Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

‘Switch’ comes out today!

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on February 16, 2010

Switch goes on sale today!  Chip and Dan Heath have put together a great study on what causes change to take place.

You’ll find this book insightful on the necessary ingredients that cause change to occur.  I was planning on writing an extensive review, but since you hear from me all the time I want you to have a chance to hear from some other change agents today.  I’ve asked several friends to help me out by reading an advance copy of this book and commenting on this post today with their own summary thoughts.

Check back throughout the day to watch the conversation unfold!

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17 Responses

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  1. Ben said, on February 16, 2010 at 10:20 am

    This was a great book! I love reading the Heath brothers. It’s like reading Malcolm Gladwell with more practical application.

    Without re-telling the story, our team now uses the phrase “gloves on the table” as a new metaphor when discussing things or ways of thinking that need to change. It’s a story in the first chapter or two, so you won’t have to wait long to read it!

    Anyway, I really like the metaphor these guys use as a conceptual framework to solve obstacles associated with change.

    1 – Direct the rider
    2 – Motivate the Elephant
    3 – Shape the path

    I thought they did a great job of breaking down each section by using story after story to emphasize their point. If you liked Made to Stick, you’ll love this book too. It’s a lot lighter and hits a larger audience, because everyone has to deal with change. Conceptual frameworks are awesome!

  2. elephanthunters said, on February 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for the review Ben! Glad you enjoyed the book…I’m hoping a lot of organizations will start putting the ‘gloves on the table’ and asking the right questions after reading this!

  3. Rob Knight said, on February 16, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Enjoyed? No. Loved? Yes! Have been sharing it with friends for days and find myself analyzing situations from a new perspective.

    Was looking at it from three perspectives– a desire for personal change, a desire as a professional counselor to help others change, and a desire as an educator to help organizations change. Found answers for all three.

    Most notable to me was the dominant mood of optimism throughout the book with respect to the fact that change is possible. Too often the “rider” side of us takes over and we reason our way out of change, especially when we think that change will be more painful than the current situation.

    The Heaths dispel that notion with their innumerable real life examples of change which should serve as a motivation to the “elephant” side of all of us. They accurately point out that we make changes regularly and if we would use those as a guide, we would be able to make more changes. Unfortunately, we tend to dwell upon the changes that were not accomplished and think change is impossible.

    Their 3 step approach provides a simple, but useful, framework to bringing about change.

    Three key elements I have already used are the idea of removing barriers to change; recognizing that the middle of change may never look like what we thought it would look like; and that the path from hope to confidence is a u-shaped path that includes hardship, toil, and frustration before the insight comes that will give us confidence.
    (I used that the U-shaped graph with my college English class in talking about writing a research paper.)

    An excellent read with examples that can transfer to many fields.

    Can’t wait for their next one.

    Highly recommend

  4. potus2016 said, on February 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    For the last five months I have been working on growing my people managing skills. While at a leadership conference I heard a very inspiring quote from Dave Ramsey, “The problem with your business, is yourself.” As Vice President of a family business and the eventual person to ultimately take over someday. I realized I need to be much better at everything that I can be.

    This lead me to reading several books on personal development and leadership. The latest book I have read is Switch by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. I have never found a better way of look at and dealing with “making change” happen with any sort of success. From the opening chapter, I felt like I had opened my eyes for the first time to the world of successful change.

    I spent nearly 11 years working for a large retail chain. In that time we went through many different kinds of change. Some changes were good and easy, others were a total and complete failure. They even tried using great ideas from other great authors, but didn’t engage “The Rider, The Elephant and The Path” properly, which lead to the typical corporate change.

    This idea of “The Rider, The Elephant and The Path” is such a logical approach to change that it seems crazy to even attempt any change without this approach. The only problem is, we never realize we are doing this when we have successful change and we don’t realize that the reason change failed is because we didn’t use this approach. Having now read this book, each time I need to implement change of any kind I will be using “The Rider, The Elephant and The Path.”

    This is a must read for any manager, business owner, HR Department head, CEO, Board Chairman, or any leader of any kind. Marriage and Family Councilors can really benefit from this book as well. Parents and spouses can better their relationships with their spouses and their kids, by better understanding how to incorporate changes in their households.

    Chip & Dan Heath have written another winner here. I really enjoyed the Clinic sections that really helped in understanding how to use this ides to manage the process of changing. I plan to buy several more of these to give to people struggling with change, or just trying to become better leaders who have to deal with change from time to time. Thanks Chip & Dan, you have saved me a lot of headaches to come. Keep the great work coming.

  5. Rachael said, on February 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Great book! Quick read. I found myself laughing out loud and truly inspired to view all decisions with a much more positive outlook.

    I work in an office of economic development, in a small, rural community whose only major change in the past 100 years has been from trains to automobiles. (well maybe not truly, but you get the idea). We have brought a fast paced, exciting work plan to this area, and undoubtedly have scared a few elephants. Switch outlines how we can harness those emotions and use them along with a distinct, clear path to move our community riders forward, together.

    I highly recommend this book, and already have a list of those eager to borrow it. The concepts of large changes being accomplished though small, achievable tasks, and having a “growth mindset” are ideas that will stick with me long after the book goes on my shelf.

  6. Janet said, on February 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Like the thoughts/ideas/research in Switch.

    My life motto is “one step at a time” … so its sweet to see the Heath’s affirm that’s how changes are best made. I like all the examples of how that worked for individuals and organizations.
    I love the section on “Finding the Bright Spot.” Though I’m an optimist, it’s still easy to point out what is wrong rather than focus on what is going right. Putting this into action regularly will be key in making changes myself or helping others switch something in their life.
    The examples on how to “Tweak the Environment” to help “Shape the Path” are helpful.

    My new formula to make changes happen …
    Direct + Motivate = Shape

    Will recommend this book to others.

  7. Daren said, on February 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I have owned a small video marketing company for nearly 15 years and now know some of why many of the changes I have tried to implement have not worked. While I’ve heard bits and pieces of the information in this book, the stories of how people applied strategies were great. The elephant/rider analogy made perfect sense and created a visual that I immediately got.

    Right off the bat, the writers make it clear that in this book they consider change at 3 levels – individual, organizational and societal. While this isn’t a unique approach, I would submit that it certainly is a brave one. However, as I read the book, I found that many of the examples they used had bits of each level throughout. Tough job, but they took that challenge and hit it out of the park.

    One of the points they made is that you have to “script the critical moves”. I had never heard that before and was curious as to what that meant. They go on to explain that “ambiguity is the enemy of change” and that “uncertainty makes the Elephant anxious”. I am often guilty of visioning an idea that ultimately goes nowhere. This scripting idea offers a solution because as they put it, “Big-picture, hands-off leadership isn’t likely to work in a change situation, because the hardest part of change – the paralyzing part – is precisely in the details.” Scripting those moves is paramount to see real change happen. Brilliant!

    I found this book difficult to put down. I was continually stopping to share stories with my wife, friends and even my kids. My time was well spent reading this latest offering from the Chip and Dan Heath. Now it’s off to the bookstore to get a copy of Made To Stick.

  8. Daniel Bass said, on February 16, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Imagine being confronted with a situation that you must change, but you don’t know where, or how, to start. The obstacles seem overwhelming, people are ambivalent, the decision-makers are set in their ways, and the resources available to you are scarce.

    When I was half-way through First Grade I had already been bounced through three different teachers…none of them believed that I would ever be able to read. My parents were told that I lacked the ability to concentrate, and therefore, was unable to learn. An event that seems all the more ironic now that I writing a book review.

    Lucky for me I had been blessed with parents who knew better…my mother was herself a First Grade teacher in another school system. She knew that there was a problem, but unlike the other ‘teachers’ she didn’t attribute the problem to a learning disability.

    What she did instead was change my situation. Instead of giving me the standard Sally, Dick, and Jane readers she let me choose the books I was interested in…and when I finished reading the book, I got a quarter. We had a understanding that the money earned would be used to buy the Star Wars action figures I coveted. Over the next four months I read over 80 books.

    What my mother had discovered is the first surprise about change discussed in ‘Switch’…”What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.” I didn’t have a learning disability, I was in a situation where I was bored and discouraged.

    By changing the situation my mother changed my behavior. By rewarding me for the small wins she encouraged me to keep the switch going. Over the course of my life I’ve often reflected on those events, but it was only after reading ‘Switch’ that I was able to articulate why my Mom succeeded.

    ‘Switch’ succeeds in giving the reader a useful framework for examining why change efforts experience success and failure. If you need to become an Agent of Change like Alyson Bass did…run, don’t walk, to your nearest book-store and buy this book! If you feel like your situation is hopeless and nothing will ever change…run, don’t walk, to your computer and order this book.

    The change you create might bring hope to countless numbers of people, or just one lost boy.

  9. elephanthunters said, on February 16, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Great feedback guys! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book and for being change agents!

  10. John Felkins said, on February 16, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Creating change when change is hard. This is such a huge, frequently visited subject I was cautious as I started reading this book. But I must confess, the authors did a great job of using stories and metaphor to reduce a complex problem into actionable points. One of my biggest take-a-aways from Switch was to look for the bright spots. As a recovering engineer I’m often too prone to use all of my problem solving skills too early on, which leads me down the path of looking at the negative and trying to solve for them. To study the bright spots would be a much for fruitful exercise much of the time. This book is something that not only adds value by helping me make the ‘Switch’ it will also add value to the clients I work with. Thanks Daniel!

  11. intriguer said, on February 16, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Have you ever been sick and tired of being sick and tired? Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, exercise more, kick a bad habit, etc.; and then the next week slipped back into the same old routine? There is a reason that people, organizations, and societies many times fall into this trap of trying to make a big change; and shortly thereafter fall back into the same old rut. Can’t we just change by trying harder? According to Chip and Dan Heath, the authors of “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard”, trying harder will never result in lasting change. All that it will do is tire the “Rider.”

    The authors explain that when we try to change, we have to use both the logical (the Rider) and the emotional (the Elephant) parts of our brain. The Rider is the part of us that decides to lose weight, but (as Chip and Dan illustrate) the Elephant is that part of us that goes hunting for the Cheetos in the pantry late at night. The Elephant will always take the easiest and most familiar course, whereas the Rider tries to take the most logical course. The Rider (our self-control or will power) will only allow us to re-route the Elephant for a short while before tiring. In order to make an effective “Switch” we must appeal to emotion (the Elephant). However, when the Elephant encounters an obstacle he will try to revert to the comfortable way of doing things. Thus, in order for change to occur, we not only have to motivate both the Rider and the Elephant; we must also “Shape the Path.” At times, we may wonder why an individual acts the way that he does. We may try to change his behavior, but meet with resistance. In cases like this, it is especially important to Shape the Path, because what appears to be a people problem may only be a “situation problem.” Change the situation, and you fix the person.

    Throughout “Switch”, Chip and Dan keep the reader immersed in real examples. They push those looking for change to search for positives (Bright Spots) in every situation. If you can find something that is working, duplicate that; and you will have a solution. We often think of change as something big and scary, but sometimes it comes in as small of a package as a simple kiss. As related by the authors, George and Paula had been married for eight years and had been fighting for two. They had been attending counseling sessions, but had made no dramatic progress. One morning, George simply kissed Paula, setting into motion a chain of events that affected their marriage, their kids, and even Paula’s attitude at work. Just a little kiss brought about these changes, because it gave their Elephants hope that they could change! Hope is what we all look for at one point in our life or another.

    We must break change into bite-size pieces, because if change looks too big it will scare our Elephant. “Until you can ladder your way down from a change idea to a specific behavior, you’re not ready to lead a switch. To create movement, you’ve got to be specific and be concrete.” Change is hard; however, since reading “Switch”, I now understand the psychology behind effective change. I’ve read lots of self-improvement books, books on success, goal-setting, and the like; but I’ve never read another one that brings the hope of effecting change down to such an individual level! You MUST read this book! It WILL change the way that you think! Thanks SO much to Chip and Dan Heath for an excellent job. “Switch” is definitely in my top ten list of books! You both have whet my reader’s appetite for your bestselling book, “Made to Stick”!

  12. Zack Stroup said, on February 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I will re-read my highlighted and marked up copy of ‘Switch’ because Chip Heath and Dan Heath have weaved together powerful stories about people like you and me: managers, CEO, designers, professors, salesmen, and nurses who use their resources, many times in limited supply, to tackle very complex and often times ambiguous / challenging obstacles. ‘Switch’ answers the ever present question “How to Change Things When Change is Hard.”

    The Heath brothers make it clear that analyzing large problems often paralyze us when there are numerous solutions, details, and moving parts to understand. On a personal note, I realized how often I come up with solutions to problems that are as large as the problem I am facing. This can lead to a frustrating, fruitless, and paralyzing problem solving process. I am sure you can relate. Complex solutions may take more energy, time, and resources than one has access to. I learned how to look for bright spots to create change instead to trying to analyze a problem.

    My main takeaway from this book is to overcome analysis paralysis by finding the bright spots and replicating them. When attempting to solve problems, I learned not to over analyze what is going wrong, but rather to shift my focus to finding the bright spots. This is a great strategy we can all implement immediately. Here is the simple recipe: Once you have identified the bright spots in any problem, repeat what works and this will empower you to achieve the positive change you desire.

    Reading ‘Switch’ is worth it!

    Daniel THANK YOU for the chance to read this book and be changed by the journey!

  13. Lenny Monroe said, on February 17, 2010 at 12:51 am

    “Change.” When that particular word is presented to a bunch of people, there can be a myriad of different reactions, but there’s always a reaction. This book, “SWITCH”, by the Heath brothers, brought change into a whole new light for me. They were able to take the concept, place it in a pizza box and then cut it up into an easily digestible format. There is so much in this book that I am excited to share with others, be it in the work world or our family life. My wife and I are going to go through it together in order to get a better idea of how to affect change in ourselves and our family circle.
    Being one who loves a good story, I especially appreciated the story-telling in this book. Stories make it easy to understand what the change-agents were going through and also a good behind-the-scenes look at what they were facing. Many times during my reading I caught myself wondering if my approach would have been the same. The part of the book that dealt with finding the bright spots made a lot of sense. Of course we should emphasize the good and not dwell on the bad. That just makes sense! But when I saw it actually played out in the stories in the book, it really hit home. That little chapter will serve our family for years to come, as well as any businesses we are involved in.
    Being a person who loves chaos and new adventures, I have always been perplexed by the opposite reaction when new opportunities present themselves. Now, with the help of “SWITCH” I’m more apt to understand and enter into those thoughts more readily than before.
    This is a great book. One I will gift to others and one I expect to read many more times. It’s going in the Kindle.

    Thanks Daniel!!!!

    Lenny Monroe

  14. Henry Brown said, on February 17, 2010 at 1:00 am

    There is nothing I can’t stand more than a book which gives a bunch of theoretical concepts no one has ever thought of actually doing. Switch is definitely not such a book! It is full of practical ideas and real-world examples of those ideas at work. The ideas are not just for a C-level executives; they are ideas anyone at any level in an organization can implement to affect change.

    The authors’ admitted purpose was to create a simple, practical framework for creating change. They provide you with research and statistics for background, but they always pair the academic with actual examples of “impossible” change.

    I tend to be very logical and “in my head” most of the time. From reading Switch I learned that I need to appeal to people’s Elephants (or passion) more.

    Switch is a very inspiring book which everyone should read.

  15. lance cashion said, on February 17, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Thanks for the book, Dan. I’ll make sure to let others know about it.

    Switch goes down many paths and paints many pictures of Change. We’re not talking about change for the sake of change. We’re talking about change for the sake of good (improving health, increasing business, serving others, teaching, increasing efficiency, saving lives, etc). The book lays out several examples of instigating and executing change successfully where change is needed but may appear difficult. I noticed most of the examples used in the book were real-life stories where an underdog character or group made something happen that caused a positive event to occur. These methods were simple, effective and were deployed by people who set out to solve a problem and/or make an improvement. Simplicity seems counter-intuitive but the authors provide some great narrative and examples to point out that big change does not need big planning or extensive research. Being creative and recognizing what actually motivates people to abandon old behavior patterns and buy into something different that will improve the situation or environment is the thread that runs through the tapestry created in “Switch”. Focusing on bright spots, keeping well away from too many options that cause Decision Paralysis and other insights add a deeper psychological nuance to the book that I enjoyed and overlooked in my own attempts to make change happen.

    The Elephant and Rider analogy is used as the relational theme of struggle, cooperation and perseverance throughout the book (Our rational and emotional minds). I could relate to the stories used to illustrate what makes up change and how to make it happen when you may feel like you are up against an impenetrable wall of opposition. It’s the Elephant’s directed strength and endurance that will transform that wall into a door. But, its the Rider who must direct the initial process and map the “critical moves” to reach the goal. Both must work in concert to achieve results. Apart, they are ineffective.

    I found “Switch” to be fascinating. Although, there were a couple stories that seemed to drag a bit. I learned applicable lessons. From the psychology of initializing change to the after effects of change. The end user experience, the lives transformed, the innovation, the improvement made by an individual human with one idea, one vision that made the world different in a good way. Casting a vision that stirs emotions and conjures up “feelings” seem to be the best way the Rider can direct the Elephant’s behavior. Often the change I wanted dies a death of a thousand cuts by way of over-analysis, too much research and no gas left in the self-control tank.

    Reading “Switch” was a rewarding experience.
    Lance Cashion
    (see more in my blog…)

  16. misty said, on February 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    When I launched into Switch, I could hardly put it down. The ideas and thoughts expressed in many ways were so simple and yet had profound impact on me in the way I view change, recoginizing the issue at hand that needs change, how I / others process the thoughts and action plan on implementing change, and the way that change is apart of every aspect of life. The book held my attention for the most part, though there were a few spots I felt it seemed to get bogged down in trying to make a point.

    The initial concept (that really was the punch line of the book) is the concept of The Rider and The Elephant and how it takes both of these emotional and rational aspects to be able to change behavior because knowledge alone does not. For behavior to change you have to influence not only the/their environment but the/their heart and mind. To do this, you can cajole, influence, inspire and motivate. The situation must change for change to happen. It’s an attempt to change the culture, the linchpin of successful organizational change You must find bright spots; “successful efforts worth emulating” and be savvy at reinforcing these behaviors. This illuminates the road map for action and sparks hope that change is possible. This creates a destination postcard – a vivid picture from the near-term that shows what hard work can make possible. Ask whats working not whats wrong. Clarity dissolves resistance. Decision paralysis disrupts decisions and affects you; you become overloaded and choice no longer liberates, it debilitates. Change brings uncertainty and is a process. Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors which means you have to “script the critcal moves”. Progress is precious. It takes patience, focus and reinforcement every step of the journey. Small successes can be extremely powerful in helping people believe in themselves. Big changes can start with very small steps, which tend to snowball. All this is stregthened with practice and an inspiration to endure to make the necessary change. Motivation will be your hardest struggle as you try to make the switch. Change follows a pattern, embrace it!

    I tried to put myself in each story and realized that I acted as The Rider and The Elephant differently depending on the circumstances. I found this an eye opener and a learning tool for me. I want to spend more time studing The Rider and The Elephant attributes and how they affect each other so that as I focus on change I know what needs cultivating and tweaking so that I have a clearer Path. I also thought the simple point of checklists was a great concept for building consistent habits. As the book states: A scholar is someone who lives to learn and is good at it.

    Thank you Daniel Tardy for giving me a chance to be a scholar!

    (due to scheduling and work conflicts, I did not post this book review on time, it was due yesterday 02.16.2010)

  17. lance said, on February 24, 2010 at 11:55 am


    Posted a review on Amazon this morning. I wanted to see how I felt about the book a week after finishing it before posting on Amazon. I’ve found myself referring back to the book several times. That tells me that it resonates with me for longer than a few days.

    I have decided to do some experiments using ideas in the book. I’m an empiricalist by nature. So, the proof will be in the pudding (so to speak).

    Take care

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