Let’s face it – change is often hard. And it is most hard when the status quo has been working for us. Nobody likes to give up strategies that have been working for us. And this is the key issue for organisational change – what is good for the organisation can sometimes get in the way of what is comfortable for the individual.
Dan and Chip Heath look at this in depth in Switch. What I liked most about this this book was the ways to create change that they broke down and classified (see in attached picture.
They begin by looking at the mental aspect of change (they call this the ‘Rider’) and how to get people to understand the need for change, and the ways that can undertake it with ease. Then they look at emotions (the Elephant) – which let’s face it, often trump our logical responses (you know another chocolate is no good for you don’t you, but who can resist?). Appealing to emotions can prompt that visceral need for change and can build excitement for change. Finally they look at the small things – how to create a pathway for change to make it easier. We often under-estimate how powerful a small behavioural change can be. If I sleep in my gym gear, it’s so much easier to get up and go to gym in the morning. There was nothing complicated about that solution – just clever. A small change can make a big impact.
The Heath brothers suggest that often you will need to work through all three of these aspects in order to be successful. Some challenges might only need to consider one.
As usual, there are lots of clever and entertaining examples, and further steps that I don’t have time to outline here. But this was a pretty enjoyable non-fiction read, and certainly one I can see myself referencing over and over.