Switch – How to Change things, when change is hard: a book that will change every reader in a number of ways. Chip & Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of made to stick, have a good sense of how to reach their audience and let the lessons stick. However, I know I’m not different from others, I forget easily. That’s why sharing what I’ve learned is a productive way of both remembering and advertising. Here is my summary of the book:
The first fact that shapes the rest of the book: people are bipolar. Yes, you too!
Let’s face it. We all have our rational side that most of times is fighting with our emotional side. Our rational side should win, but our emotional side can be so strong… I really am Bipolar, what now ? No worries, a good balance keeps us going.
The book is divided in three main parts:
- Direct the Rider (How can you do the rational thing)
- Motivate the Elephant (Why should you do it, speak to our emotional side)
- Shape the Path (How will you get where you want).
The Heaths start with identifying three main obstacles, which make change harder:
1. What you see as a “People Problem” is actually a “Situation Problem”.
E.g. People will eat more when their plate is bigger. They will eat less when their plates look fuller on a smaller plate. Although the result is peopling eat less; you didn’t change them, but you changed the situation.
2. Resistance if often a lack of clarity.
E.g. Our company needs to make more profit vs. In 18 months we will get a 10% increase in revenue, by optimizing our energy and waste usage.
In both cases people want to make the change, but they need directions to get to that goal.
3. Laziness if often exhaustion.
By reaching your/their elephants, motivation can be refueled for wanting to change. Why is it important, better, helpful to make that change?
Knowing why change is hard is one thing, but actually making the change is something else. Here is an outline of how you can reach yourself/others. This will help in analyzing the problem by addressing different aspects that will work together in providing the essential push.
1. Direct the Rider
- Follow bright spots: Can you find a successful example in which it did work? What can you learn from the people that made the change?
- Point the destination: Provide clarity. Set up SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant & Timely.
- Script the critical moves: How will you get to your goal; what do you need; which steps do you need to take. Caution: Take SMALL steps. Don’t but “Go to the dentist” on your To-do list but start with “Find the phone number of a good dentist”. Also, be careful for decision paralysis – too many options will have a reverse effect.
2. Motivate the Elephant
- Find the feeling: Show why this change is really needed, either by showing negative effects of not doing anything or showing how things can get better if change will happen.
- Grow the people: Cultivate a sense of identity. If you make believe them they are being innovators, they will act as such.
- Shrink the change: Once you get a sense of progress you will feel the snowball rolling
3. Shape the Path
- Build habits: Habits are actions that don’t require a lot of energy (you know you have to brush your teeth twice a day, so you just do it after breakfast and before bedtime). By creating visible and specific action triggers you will create new habits, e.g. keep your gym clothes beside your bed, so that when you wake up you need less courage to go running
- Tweak the environment: Make the bad thing impossible. Don’t buy chocolate. You have to be in park before you can turn off your car.
- Rally the herd: Behavior is contagious.
Admittingly, this all sounded like common sense to me, but I really think the way they lay-out and explain everything, fueled by very grasping examples, will make my life easier! Next time I don’t seem to know how to move forward, I will reflect deeply on what the real problem is. Even if it’s not me, I might find a more effective way how to solve it and make that change happening!
Let me try it on you:
You think, well yeah, sounds like an interesting book, I might read it one day.
Trust me, it really is a good read, and will help you down the road (I’m motivating your elephant!).
Well, you’re just in time to ask it as a Christmas present, perfect (scripting critical moves)!
You will definitely like it, I promise, it was #1 bestseller chosen by Wall Street Journal and New York Times (for 47 weeks) and was in top 10 best books by The Globe and Mail, Inc. Magazine & Washington Post (Rallying your herd).