Switch (by: Chip & Dan Heath)


(How to Change Things When Change is Hard)

by Chip & Dan Heath

This summary is a combination of points I found salient in this book and points extracted by the Polar Unlimited book summary of Switch.

This book is predicated on an analogy of a rider trying to get an elephant to travel down a path to a given direction.  The rider has a desired plan and a direction, the elephant has all the power and strength.  The Heath brothers leverage this analogy and provide the following insights.

1) Direct the Rider

Find Bright Spots: The next time you have an enormous challenge to overcome, look for what’s already going well, no matter how small the sample size.

Script Critical Moves: You can’t focus on everything. “First things first, and second things never” Covey. FIgure out what your “Make it or Break it” areas are and focus on them relentlessly.

Point to the Destination: Send a destination postcard: it shows the rider where you are headed and the elephant that it is worthwhile. What is the long term, big picture goal we are pursuing? Market and promote it!

2) Motivate the Elephant

Find the Feeling: Change does not occur in the “Analyze-Think-Change” cycle… it follows the “See-Feel-Change” cycle.

Shrink the Change: People are more motivated to complete a partly finished longer journey, then they are to start a shorter one. Create scenarios where people feel the task is already partially completed. Create easy wins so people can feel the sense of accomplishment.

Grow Your People: In any change situation people ask 3 questions: Who am I? What kind of situation is this? What does someone like me do in the situation? It is easier to address the 2nd and 3rd question then the first.  Remind people of who they already know they are… tap into their identity and you tap into their action.

3) Shape the Path

Tweak the Environment: Make the right behaviors easier and the wrong behaviors a bit harder. Removing a small amount of friction can produce the results you look for.

Build Habits: Create action triggers to ensure that the tasks that need to get done get done.  Most people need these developed for them.

Rally the Herd: Find a way to make the behavior you are trying to create contagious by showing the people you want to motivate how to follow the herd. People are far more susceptible to peer pressure then we realize.

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