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Tl;dr Book Review — Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath

Tl;dr — ★★★★★ (🏆 FAV of 2022)

When we play the role of business manager for our clients or work with Chiefs of Staff, we’re often hyper focused on efficiencies of systems and how information gets organized & operationalized in the org. There’s a scary, nebulous concept lurking behind that work though — change.

And it’s not just business managers & COS — in fact, change management is one of the most essential leadership skills to hone. 🔨

These days, organizational change is fast-paced & relentless. It’s a given.

I mentioned change as nebulous. And oftentimes, when you’re at the center of it, it feels impossible to wrap your arms around. In Switch, Chip & Dan Heath make change management real. ✨

This isn’t a feel good book about why change management is important — this is an operator’s manual to enacting change in real life, by confronting both the emotional & rational influences that contribute to change resistance.

This is one of those books that I would highly recommend if you have the time to read it in full. If not, take a peek at my Tl;dr recap below!👇

1 — Three Surprising Things About Change

For individuals’ behavior to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds. The problem is this: often the heart and mind disagree.

The three surprises

Change does not require authority or power. Be explicit — “some is not a number; soon is not a time.” Help, guide, and train people to get to your explicit numbers. Use peer pressure and metrics/examples to change minds.

The system proposed in this book is based on an analogy of Rider + Elephant + Path. All three have to work together to successfully enact change:

In the above analogy, the elephant is our emotional side & the rider is our rational side. The rider sits on the elephant and holds the reigns, seemingly in control. But the control is precarious — in a disagreement, the elephant will always win. If you want to change things, you have to appeal to both the rider and the elephant.

Direct the Rider

“What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.”

2 — Find the Bright Spots
3 — Script the Critical Moves
4 — Point to the Destination
Motivate the Elephant

“What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.”

5 — Find the Feeling
6 — Shrink the Change
7 — Grow your People
Shape the Path

“What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.”

8 — Tweak the Environment
9 — Build Habits
10 — Rally the Herd
11 — Keep the Switch Going
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