Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

Here’s another great book I read over the holidays.  Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  It really helped me sort out why what I was doing wasn’t working (big plans going in circles in my head) and what may help (getting specific with small changes).

They tell a wonderful story in the book of a man who went to Vietnam to cure the hunger problems there.  Instead of looking at the big picture, he went to a village, found the “bright spots” of children not starving under ordinary conditions, and used them as an example for change.  It turned out that the bright spot children were being fed local greens and local shrimp and crab along with the usual rice, and once all the mothers of the village got together and started doing this for more children, it helped save lots of lives.  And the method and results were repeatable, and he was very successful in affecting change.

The book Switch is written for any kind of change – corporate, societal, or personal.  I am using it for personal change, looking at the bright spots of my life to figure out how to expand them.   There are lots of other tips, like how building a “growth mindset” means expecting some failures on the way to success, how building an “identity” can keep you going.  Here’s a snapshot of the steps which are accompanied by great examples and explanations in the book:

Direct the “Rider” (your mind) 1. Find the bright spots  2. Point to the destination (be specific)

Motivate the “Elephant” (your emotions) 1. Find the feeling (How will it feel if you make it to the destination? How will it feel if you don’t?)   2. Build identity – identify with you at the destination

Shape the Path  1. Break the environment or Tweak the environment (smooth the path, make the journey easier)  2. Rally the herd (positive or negative reinforcement from friends and colleagues)

This book along with a couple of books by Marcus Buckingham, Now, Find Your Strengths, and Find Your Strongest Life, have been keeping me busy lately.   I’ll let you know it they help in the long run and lasting change happens.

Is there anything you would like to change?


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