Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review - Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

One of the best books I have read in 2012 is Chip and Dan Heath's book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.

The book is built on the premise that the biggest obstacle to change is people's minds.  The Heath's talk about how the rational mind and the emotional mind fight against one another to derail change.  They use the analogy of a rider (the rational mind) trying to make an elephant (the emotional mind) move in a certain direction.  When the rider and the elephant are not working in concert with one another change is almost certainly doomed.

The book is broken out into three parts: 1) Direct the Rider; 2) Motivate the Elephant; and 3) Shape the Path.  These three sections are filled with anecdotes, case studies, and compelling information from all fields of study highlighting the importance of directing the rider, motivating the elephant, and shaping the path for change to occur.

Before people change they have to understand what the change is, and why it is necessary (direct the rider).  Possibly even more important is the fact that people must be emotionally connected to the change (motivate the elephant).  They have to have an emotional buy-in.  And lastly, change agents should look at what things they can tweak or alter in the environment to make the change seem like less of an intrusion (shape the path).

Switch is a phenomenal book that every leader, parent, pastor, and individual leading any sort of change should read.
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