Sunday, July 24, 2011

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Book Review)

Switch is a smoothly readable and deceptively simple book about making lasting change.

To set the stage for change, the authors contend that you need to do three fundamental things: speak to people's rational site and provide direction, appeal to people's emotional side and stir feelings, and shape the way forward. It doesn't matter if the change is directed at a person, group, or organization - the principles are basically the same in all instances.

I loved the clear-headed logic in Switch and the many anecdotes of everyday people who achieved dramatic change results. For example, there's a teacher who helped motivate under-performing first graders by challenging them to perform as well as third-graders. Then there's a manager who helped executives feel the need to drive down purchasing costs by literally stacking 424 different types of gloves on a conference room table to show the different prices and glaring lack of economies of scale. There are also stories of organizations making changes, including the tale of how Rackspace became "fanatical" about customer support.

You can read more about Switch and author Chip Heath and Dan Heath at heathbrothers.com.