The book Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chris and Dan Heath is an insightful view into how we can make changes ourselves or design easier ways for others to make change happen. The basic metaphorical concept (Rider, Elephant, and Path) takes a while to digest and integrate into your thought patterns. In fact, it was a painful headache for me to understand, master and move on from. I think it might of helped the reader more if the concept was visualized right from the start. So if you are going to read this book, I strongly suggest you view the Heath Brother’s website for the helpful visual aid in PDF format¹ or go to page 259 in the hardcover edition, before you start reading.
This book is much along the same line of design format as Seth Godin ‘s (Purple Cow, Linchpin) books. The elements are explained first through company stories or individual’s tales of progress, achievement and success.
My takeaways from reading this book are design and and present your change ideas from a positive perspective, be sure to look first at what is working, understand what your people are seeking in terms of feelings, and most importantly break things down into small doable pieces along the way.
This book also has a nice little section on the value of checklists. The checklists are presented in story form, but for professional organizers, productivity coaches and consultants these stories may be easily transferable examples extolling the benefits of using a checklist.
One of my favorite story examples from Switch is the tale of the 21 year old forestry conservation adviser who by small actions, made amazing change in the population of an island parrot species. This particular tale was inspiring and the most thought provoking for me. You will have to read the book to get that story. So, I urge you to go out and read Switch, and maybe you will find your ability to make substantial change happen in your life or in others.
1) Click here for the PDF outline format at the Heath brother’s website.
You might also enjoy reading my previous pre-review on Linchpin.