When contemplating change people can often sit on the fence for quite some
time. They may live in a world that is not black and white, but shades of
grey and highly ambivalent.
At times high or low levels of ambivalence may be useful in some situations,
it is not always
High ambivalence: PEOPLE WHO SEE THE WORLD IN SHADES OF GRAY TEND TO….
* Procrastinate or avoid making decisions if possible.
* Feel more regret after making decisions.
* Be thoughtful about making the right choice.
* Stay longer in unhappy relationships.
* Appreciate multiple points of view
Low ambivalence: PEOPLE WHO SEE THE WORLD AS BLACK AND WHITE TEND TO…
* Speak their mind or make quick decisions.
* Be more predictable in making decisions (e.g., who they vote for).
* Be less anxious about making wrong choices.
* Have relationship conflicts that are less drawn out.
* Be less likely to consider others’ points of view.
Source: Different Strokes
At work ambivalence can hinder productivity whether the subject is personal
or professional. Trained colleagues can use Motivational Interviewing (MI),
a collaborative conversation to strengthen a person’s own motivation for and
commitment to change.
What is MI? MI is a refreshing and very important intervention in the
context of decision making for people wanting to make a change in their
lives. It uses simple techniques such as “O.A.R.S.” and “Change Talk”.
OARS is a quirky acronym of open questions, active listening, reflection and
summary. It encourages the ability to roll with resistance, not to offer
opposing arguments for change but to notice and elicit change talk.
The emphasis on listening skills creates an atmosphere where the client can
decide if, what, and when they choose to change. One of the most important
skills and tools is the ability to recognise and reinforcement of change
Change Talk refers to the client’s mention and discussion of his or her
Desire, Ability, Reason, and Need to change behaviour and Commitment to
Learning some simple but powerful MI tools and using them at work will help
colleagues that may be struggling with a problem, to discuss it. In doing
this they may find that when they states what they want to change and the
solution, it is more powerful than when someone else tries to tell them what
to do. Just by learning motivational interviewing tools it is possible to
learn to recognise change talk when heard it, and then to reinforce it and
watch change happen.