I read “Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard” for my Changing Environments of Business MBA class, and I was totally fascinated by the book. I loved how Chip & Dan Heath broke down the grand scope of change and all of the facets that need to be addressed when trying to institute change.
The book teaches that in order for things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. “Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team… Each person has an emotional elephant side, and a rational rider side. You’ve got to reach both. And you’ve also got to clear the way for them to succeed.”
It was truly a phenomenal read…
So, to save you some time, per the Heath brothers’ teachings, here’s a quick list of the 10 things everyone must know when trying to effectively lead change:
1. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.
The emotional Elephant and rational Rider are usually on two different pages and trying to persuade the Elephant often exhausts your mind. For example, When you try so hard to stay away from fattening foods because you’re on a diet, you mind will get exhausted and won’t want to find the temptation any longer forcing you to finally give in. The Elephant will usually win over the Rider.
2. Make your goals are reachable and specific.
If your goals are not specific, then you may tend to go in circles when trying to achieve your goal. Taking small steps is best way to achieve any big time change in your life. Too big of a step can end up being too overwhelming and cause you to give up more easily.
3. The Rider part of our minds has many strengths.
The Rider is a thinker and a planner and can plot a course for a better future. But as the book teaches, the Rider has a terrible weakness – the tendency to spin his wheels. The Rider loves to contemplate and analyze, and, making matters worse, his analysis is almost always directed at problems rather than at bright spots.
This creates “analysis paralysis” – the Rider doesn’t end up wanting to move.
4. There are better ways to make a change than what you think.
These methods of change are most likely plain and simple, but you have to set forth a goal to achieve this change. You can’t just say, “Hey, I want to gain 25 pounds of muscle soon,” and it automatically starts to happen. No! You must set realistic goals – ones that involve more thought.
5. Sometimes we tend to take the easy way out because that was the first plan given to us. And when we look at the facts we look at the negative side, this leads us back to our original environment, which may not always be the best.
6. Our emotions can overwhelm our rational thought, while relying solely on rational behavior can lead you to “overanalyze and overthink things.” Be careful of this balance.
7. “In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions – not just thought.”
“In other words, when change works, it’s because leaders are speaking to the Elephant as well as to the Rider.” Change only works if the Elephant and Rider are working together.
8. The gates of large goals are lined with small accomplishments.
Remember to compliment yourself when completing little steps towards your goal. This strategy will help motivate you and keep you moving forward.
9. When people put off change until tomorrow, you need to shrink the change so that person can start today.
10. Any new quest, even one that is ultimately successful, is going to involve failure.
You can’t learn to code without breaking a website. You can’t learn to be an doctor, or a teacher, or an athlete, or a lawyer without failing. Nor can you learn to transform the way products are developed in your firm, or change minds about urban poverty, or restore loving communication with your spouse, without failing.
And the Elephant really, really hates to fail.” So how is it that you keep the Elephant motivated to not give up? “The answer may sound strange: You need to create the expectation of failure – not the failure of the mission itself, but failure en route.”
You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You need to cultivate a culture of being OK with trying without the guarantee of success.
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What steps do you take to lead change in your life or business? I’d love to hear your comments below!