I agree with the modeling. But here’s the thing, if you’re sitting and I gotta imagine, well, you’ve seen people like this who have the understanding commitment, they have the skills, maybe even there’s people modeling it around them, and there’s some accountability and they still aren’t doing it. Right. And actually, let me give you the best example that everyone resonates with, which is flossing. Right? So think about your McKinsey model with flossing. And if dentists and hygienists use that four part model to get someone to change, do you think they’re still getting people to floss on a regular basis,


Will Bachman  09:05

the part that would be missing with flossing would be the accountability and the measurement. So if someone was had a spycam in my bathroom and was tracking my flossing, and I could see a scorecard of here’s how many days will flossed and it was like, you know, 10 out of 2030 or something. Or if I was getting like periodic little Congratulations, you’ve done it in 17 days in a row. That would definitely make me more likely. So definitely the accountability mechanism and measurement piece for me is one that’s missing with flossing.


Michelle Drapkin  09:40

Well, and that might work for you to motivate you right? So that’s that’s where it kind of goes into the piece of motivation is different for everyone. And you know, and there might be I mean, listen, and maybe there are accountability mechanisms and it just doesn’t, it just doesn’t work right. Like I got the new toothbrush for Christmas. That’s like the smart toothbrush. I don’t know if he’s like seeing that. That’s right. But remembering I work in health tech, right, so I’m kind of a, I’m a very critical behavior scientist. And so whenever I get any new app or any new device, I’m always like, it’s missing behavior science. And I really want to write Phillips and say you need need help you fix this, because there just isn’t a lot of behavioral science built into the app. And but guess what? Well, I’ve got to use the app. For starters, right? And that’s actually like one of our biggest challenges is getting people to change is they’ve got to use the intervention or tools that we’ve let we’ve built, which is why I really love that McKinsey includes leaders modeling, right? Because I think modeling the huge piece of it. But the reality is, people know how to fly like you. And I know how to floss. If I could teach you to floss, you could teach me to floss, we could compare notes. But most people aren’t flossing as regularly as they’re supposed to. And so there’s missing this motivational component. And so you think about and I don’t know how that would fit? And maybe you could tell me in the McKinsey model of, you know, how do you really help people connect with what’s important to them, and then align it to what’s important to the organization? And then really owning if there’s a, if there’s a huge misalignment, then maybe it’s not the right fit for the organization. Does that make sense?


Will Bachman  11:12

It does, yeah. The, I’d say, it’s not like that type of activity is maybe not the best for the McKinsey change model. I think it’s more something that I would get into with like, you know, adopting it’s more of a about adopting a new habit almost more like atomic habits with James clear type things where it might might didn’t need a different approach to to do something that’s more needs to be more of an automatic behavior. But let’s let’s take this and turn to motivational interviewing. Let’s get into the book a little bit. Tell me about what is motivational interviewing? When would you use it and tell me what it looks like.


Michelle Drapkin  11:52

So I, you know, I sort of always say, you can use it anytime. I think it’s really just having an effective conversation or a way of just being compassionate and empathic, as opposed to just making things sound super easy and straightforward. Now, it was built like 40 years ago as an alternative to more confrontational approaches, particularly in the addictions field, right. So if you go back, and you are even, I mean, listen, it still happens today of people just yelling, scaring someone straight, right? Like that kind of yelling at someone, and you need to do this, and you need to do it my way. Or the highway, right? You know, where you’re gonna fail. This is a much more gentle, compassionate approach that meets someone where they’re at, and helps really them connect with their internal intrinsic motivation to change as opposed to just moving, motivating them from the outside. And so that’s an I just in the book, what I did is I took that, and I was like, Well, if we do this with, with patients and leaders do this in organizations, how do we help someone do this for themselves, or just at least have skills and tools to be able to do that more effectively in those roles. And so this is a workbook that has a bunch of tools and exercises and activities to be able to do that.


Will Bachman  13:06

And one of the first ones is a self compassion, break, where you ask yourself, what do I need to hear right now to be gentler and kinder to myself?


Michelle Drapkin  13:18

Yeah, well, wasn’t behavior change is hard. And I’m sure even in the McKinsey model, right, there’s, there’s bumps along the road and what happens, you know, we’re human, and so we get frustrated. And so sometimes people with the bumps in the road they give up, right, and that’s one of the things we try and avoid and having some self compassion, which listen for high achieving leaders. And many of us who are like perfectionist, like it sounds a little squishy to like, take a moment and you know, really sit back and be like, it’s okay, it makes sense that this was hard. You had a hard day, like that just feels a little squishy. And yet, it’s really sometimes what we need to be able to just lean into the moment and there’s actually really great data that when you take a self compassionate approach, or you’re more effective, and we’re able to sustain what you’re working on.


Will Bachman  14:07

And then you have an exercise about best self worth, oh yeah. Where it’s you determine when were your your best self and then describe that in a lot of detail. Tell us about that exercise.


Michelle Drapkin  14:21

I love this exercise. And it’s you know, it’s one I’ve learned over the years and a lot of times so so think about it even for yourself like when are you most engaged and excited and your energy is just really high and you’re just this is it like I’m doing my thing, right? Like sometimes I feel that way when I’m you know, on stage giving, giving a presentation and just like this is you know, I love this like I love what I get to do, and sometimes I feel that way when you know I’m surrounded by family and friends and and that’s it, you got it. So you lean into that you find and actually lead a lead readers and the book through this But I’ll need patience and session and is just like even just closing your eyes. And he will do that. So you can really connect with that. And then you, and then you write out or you draw out, I give people lots of choices of how to really connect with their best self and how to capture it to really figure out what’s important to you. And the reality is people don’t often stop and actually ask themselves those questions, they kind of just like, go through life and have those moments, but they might also have lots of other not great moments. And maybe, maybe the balance isn’t there. And then people wind up anxious or depressed, or just like unhappy with your career.


Will Bachman  15:38

Yeah, I liked that exercise. And that one, I think a lot of us could use if you know, for a lot of corporate context. So often, sometimes you might get called into Oh, build, you know, better alignment for a top team or just fix some, you know, issue that’s going on organization. And we’re often focused on the negative like, Okay, what’s going wrong here on the production line? Or what, you know, how is the team not working effectively together? But a way to flip that would be to ask people to say, hey, reflect on a time of when were you most proud to be on this team? Or when was the time when this team was really effective? And that people reflect on the positive? And like, when was it really working great, and kind of get some more positive vibe going in the meeting? People could share those stories. And then you could say, Okay, what do we need to make sure that that happens more often?


Michelle Drapkin  16:26

Right, yeah. What variables contributed to that? What was going on? And how did that work? And what are the processes like doing a root cause analysis on when it was working, as opposed to when it’s broken? I love that actually, I love when patients come in. They’re like, Oh, I had a really great week. I’m like, awesome. What made it great, right, like what contributed to that greatness? Not just what were the highlights, but what did you do to dry that? Right? Like, what were and so that you’re reinforcing? The positive and the good. And actually, what we’re starting to hit on is something that comes later in the book, which is, really so the the currency in motivational interviewing and behavior change in general, right is the more so this is going to be an Oda. Right? The more people talk about change, so their reasons for change their abilities and that skill stuff, you’re talking about their commitment to change any of that, the more likely they are to actually make a change. Right, again, Noda, but we know this from science, like psycho linguistics, I’ve like really evaluated and looked at the more we’ll be called change talk, the more talk about making the change you get, the more likely someone is to change. And to your point about sort of, if you do root cause analysis of what’s broken, the more you get people talking about the reasons why they can’t change or their barriers, or their step points, the less likely they are to change. And so really, what motivational interviewing does is structures, the the interaction in their conversation, so that you’re drawing more of that change talk out, and you’re reinforcing it, so that people are more likely to make a change, as opposed to spending a lot of time on the barriers and the obstacles and all that stuff.


Will Bachman  18:02

And then you have a set of exercises around values and prioritizing your values, which is which is kind of tough. I mean, should I prioritize monogamy or family? Safety? I mean, those are all pretty important. But how do you talk about that exercise of going through to identify first, like, what are your values, and then how to prioritize your values. And by the way, there’s a link to this exercise, I’ll put it in the show notes, it’s publicly available, this list of values, it’s a helpful list. Talk to us about what you know what you seek to accomplish, and what sort of things happen when people actually prioritize on paper, what their values are?


Michelle Drapkin  18:45

Well, first of all, I love this exercise. And it’s a great team development exercise. So if you put people in a room and you give them each a deck of these values, cards, and you have them do their own little, even if they’re not sharing, there’s a shared experience, because what you’re experiencing is actually very common. So So you have this whole list of values, there’s about 80 of them. And we asked you to go through a few different steps. And the first one is to categorize them into like, very important, just important and not at all important. And even at that step people have some difficulties. Right. So you just mentioned monogamy, right? Like, I’m married, I’ve been married for you know, almost 13 years. What I what I put monogamy into not important is my husband are gonna run in and be like, what’s wrong with you? Right? But is it one of my top values? I don’t know. I mean, it’s not like I’m not monogamous, but it’s not something that drives me every day. Right? And so people have a hard time. And I actually I’ll start with, I’ll set with folks. I do this both in groups and individually, and I include it in the book because it’s such an important, I think such an important part for people to figure out who they are. But they’ll have these huge stacks of very important and then I turned to them and I say all right, now you gotta narrow that stack down to about 10 and they panic. Right, but here’s the reality. And it’s think about this for organizations too, because I know we’ve all done like, all these analyses, right? You’re like, well, what’s what’s the we’re a purpose driven organization. But what does that really mean? And what are our values, and you can’t have everything on the table to drive your decisions every day, because you would just get stuck, right? And so really getting them to narrow down to about 10. And then I have them prioritize. And that is where people just lose their mind sometimes, right? It’s like, what do you mean, I have to prioritize just like you said, it’s like, well, guess what? Life is all about prioritizing competing values, like, well, you and I make that decision every day, right? How did I decide that it was meaningful to accept your invitation to be on your podcast? Right? Like, my time is important, your time is important. And I had to make, you know, values based decisions. But for me a value of really, first of all, autonomy is my top value. So I get to choose whatever the heck I want to do. But it’s really important for me to be generative, and to contribute and to disseminate information. And so I make this a priority. And, you know, I mean, my daughter’s at school, but if there would have been competing values without I would have had to make decisions about how to manage and navigate that. But like, that’s, it’s a really tough exercise. And I do it with almost every patient, because it’s, it’s really like the it’s, it is the map to their North Star for North Stars. Someone wants to call me out, but there could be more than one star, one North Star, and I’m like, you know, not Yes, yes, there can be more than one. But you need to know, what are those building blocks to your meeting and purpose, to be able to drive decisions that you make every day, but also really big decisions about? What do you want to do in your career? What do you want to say, in an organization? What do you want to do with that organization? You know, where do I want to live? Like, there’s all of these really big decisions that are values based? And it’s rare, though, that people stop and actually evaluate, and draw out and map out what are their values so that they and I, so I usually have people just like you’ll see in the book, take a picture of their values. And I have them do that, because I think it’s really important to carry those with you and to reference them regularly, when you’re making decisions about is this values based? Or what can I do that values based? Yeah, as you’re


Will Bachman  22:27

talking about that is occurring to me, you know, some sort of a forced point allocation as well, you know, I might use if I’m doing that exercise, where, if you have like, 100 values, he’s like, Well, okay, you only have 100 points. So each one, they can be one point. So that might be all very important. But they’re one point. And that doesn’t feel like much, okay, if the narrowed down to 10. And then they can be 10 points, or one can be 50 points, but you only have so much like importance that you can distribute across these different cards. Let’s turn to chapter two of the book, knowing what you want to change. There’s several exercises in that chapter share with us some of those exercises have now that we figured out what our values are figuring out. Okay, what do we actually want to change?


Michelle Drapkin  23:11

Yeah, well, and I think so actually, what you’ll notice, right, which is really interesting is I I start with, and I think this is important for people to be thinking about, right? I don’t start with the what, I start with the values, right, like who are you? And let’s really like lean in and let’s find your why.


Will Bachman  23:27

Start with someone might Yeah, someone might even write a book with that title.


Michelle Drapkin  23:32

i Oh, yeah. Multiple books, I’m sure. But yeah, exactly. And I think that, that it’s so rare that people do that have, you know, it’s more of a and I think, listen, I’ll be honest, I think they’re clinicians like me, who are patients sit down and they’re like, or, you know, or leader? Well, what, what are we working on? Right, let’s drive towards that, as opposed to like, what’s the why? Right? And then from the why often becomes the what? And so one of my favorite exercises in there is really just kind of like building out your buckets or kind of your neighborhood of areas of change, but then really drilling down to well, what are what’s everything that you could change? And then how do we prioritize it? And so a lot of times, we’ll sit with patients to do like a bubble chart, kind of like a circle chart, you know, I love whiteboarding. And really, okay, well, you know, of all these targets, or bull’s eyes on the wall, which do we want to focus on first? Or, and sometimes you could have two foci. But like, if you had 10, it just gets you confused, and you don’t know where to focus your efforts. Right. And I think a lot of times as leaders, you know, I have this conversation with my team is like, well, what’s most important to you? What do we want to focus on first, as opposed to if you focus on everything, you know, you just get lost. And, you know, I use the metaphor of because this happens to me often actually, my daughter and I know they’ll say to her, we’ll get in the car to go to lunch. I’m like, like, Dude, we need to pick where we’re going. Because we’re gonna wind up driving around for 20 minutes hungry and then annoyed at each other and we’re not gonna have have gotten to our destination. So you need to pick so that your efforts are driving towards the goal that you’re most interested in. And I think that’s really the focusing part of the book, but in MI in general, but also when we’re thinking about, I use that tool when setting agendas, right, even with teams when you’re setting an agenda. Alright, let’s, let’s sort of brainstorm for a couple of seconds, what is most important here? What do we want to focus on? What do we want to get out of our time together?


Will Bachman  25:29

So you come up with the buckets, and within each one, come up with some changes, and then you help people prioritize those and understand what, focus on pick up pick a small number, like one or two?


Michelle Drapkin  25:44

Exactly, yeah, not not everything. And I’ve had patients who want to do everything, and you’re just like, well, you, that’s not going to work, right? And it just, it just doesn’t work because then you don’t know where to aim. Right? And then you’re just all over the place.


Will Bachman  25:59

Yeah, let’s, let’s get on to the next chapter. So Finding your Target go easy. So now that you’ve figured out what you want to change, you talk about starting with some, I think a small step, walk us through how you get started on making a change.


Michelle Drapkin  26:15

Well, we, you know, we consolidate motivation, right. So just like I was talking about, we draw out the change, talk, and really make sure you understand why this change is really important to you. And so there’s, you know, there’s some tools and exercises, we have a we have an acronym for this, I’m sure you’re very familiar with lots of acronyms. But you know, this is when is really the darn cat which is what you know, what’s your desire? What Why do you want to do this? And your ability is the A what? And so this think about the McKinsey right, your skills, like what skills do you have on board to be able to do this? What are your reasons or what need you have? And we talk and so we draw those out, and I use that to really consolidate the motivation to make the change. And then the cap piece is really just consolidating the commitment, like what, you know, what is your commitment to see what actions What steps are you going to take, and then T is taking the steps, right? And so we draw that out. And we have people really think about why this change is actually really important to them. And that’s really that evoking piece of motivational interviewing, we evoke from inside them. But notice, well, I’m not telling people why they should make the change, I’m really working hard to draw it out from them, as opposed to convincing them. So this is where you’ll notice Mi is very different from other approaches, it is not persuasive. So I am not persuading or trying to convince someone and I certainly am not cheerleading them. And so then as you go through, you’re just kind of consolidating by reflecting some of that capturing some of that if I have you like talk to yourself, and record yourself talking about making the change, so that you can really hear it from you know, from yourself, which is really powerful.


Will Bachman  27:56

No, that makes total sense. When you are in a clinical setting, working with a patient who’s come to you, because they presumably want to make a change in their life. Would you adapt that at all? Or if so how, for a leader of an organization that is trying to change the behavior of members, you know, who report to them to get them to do something differently? Right? You know, where there is kind of an organizational impetus to say, hey, we were I don’t know, whatever we’re trying to prioritize customer service. So we want to get much better customer service, let’s say in the past, we were just focused more on cost. So it was like a crummy customer service. How would you think about adapting that if at all, to that more corporate paradigm?


Michelle Drapkin  28:49

Well, so now I think it’s sort of an individual is nested within an organization, right, and maybe even individual nested within a team nested within an organization, right? So it gets more complicated. And so let’s back up actually, we didn’t talk about the what we call the spirit of motivational interviewing, which I kind of think is, it’s kind of like the engine that drives everything we’ve been talking about already. And so there’s there’s four pieces to the Spirit. There’s compassion, which is going to be important, actually, with the question you asked as well, I’ll come back to in a second, the acceptance of essentially the acceptance of someone’s autonomy. So here’s one of the that’s one of the interesting things in an organizational setting is really having to accept that your your team are all autonomous beings, now they can choose to align themselves with the organization or they choose to leave and that’s actually where I think leaders to have really powerful conversations with their teams. They like maybe you don’t agree with us, and maybe this isn’t the right organization for you. Right? And so how do we help you exit or find a different role or something that’s different and you have a very collaborative discussion. So that’s, that’s the other piece of MI spirit is partnership, right? We’re always collaborate Reading, I’m really trying to align and partner with even even order in organizations, even though we have like different power differentials, you’re still trying to be as collaborative as possible. And the final piece is empowering, right. So really empowering the people you work with, to really do the work and, and evoking out, which is kind of what we just talked about. But coming back to the compassion piece, because I think this is important. I think really, this piece about being compassionate is identifying that everyone that you work with, is their own person who has their own background. And actually, this, this has an interesting, I think this is sort of a hot button issue right now, because people were becoming more aware, right, of how diversity and inclusion and how everyone is so different, which is really important stuff. And so how do we meet someone, where they’re at and who they are, and really help empower them from that stance. And that’s really the compassionate piece is I want to help you change in a way that’s consistent with who you are, and aligns in your in your scenario that’s consistent with the organization. So now you see it gets kind of complicated, right? And so it’s how do we have those complicated discussions? But do you see even how I’m talking about it now might be how I talk about it with a team member, because I’m being very collaborative and partnering and being very transparent. Hey, let’s like talk about this. Here’s where our organization’s going, here’s what’s really important to it. Here’s what you’re saying, are some of your struggles, I’m wondering like, is there wiggle room in there? Or is it just something that you just can’t do? Right? It’s just, it’s just not values aligned for you. It’s just not who you are and who you want to be. And if that’s not the case, let’s find a different role for you or help you exit the organization gracefully. And I think that’s the way it’s, so it’s not the same, but it’s very, I think it’s very similar as long as leaders. And by the way, well, I also think sales folks can use this in a compassionate way, as long as they’re not just driving towards their own mission, if they’re really working and sitting with someone, and helping them find what’s important to them, and then how it aligns to what’s what’s meaningful to the organization. And if there’s not alignment, you’re helping them figure out what the other options are. What does that make sense?


Will Bachman  32:18

It does what, you know, many change efforts fail in organizations, you’ve probably seen many of them. What are some common characteristics of why change efforts transformation efforts fail? And? And what are some lessons that you would share that people could take to help avoid that help them be more successful?


Michelle Drapkin  32:45

Okay, I think one of the biggest things that happens with a lot of organizational change is just the assumption that it’s going to happen, right? Like, we’re gonna do this thing, and it’s gonna happen, and we’re going to tell everyone and it’s going to happen. And what we’re what we’re forgetting is that there, you know, there are humans here who are autonomous beings who have thoughts and feelings, you might want to might want to do. So I give a lot of workshops on change management and leadership. But you know, and one of the things is really, how do you have an even if, even if there really might not be like an opportunity to make the change shift in any way? If you have a conversation with your team, just hearing them out and thinking about like, Listen, this is the change that’s coming? How, how can we communicate it to you? How can we make it easier for you? How can we collaborate together? What are some ideas about how it’s going to come logistically, like, like, really just collaborating more effectively with the teams helps empower them, and at least hear them and then you, and then it just it feels like they’re part of the process? Because I think that’s the biggest mistake that people make is just not engaging in a way and empowering people to feel like it’s part of the process. And I feel like that’s, that’s disingenuous one. But also the other. The other big piece is just not having empathy for what it might be like to be on the receiving end of the change process. And I think that leaders sometimes I think the most powerful thing I’ve seen leaders do is out themselves in a change journey about how difficult it is to write. And so it’s not easy for them, but if they’re just standing up in front of everyone, they’re like, This is amazing. Let’s go Come on team, and they’re like, you know, really cheerleading, it just feels so invalidating, and so disingenuous, and it creates this big gap between you and your team, as opposed to joining with them and like, hey, let’s all roll our sleeves up together. Let’s figure this out. I know this is tough, I know that stuff. Let’s and let’s figure out how to do it together. And you know what, I’m kind of anxious. I’m, I’m learning about this. I’m still getting used to this. Like I gotta imagine, so you know what, we’re seeing the biggest where this is, I don’t know how this is playing out and your work but the return to Office is a huge like, challenge right now, right? And if you’re just like, yeah, come in the office, we do better work. And you just sort of validate like, Oh, I know you’ve spent the last couple years arranging your life to be at home. And now we really like you to be in the office. And there’s not really a great reason that way, or at least we’re not articulating it. Or I just, I think that’s where people like organizations are losing some of their better team members because of that lack of validation, and empathy and collaboration.


Will Bachman  35:30

Now, there’s one aspect of the book where it’s sort of a theme through the book, where on several different places you have people reflect on a change that they have, that they have gone through. And that’s something that organizations could maybe do more regularly, we often kind of maybe we make a successful change, but we just move on. And those are some questions from this last chapter stepping into a change life that, you know, they’re targeted at an individual, but I think they could also apply in an organizational setting where maybe you’ve gone through initiative, and you could ask questions like, you know, what did you do to make this change happen? What skills did you leverage? What what worked to support your change? What didn’t work for you? What might you change going forward? Who were the people who supported your change? And what did you learn from this change experience where we could do some kind of after action report to reflect on it to help cement those skills for the next time where people reflecting Wow, yeah, I really did. That was complicated and challenging. But here’s what we learned going through it. Your reaction to that of applying to that to an organizational setting?


Michelle Drapkin  36:41

I think absolutely. I think people forget how capable and effective they are. And they forget about the strengths in their teams at times. And so they just, you know, it’s kind of like, you know, we’ve heard this all the time, it’s reinventing the wheel over and over again. And even some of the teams I’ve sat on are some of the opcodes that I’ve been a part of, it’s like, Oh, you’ll talk to other people who have a history like, yeah, this was the same story 10 years ago, and you’re like, Well, why are we why are we going through this again, right? Why can’t we learn from past mistakes, or figure out how to leverage our resources and start, you know, sure, maybe there’s some more work? Or maybe it’s like an adjacent problem, or whatever. But you can absolutely leverage. I mean, listen, why do we learn history in schools? Why don’t we teach it? So we don’t repeat past mistakes? But it’s also how do we repeat past? Like successes? Right? And how do we really do that? And I think in organizations, there’s not enough of that have sort of a looking back? And what, what really worked? What are our strengths? What are the tools that we used? And really almost having, like, you know, what we sometimes call in research, like a lab notebook, right? How do we go back and really look at this. And I think that absolutely can play out in organizations and really just thinking about all right, well, let’s just take a take a second and figure out what are our strengths? And what can we do to really move this forward? And where do we start?


Will Bachman  38:05

Michelle, for listeners who would like to follow up with you or find more about your practice? Where would you point them online.


Michelle Drapkin  38:14

And you can get on pretty easy to find a bunch of different places. But Dr. drachten.com is probably the the easiest. I’m also on LinkedIn, I love would love to more followers. I have a newsletter there better access to better care. I’m really passionate about disseminating more evidence based tools to the world. And so I that’s those are some of the great places and so just google me find me it’s pretty easy. Michelle Drapkin. Thanks so much for having me. This is fun.


Will Bachman  38:41

Thank you, and we will include those links in the show notes along with a link to your latest book. Michelle, it’s been so great speaking with you, thank you so much for joining me today.


Michelle Drapkin  38:51

Thank you for having me.

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