How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
Publication Date: February 16, 2010
Categories: Structural Adjustment
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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.
Chip Heath is the Thrive Foundation for Youth Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Dan Heath is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University. Together, they are the authors of the national bestseller Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. They write a regular column in Fast Company magazine, and have appeared on Today, NPR's Morning Edition, MSNBC, CNBC, and have been featured in Time, People and US News and World Report.
“Witty and instructive…The Heath brothers think that the sciences of human behavior can provide us with tools for making changes in our lives—tools that are more effective than 'willpower,' 'leadership' and other easier-said-than-done solutions. …For any effort at change to succeed, the Heaths argue, you have to 'shape the path.' With Switch they have shaped a path that leads in a most promising direction.”
--The Wall Street Journal
“’Your brain is not of one mind,’" say the brothers Heath, co-authors of the bestseller Made to Stick. Using the terminology of University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the Heaths designate the emotional side of the mind as the Elephant and the rational side as the Rider…Switch is crammed with stories…covering a number of fields to drive home the importance of using the strengths of both the Rider and the Elephant to make change happen. This could be a valuable read for the would-be change-makers of the Obama administration.”
--Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Whether you're a manager, a parent or a civic leader, getting people to change can be tricky business. In Switch, brothers Chip and Dan Heath--authors of the best-selling Made to Stick--survey efforts to shape human behavior in search of what works…Even when change isn't easy, it's often worth making.”
“Dan and Chip Heath have done it again…Any leader looking to create change in his organization need not look beyond this little book. It is packed with examples and hands-on tools that will get you moving right away. And it is really a fun read.”
“No one likes change. Trouble is, of course, that everyone probably needs at least some of it. Here, the authors of the bestselling Made to Stick return with a book that looks at all aspects of change in human lives, from dieting to spending, from corporations to governments...a readable, entertaining and thought-provoking book. “