Wednesday, February 17, 2010

book review ~ Switch by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

When I launched into Switch, I could hardly put it down.  The ideas and thoughts expressed in many ways were so simple and yet had profound impact on me in the way I view change, recoginizing the issue at hand that needs change, how I / others process the thoughts and action plan on implementing change, and the way that change is apart of every aspect of life.  The book held my attention for the most part, though there were a few spots I felt it seemed to get bogged down in trying to make a point. 

The initial concept (that really was the punch line of the book) is the concept of The Rider and The Elephant and how it takes both of these emotional and rational aspects to be able to change behavior because knowledge alone does not.  For behavior to change you have to influence not only the/their environment but the/their heart and mind.  To do this, you can cajole, influence, inspire and motivate.  The situation must change for change to happen.  It's an attempt to change the culture, the linchpin of successful organizational change  You must find bright spots; "successful efforts worth emulating" and be savvy at reinforcing these behaviors.  This illuminates the road map for action and sparks hope that change is possible.  This creates a destination postcard - a vivid picture from the near-term that shows what hard work can make possible.  Ask whats working not whats wrong.  Clarity dissolves resistance.  Decision paralysis disrupts decisions and affects you; you become overloaded and choice no longer liberates, it debilitates.  Change brings uncertainty and is a process.  Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors which means you have to "script the critcal moves".  Progress is precious.  It takes patience, focus and reinforcement every step of the journey.  Small successes can be extremely powerful in helping people believe in themselves.  Big changes can start with very small steps, which tend to snowball.  All this is stregthened with practice and an inspiration to endure to make the necessary change.  Motivation will be your hardest struggle as you try to make the switch.  Change follows a pattern, embrace it!

I tried to put myself in each story and realized that I acted as The Rider and The Elephant differently depending on the circumstances.  I found this an eye opener and a learning tool for me.  I want to spend more time studing The Rider and The Elephant attributes and how they affect each other so that as I focus on change I know what needs cultivating and tweaking so that I have a clearer Path.  I also thought the simple point of checklists was a great concept for building consistent habits.  As the book states: A scholar is someone who lives to learn and is good at it.

Thank you Daniel Tardy for giving me a chance to be a scholar!

(due to scheduling and work conflicts, I did not post this book review on time, it was due yesterday 02.16.2010)

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