Mini book review: Switch: How to change things when change is hard by Chip and Dan Heath

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Managing change is one of the most important things we can do as leaders.

Change is a hairy problem. People don’t like change, even if it’s good for them.  It’s not comfortable. So like my 3 year-old during a tantrum, they resist.

Change involves more than just telling people what to do. We need a clear vision and goal, which connects with people’s rational and emotional side, then give clear steps to make it happen.

There’s a number of change management frameworks out there, such as awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement (ADKAR), but none are as simple and powerful as the formula provided by Chip and Dan Heath with Switch.

elephant in pink sunset

How to make a switch

  1. Direct the rider (logical)
    1. Make the vision clear then find a way to break the change down into small, specific behaviors so people can grasp it.
  2. Motivate the elephant (emotional)
    1. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something.
  3. Shape the path (clear steps)
    1. Make changes to help focus the future state. Build habits around the desired behaviors.

The authors do a thorough job of showing the reader how to put this model into action in both big and small changes.

Additional change resources

The authors offer several great resources for readers on their website. I highly recommend visiting their site for more information.

Too lazy to read? There’s a summary for that

  1. Leading and managing change is one of the most important things a leader does
  2. Switch provides a simple, proven 3-step framework for managing change
  3. This book has been added to our “Incrementa leader must read” list

Managing change doesn’t have to be hard. Need help? That’s what we’re here for.

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