Switch

Switch

How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

eBook - 2010
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Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick . Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems - the rational mind and the emotional mind - that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort - but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch , the Heaths show how everyday people - employees and managers, parents and nurses - have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

● The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients
● The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping
● The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2010
ISBN: 9780307373878
0307373878
Characteristics: 1 online resource (305 p.)
Additional Contributors: Heath, Dan 1973-

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l
ladydrummer
Aug 05, 2017

Helpful, with practical advice.

j
jasonamcbride
Jun 01, 2017

Great book on understanding the dynamics of change and what is need to make change last!

a
AleneRasmussen
Aug 07, 2015

Great book! It uses a simple, very visual analogy to describe the factors essential to creating change. Lots of stories and examples from a variety of settings (business, family, personal, social) make it an entertaining read while at the same time driving home powerful principles. I've used this book to teach classes to both teens and adults.

q
queequegs
Mar 26, 2015

Although I have enjoyed all the Heath Brother books, this is my favorite. So full of great, practical, but uniquely helpful and positive advice on planning and leading change and solving big problems.

1
1aa
Jan 21, 2015

Simply written; has numerous anecdotes that illustrate the points being made; a very well structured book.

ksoles Jul 19, 2014

Why does change come so slowly and with such difficulty? Why do people struggle to lose weight even when armed with knowledge of how to do so? Why do most "problem kids" end up dropping out of school instead of benefiting from teacher intervention? And how does an employee even begin to reform a multi-million dollar corporation? In their witty and instructive "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard," Chip and Dan Heath draw on the sciences of human behaviour to tackle such enigmatic questions.

The Heath brothers believe that "willpower," "leadership" and other platonic solutions only see an individual or a group through temporary change. Our brains do not contain a single decision-making unit, they argue; instead, we have two systems: a rational one, analytical and slow to act ("The Rider") and an emotional one, impulsive and prone to form and follow habits ("The Elephant"). The Rider needs a series of rules to follow and The Elephant needs motivation i.e. an emotional rationale. Concrete information unifies the two systems.

In their introduction, the authors identify three surprises about change: what looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity; what looks like laziness is often exhaustion and what looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. The solution to overcoming these misconceptions? Direct the rider, motivate the elephant and shape the path. "Switch" supports this thesis primarily through fascinating stories of people, companies and organizations that have successfully undertaken major realignments, sometimes against long odds. A charity drastically reduced childhood malnutrition in Vietnam, a retailer metamorphosed from underwhelming into a trendsetting national powerhouse and a teacher in Portland transformed his classroom by getting the most disruptive students to show up on time and sit in the front row.

"Switch" doesn't announce any scientific breakthroughs. Appeals to emotion have long spurred action faster than have appeals to logic. But therein lies the book's genius: the Heaths clearly demonstrate the importance of bringing both The Rider and The Elephant on board for change and then explain why that still doesn't lead to success. More than we suspect, outside influences control our actions. Good intentions and a host of intelligence face certain defeat in the wrong setting. For any effort at change to count, you have to "shape the path." "Switch" has doubtlessly shaped a path that leads in a promising direction.

JCLChrisK Jun 07, 2014

I find the human creature a fascinating one to study, and when I take a break from children's and teen books I often seem to be drawn to titles reporting some of the latest research on human natures at the intersection of psychology, sociology, biology, and the like. Each time, I feel I glean (at least) a little more insight into myself and those around me. Yet, generally those books have the primary purpose of reporting results and discoveries, then have room for only a cursory consideration of what to do with that knowledge; I sometimes find myself in the same spot, delighted by the new things I know, yet wondering how to go about applying those things to my life.

This is the second book I've read by the Heath brothers--the other being their more recent title Decisive --and it seems to me that's where they come in. They study the research in a given area, then excellently boil it down to a core essence that can be easily communicated, digested, and used. Instead of spending their time explaining the research, they show how it can be (has been) applied in situation after situation. These examples serve the purpose of explaining the research in real world contexts, but, more importantly, they teach readers how they can make use of the information for themselves. It's not abstract knowledge, but applied. While they risk being over simplistic with their approach for some situations, I expect I'll find their framework highly helpful in the future whether I want to consider changes in my personal life, work life, or other.

l
lilwordworm
Mar 10, 2011

Nothing new folks. Balance your logical side with your emotional side to achieve optimal happiness. I can write that on a fortune cookie slip and save myself 250 pages.

debwalker Dec 08, 2010

Who doesn’t want to know how to make a successful change? Chip Heath and Dan Heath have hit on a universal quest in their latest book. We all want, or need, to change from time to time. Sometimes it’s minor tweaking. For others, it requires massive transformation.

k
kjanowski
Nov 26, 2010

excellent summary of research (by others) about behavior change and social change and organizational change. includes lots of examples and memorable metaphors and tips for how to effect change. highly recommended.

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JCLMeaganC May 07, 2014

p. 19 “To change behavior, you’ve got to direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path. If you can do all three things at once, dramatic change can happen even if you don’t have lots of power or resources behind you.”

w
Waterlily
May 01, 2010

p.47 A particular strain of this "bad is stronger than good" bias is critical when it comes to tackling change. Let's call it a problem focus. To see it, consider the situation: Your child comes home one day with her report card. She got one A, four B's, and one F. Where will you spend your time as a parent?

This hypothetical comes from author Marcus Buckingham, who says that nearly all parents will tend to fixate on the F. It's easy to empathize with them: Something seems broken - we should fix it. Let's get her a tutor. Or maybe she should be punished - she's grounded until that grade recovers. It is the rare parent who would say, instead, "Honey, you made an 'A' in this one class. You must really have a strength in this subject. How can we build on that?" (Buckingham has a fine series of books on making the most of your strengths rather than obsessing about your weaknesses.)

w
Waterlily
May 01, 2010

p.44 This is a theme you will see again and again. Big problems are rarely solved with commensurately big solutions. Instead, they are most often solved by a sequence of small solutions, sometimes over weeks, sometimes over decades.

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saranaut Oct 04, 2017

#1 New York Times bestseller
Why is change so hard? This “witty and instructive” book by the authors of Made to Stick explains the psychological tensions that interfere with change, and techniques for turning things around (Wall Street Journal). 11,000+ five-star Goodreads reviews.
“Lively examples...an entertaining and educational must-read for executives and for ordinary citizens looking to get out of a rut.” —Publishers Weekly

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