Compliance vs. Behavior Change
When you think of some of the problems you face, whether you’re communicating with an employee, team member, spouse or child, do you want compliance or behavior change?
This is a question that is not commonly asked of ourselves because when put in problematic situations, we don’t even think about the concepts of compliance or behavior change. However, I wonder what a day would look like if we did?
Compliance is defined as the action of complying with a wish or command. There is nothing in that statement about an internal desire for change instead the change is focused on outward suggestion or approval.
Motivational Interviewing is a communication method derived from creating long term, sustained behavior change. We know that when communicating with someone that might be ambivalent about change, our communication and conversation can either help them navigate their internal torn-ness or create stubborn opposition. Motivational Interviewing helps create an environment where someone can walk through their thoughts, feelings and ideas on change.
Every situation will call for different communication methods and understanding from your own viewpoint whether you are looking for compliance or behavior change can help the way you communicate. If you are an employer who wants to communicate efficiently while creating long term behavior change you might explore different methods like Motivational Interviewing, while if you are a parent trying to keep your child out of the street and being hit by a car-you want compliance in that moment, you don’t have time for a behavior change conversation.
The more we understand ourselves, and the outcomes we want the easier it is to navigate conversations and what our ultimate goals are.
The next time you are in a situation that might call for behavior change or compliance, take a moment to pause. In that moment, try and think about what you are wanting, behavior change or compliance. Once you know, it becomes much easier to communicate not only efficiently but intentionally.