What you could learn from ‘Switch: How to change things when change is hard’ by Chip and Dan Heath (2011, 320 pages)

Advice is often free, and easy to give.  Getting someone to act on that advice, and change their behaviour, is much, much harder. Chip and Dan argue that for change to work, it helps to engage emotions, provide clear direction and change the context.  They argue that you should follow the following three, manageable pieces of advice.

1. Direct the logical brain – through highlighting examples that work, script critical moves and provide a vision of the destination
2. Appeal to the emotional brain through finding an emotional appeal (for example, reduce the change to manageable chunks, create a mindset of growth)
3. Shape the path – remove obstacles, build habits and rally peer pressure.

Chip and Dan also offer some other sage advice.

  • Simple rules help (for example simple checklists)
  • Include behavioural goals in change plans
  • For quick specific action use negative emotion
  • Shrink the change by pre-loading it (2 stamps on loyalty card)
  • Change behaviour by reinforcing bright spots (find what has changed and celebrated it, and grow this aspect)
  • The more people are exposed to something, the more they like it (exposure effect)

You should read this great book if you are attempting to change your organisation. The advice is clearly presented and the analogy of the elephant (as intuition) and the rider (as rational thought) are powerful and very helpful. You should also combine it with their later book ‘Made to Stick’ and Kotter’s fantastic book ‘Heart of Change’

Link to book on Amazon

Link to Heath Brother website