A Great Resource for Effecting Change

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is HardSwitch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an excellent book for anyone looking to shape some change into your organization or even your own life. A lot of people have difficulty with change and this book is an excellent resource for both learning about why we are resistant to change and how to make it easier and more successful.

Chip & Dan Heath look at the problem of “Change” and use an excellent analogy of an elephant and its rider to describe the emotional and logical components that fuel our actions and can effect direction change in our life. Sometimes change is hard because we can’t see the logical benefit of the change. Often times, however, we are battling the emotional elephant that is resistant to change for deeper reasons that we may not even be aware. When you understand that analogy, you can start looking at problems and the need to change in another way and find solutions to tackling the problem that engage “the rider” or “the elephant” or, preferably, both to make the change happen and make it stick.

Throughout the book, the authors use colorful real-life stories to illustrate problems and how they have been overcome. They break down techniques directed at directing “the rider” and motivating “the elephant” in ways that I thought were thought-provoking, interesting, and very applicable to life and business. Change isn’t just about getting other people to do what needs to be done, often it is about getting yourself to do it, too.

Finally, they talk about changing the environment to make the change either easier to happen, or more likely to stick. This is more broad-based thinking, but still is illustrative of how we often need to “look outside the box” at the problems behind the problem that keep our best efforts from succeeding.

I’m giving this book 4/5 stars because it’s really a great read. The 5th star is taken simply because a lot of these ideas aren’t new and if you’ve done a significant amount of reading in this genre, you’ve probably read much of this before. But, I give the authors full credit for putting those ideas together with a super-functional analogy that makes it memorable, and using modern references that most Americans will recognize and identify.

If you are looking for an interesting book with to try to enter the “personal enrichment” genre, or are a developing leader in any area of business who wants to do some reading along these lines, this is an excellent place to start. Also, if you’ve read pretty much any of the works out there on Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman and Travis Bradberry are the guys to start with for that if you haven’t… and you should) then this is a good place for practical application of their stuff.

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