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My book review this week is on Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard – published in 2010. For those who are unfamiliar with this blockbuster, Heath and Heath outline the process of change, the balancing of the rational mind with the emotional mind, and the need to make the path for change clear and easier. Several takeaways that I enjoyed include:

  • Find “bright spots” of success and focus on them, instead of the negatives, to pave the way for success.
  • Find ways to reduce “decision paralysis.”
  • “Clarity dissolves resistance.” Find ways to make the path as clear as possible so that people aren’t being asked to think too much. “Script the critical moves.”
  • “Find the feeling.” Or, as I’ve written about often, find the emotional appeal, the “why?” behind your project.
  • Go for smaller changes; i.e., the improved HR vacation policy, versus the perfect HR vacation policy.
  • Help your people develop their identities. These identities, whether they are scientists, artists, Americans, or loving humans, will become essential when you introduce change. Will your people be the kinds of people who will make the change that you are trying to introduce? If not, prepare for rough seas. And start helping your people develop more fully.