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This is a review of the first part of “Switch - How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book describes three major ways to make change happen in any part of your business, organization, or life. They describe the three methods - as directing the Rider (your rational mind), motivating the Elephant (your emotions), and shaping the path (providing guidance on how to get there).
This post will focus on the directing the Rider. The Rider is the rational mind and can often get stuck in “analysis paralysis” when a change is occurring. The Rider might not know how to change or what to do or it could be exhausted from trying so hard to change (and moving past the emotional Elephant) that it loses steam. The rational mind can also get stuck in choosing the short term gain versus the longer term view of things (e.g. - eating chocolate now or losing weight in the long term).
So what do Chip Heath and Dan Heath say about directing the Rider? They say first that you need to find some bright spots or positive examples of when this change has successfully happened in the past. For example when have you been able to implement a successful process or technology change? What were the key components of making that successful? The Heath brothers argue that if you or someone in your organization has been able to do it before then you can do it again. It is like Tony Robbins always says: “Success leaves signs.”
The second way that Chip and Dan Heath say that you can direct the Rider is to give it direction. They say that the best way to get of the analysis of the mind is to envision a future where the change already exists. Lay it that vision in detail and know what that long term looks like and feels like. Then they say to script out the critical moves to get there. If the new vision is a new process change then script out what the old process is, what the new process could be, the gaps, and then first 5-10 ten steps on how to achieve that new process. Then your employees will know exactly what to do in bite size pieces so that they can start to make the change without the rational mind getting in the way.
So what bright spots can you identify in your organization to help you with your current change process? Or what vision are you trying to achieve in your life? And how can you map out the critical steps that you can use to start getting there today?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.