Moving from ‘Yes, but’ to ‘Yes’: Using Motivational Interviewing to Engage Faculty and Facilitate Change

Academic Leader

“Yes, but …” This might be the most common phrase heard by an academic leader when attempting to engage an individual and motivate change. Think of the last time you heard this from a faculty member with whom you were speaking—recall your reaction. Did you open up, look through his or her eyes, understand his or her values, and maintain a collaborative interaction? Or did you double-down with logic and data, stressing the importance of this change from the perspective of the department/college/university? If your approach was the latter, how did it go? Odds are, not very well. There is a reason for this; it’s normal and it has a name—ambivalence.

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