“Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” A Book Review by Banríon S. – Part II

So how does this switch come about?  The Heath brothers explain how we all have a rational part of our brain as well as an emotional part.  That isn’t really a new concept, but I like how they explain it.  They liken our emotional part to an Elephant and our rational part to its Rider.  Sometimes, no matter how much the Rider rationally knows which way to go, he simply cannot move the Elephant in that direction.  Sometimes, the Elephant barrels toward its destination, and the Rider cannot hold the Elephant back.  And even when the Rider and Elephant are in agreement on the goal, the path is often too rocky for them to reach the goal.  Hence, one must Shape the Path for the Rider and Elephant to traverse.

Chip Heath and Dan Heath are very specific in how to accomplish a switch.

            To direct the Rider, one must:

                        Follow the bright spots

                        Script the critical moves

                        Point to the destination

            To motivate the Elephant, one must:

                        Find the feeling

                        Shrink the change

                        Grow your people

            And to shape the path, one must:

                        Tweak the environment

                        Build habits

                        Rally the herd

My favorite golden nugget from the book?  The Heath brothers share this parenthetical snippet:

Our dad, Fred Heath, who worked over thirty years for IBM, would tell his teams that when “milestones” seemed too distant, they should look for “inch pebbles.”  Nice one, Dad.

That gem alone helped me get through the daunting task of setting up our classroom for the school year.  Each section of the room was its own inch pebble.

Are you looking to make a switch?  Go ahead – read the book.  I think you will find it well worth your time, just as I did.

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