How to Change Things When Change Is HardBook - 2010
The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick . Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems - the rational mind and the emotional mind - that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort - but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.
In Switch , the Heaths show how everyday people - employees and managers, parents and nurses - have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:
- The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients
- The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping
- The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service
In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
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p. 19 “To change behavior, you’ve got to direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path. If you can do all three things at once, dramatic change can happen even if you don’t have lots of power or resources behind you.”
p.47 A particular strain of this "bad is stronger than good" bias is critical when it comes to tackling change. Let's call it a problem focus. To see it, consider the situation: Your child comes home one day with her report card. She got one A, four B's, and one F. Where will you spend your time as a parent?
This hypothetical comes from author Marcus Buckingham, who says that nearly all parents will tend to fixate on the F. It's easy to empathize with them: Something seems broken - we should fix it. Let's get her a tutor. Or maybe she should be punished - she's grounded until that grade recovers. It is the rare parent who would say, instead, "Honey, you made an 'A' in this one class. You must really have a strength in this subject. How can we build on that?" (Buckingham has a fine series of books on making the most of your strengths rather than obsessing about your weaknesses.)
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