Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=leartojugg-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0385528752&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrBook 2

My colleague, Dave, introduced this book to our department last month and my boss thought we should all read it.  That might make you groan, but I am just the sort of nerd that would appreciate the idea. Switch is a change management book for people that don’t have a lot of budget or authority.  The theme, borrowed from The Happiness Hypothesis, is the image of a Rider and an Elephant.  The Elephant is the emotional side, that can power your forward, or positively refuse.  The Rider is the rational side.  Think, analyze, direct, etc.  If there is a conflict, the Elephant wins.  You get the idea.

Heath and Heath write in anecdotes, which is a good thing, because I don’t care how good your analogy theme is – the subject has been done.  They have put together stories, similar to Freakonomics or Blink, that illustrate their points about engaging both our rational and emotional sides and then managing our environments.

My favorite point was early in the book – Find the Bright Spots.  The idea is that when people analyze situations, we tend to focus on what the problems are.  Instead, we might try focusing on what is right and try to replicate it.  The story was about a guy who had no funds and six months to attack malnutrition in Vietnam. He looked at families in one village, found the most nourished kids, and figured out what their parents were doing differently.  They were all simple things that most families could do themselves.

Another chapter was on concise instructions.  The idea was that people are more likely to do what you want if you tell them, in detail, what that is.

Of course, I like a good story.  But there are also enough studies and statistics here to make the numbers people happy.  All in all, pretty good for an Office Pick.

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