Thursday, December 19, 2013

Positive Psychology & Motivational Interviewing

A brief look at two powerful frameworks for change: Positive Psychology and Motivational Interviewing

"We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving individuals, families, and communities." -Martin Seligman & Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Positive psychology is focused on making normal life more fulfilling by nurturing latent genius and talent. It focuses on the values, strengths, virtues, and talents of a client, and promotes them. It is a neuroscientific approach to understanding happiness. Through the humanistic lens pioneered by Maslow and Rogers, positive psychology explains development and motivation through hope, growth, and resilience.

The field has seen significant growth over the past twenty years, and it's field of research aligns with "purpose" driven life. "Mindfulness" psychology, and inquiry into a "meaningful life" have contributed greatly to the field of research.

Motivational Interviewing is "... a collaborative, person centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change."

The MI approach is:
  1. A conversation about change
  2. Collaborative, honoring autonomy - not experts delivering to recipients
  3. Evocative, calling forth an individual's own motivation and commitment

The 'spirit' of Motivational interviewing has three elements:
  1. Collaboration (vs. Confrontation) - the client is the "expert"
  2. Evocation (Drawing out, vs. imposing on)
  3. Autonomy (vs. Authority) - the power for change lies within the client

The guiding principles of Motivational Interviewing are:
  1. Express empathy
  2. Support self-efficacy
  3. Roll with resistance - avoid the righting reflex
  4. Develop discrepancy - gap analysis
I find the overlaps of these disciplines fascinating, am curious about their implications on emergent leadership and change management. Stay tuned!

Organizational Development: Polarities

"Improving organizations requires understanding them. Understanding anything as complex as modern organizations points to the importance of good theory. While this may sound academic to those who labor in the organizational trenches, good theories are pragmatic and grounded. They explain and predict. They serve as frameworks for making sense of the world around us, organizing diverse forms and sources of information, and taking informed action." - Joan Gallos

As I reflect on the learnings I've gleaned this year in Management and Organizational Leadership, I start with the obvious:
A plethora of tools, stakeholder analyses, asset maps, situational analyses, communication plans, project management plans and strategies, etc.
Theories to understand their application: Systems thinking, Morgan's organizational metaphors, Galbraith's Star Model, Hanna's Organizational Performance Model, Learning Organizations, Human Resource strategies etc.

All of these allow us to observe an organization through a particular lens. They give us a framework to look at the nuts and bolts of what's happening with an organization.

In a human metaphor, each tool gives us insight into particular aspects of any individual. We could study the structural skeleton of an individual, or their circulatory system. We might look at their cultural and anthropological history. If we're particularly adept, we seek to understand how each of these systems interacts with each other.

Every individual/organization is extremely unique. And at the same time, we are all of the same essence. Working with this polarity is fundamental to understanding universal truth.

Effective organizational development is founded in polarity management:
  • Horizontal or vertical growth
  • Parts or the whole
  • Conformity or creativity
  • Heuristic or algorithmic
  • Process or results
  • Feeling or thinking

Blog List