LEADERSHIP SUMMIT 2009 – Chip & Dan Heath: Switch

Posted on August 7, 2009




There are certain kinds of changes in the world that are really big that seem to happen effortlessly, but then there are the others that seem excruciating. Why is that?

Change is filled with conflict. Part of us want to save for retirement, but then splurge; lose weight, but then eat a cookie. Part of us wants to change, but part of us want the status quo.

There are two systems in our brains. One is the planner and the intellectual arguments, and the other is the visionary.

In a time of change, there are a lot of things that are not working, so you can’t follow the things that aren’t failing. It’s key to focus on what is working and clone it. The bright spots are proof that people are capable of solving their problems.

Big problems…small solutions: Shrink the change. Find some small victories that can motivate and assist in inspiration. As you go through change, you’ll start high on “hope,” and you’ll end high on “confidence,” but in the middle, you’ll experience a “valley of insight.”

Have a “growth mindset.” “With work, I can become a better ___.” Built in to that process is a tolerance for failure. And, failure is not to be avoided. In a weird way, failure may be an early warning sign for success. If you go to the gym, you’ll lift that bar until you can’t lift it any more. (cf. Tom Watson story, “I just spent $10 million educating you.”)

We might not have a person problem, but a situation problem. When we say that someone is not committed, we make judgments about their individualism, rather than about all the other things around them. Sculpting the path is so important in creating the change. Again, we don’t have a people problem, we have a situation problem.

The predictable pattern of change. If we can reverse engineer success, we may be able to find insights to change.