At the end of the day, if the Elephant is not motivated and kept in check, then when the Elephant and Rider disagree, the Elephant will always win. This metaphor helps explain why change is difficult. The authors agree that we are right to offer data and arguments to convince people rationally that a problem exists and that our solution is worth pursuing.
However, 2 guidelines can improve the efficacy of our advice. First, we need to offer specific, measurable goals. The authors use dieting as an example. Is a low-carb diet healthy this year?
What about fiber? Is that still a thing? What about red wine? Instead, give them concrete actions to take, whether that means showing them screenshots of what this means for their workflow, or giving them a simple 3-step plan for moving forward. Find out the underlying cause and disseminate it more broadly.
The authors give a great example of researchers who were interested in improving growth and health of children in an impoverished area. These were changes that other families could make within their contexts and budgets. Next, you have to motivate the Elephant. This means you need to show people why you are trying to create a change. Tell a story that illustrates the downsides of the current policy. Give concrete examples of how the change has produced benefits. In medicine the focus is typically on patient care, safety, or efficiency. However, the motivation could be based on improved physician or staff well-being as well.
So keep those Elephants motivated. Trainers apply the same technique to animals. Instead, you give him a piece of mango just for touching the skateboard. Then when he tries sitting on it you give him more mango. CADE: How could you tell that the other was really listening? Pauses, then laughs. What the therapist is trying to demonstrate, in a subtle way, is that the client is capable of solving her own problem. For instance, Brian Cade worked with a mother whose children were out of control.
In what circumstances do they seem to behave better? CADE: How could they tell that? Cade asks her what the kids might notice on good days. MOM: I think I just look calmer. CADE: What else? MOM: I probably greet them more enthusiastically and smile more. Solutions-focused therapists believe that there are exceptions to every problem and that those exceptions, once identified, can be carefully analyzed, like the game film of a sporting event.
What was happening? How did you behave?
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Were you smiling? Did you make eye contact? And that analysis can point directly toward a solution that is, by definition, workable. After all, it worked before. Those bright spots are gold to be mined. Notice again that bright spots provide not only direction for the Rider but hope and motivation for the Elephant. What does this mean for you? You may not fight malnutrition, and you may not need therapy.
You hosted an offsite training program for ten managers so they could practice the recommended new style of in-the-moment feedback, and they all left the program pledging to experiment with it. After four weeks, you start to hear back from some of the managers, and their results have been mixed. Two of the managers seem genuinely transformed—excited about the way the faster feedback has improved their relationships with team members. Five of the managers are weakly positive, saying they tried it a few times. One is an outright skeptic and thinks the whole initiative is hogwash.
What now? The bright spots give you an action plan: Go investigate the two successful managers. First, see if either situation is an anomaly. The extra social contact made him feel good but annoyed team members who were constantly interrupted. That manager is not a real bright spot. The other success might be legitimate. Maybe the manager, Debbie, devised a tracking sheet that reminds her to provide feedback to every employee every week.
Have the other managers spend an hour or two shadowing Debbie, seeing firsthand how she incorporated the new style into her workday. Get Debbie to attend your next offsite training program so she can coach other managers on the mechanics of quick feedback. Focusing on bright spots can be counterintuitive for businesses. It had proved effective in preventing asthma attacks for many patients.
Yet six months after launch, sales of Xolair remained well below expectations. Pascale and his team were asked to help figure out why Xolair was underperforming. They immediately started looking for bright spots and soon found one: Two saleswomen who worked the Dallas—Fort Worth area were selling twenty times more Xolair than their peers. Further investigation revealed that the women were using a fundamentally different kind of sales pitch. Rather than selling the health benefits of the drug—which doctors largely understood—they were helping doctors understand how to administer the drug.
Xolair was not a pill or an inhaler; it required infusion via an intravenous drip. This technique was unfamiliar and therefore Elephant- spooking to the allergists and pediatricians who would be prescribing the drug. Here was a classic bright-spot situation. And here is where a cautionary tale intrudes on our success story. What actually happened was this: The superior results of the Dallas—Fort Worth reps were viewed with suspicion! Later investigation established that the two women had the same type of client base as the other reps. Even successes can look like problems to an overactive Rider.
We get along great. Smith and her class that seemed to help him behave well. For instance, Ms. Smith always greeted him as soon as he walked into class. Other teachers, understandably, avoided him. She gave him easier work, which she knew he could complete Bobby has a learning disability. And whenever the class started working on an assignment, she checked with Bobby to make sure he understood the instructions.
Using Ms. Check to make sure he understands the instructions. What Murphy had avoided, of course, was archaeology. The mental quibbles could have come so easily: Ms. Instead, Murphy found a bright spot, and he trusted it. Bobby also made striking progress on day-to-day behavior as measured by the three metrics.
Before solutions-focused therapy, his teachers typically rated his performance as acceptable in only 1 or 2 out of 6 class periods per day. After solutions-focused therapy, he was rated as acceptable in 4 or 5 of the 6 periods. Bobby is still not a model student. Notice something remarkable about both the Vietnam and the Bobby case studies. In each one, relatively small changes—cooking with sweet-potato greens, greeting Bobby at the door—had a big impact on a big problem. There is a clear asymmetry between the scale of the problem and the scale of the solution. Big problem, small solution.
This is a theme you will see again and again. Big problems are rarely solved with commensurately big solutions. Instead, they are most often solved by a sequence of small solutions, sometimes over weeks, sometimes over decades. When the Rider analyzes a problem, he seeks a solution that befits the scale of it. But that mental model is wrong.
How to Change Things When Change is Hard
For instance, in analyzing malnutrition in Vietnam, the experts had exhaustively analyzed all the big systemic forces that were responsible for it: lack of sanitation, poverty, ignorance, lack of water. No doubt they also concocted big systemic plans to address those forces. But that was fantasy. Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. Psychologists who have studied this phenomenon—our predilection for the negative—have reached some fascinating conclusions.
In a more exhaustive study, a psychologist analyzed emotion words—every one that he could find in the English language—and found that 62 percent of them were negative versus 38 percent positive. According to an old urban legend, Eskimos have different words for snow. Well, it turns out that negative emotions are our snow.
This negative focus is not confined to emotions. Across the board, we seem wired to focus on the negative. People pay closer attention to the bad stuff, reflect on it more, remember it longer, and weigh it more heavily in assessing the person overall. Across multiple domains—work and politics and sports and personal life— people were more likely to spontaneously bring up and attempt to explain negative events than positive ones.
Bad is stronger than good. To see it, consider this situation: Your child comes home one day with her report card. Where will you spend your time as a parent? This hypothetical comes from author Marcus Buckingham, who says that nearly all parents will tend to fixate on the F. You must really have a strength in this subject. How can we build on that? But when things break, he snaps to attention and starts applying his problem-solving skills. But when they make a D or an F, you spring into action.
What if the Rider had a more positive orientation? Imagine a world in which you experienced a rush of gratitude every single time you flipped a light switch and the room lit up. But in times of change, it needs to be. Our Rider has a problem focus when he needs a solution focus. Take Jerry Sternin. He came into an environment riddled with failure. The opportunities for analysis were endless. He could have stayed in Vietnam for twenty years, writing position papers on the malnutrition problem.
But what he knew was this: Even in failure there is success. An alcoholic goes an hour without a drink. Three sales reps out of fifty sell like crazy. A few Vietnamese mothers, with no more money than any others, manage to raise healthy kids. These flashes of success—these bright spots—can illuminate the road map for action and spark the hope that change is possible.
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A doctor was asked to consider the medical records of a year-old patient who had chronic hip pain from arthritis. Recovery from hip- replacement surgery is long and painful. Now the doctor faced a dilemma: Should he prescribe the untried medication, even though other medications had failed, or should he go ahead and refer the patient for surgery? This dilemma, based on real medical cases, was created by physician Donald Redelmeier and psychologist Eldar Shafir, who used it to study the way doctors make decisions. When doctors were presented with this case history, 47 percent of them chose to try the medication, in hopes of saving the patient from going under the knife.
But when the doctors were presented with two medications, only 28 percent chose to try either one. The doctors were acting as though having more medication options somehow made medication a worse bet than surgery. What happened here is decision paralysis. More options, even good ones, can freeze us and make us retreat to the default plan, which in this case was a painful and invasive hip-replacement surgery.
This behavior clearly is not rational, but it is human. The more choices the Rider is offered, the more exhausted the Rider gets. Have you ever noticed that shopping is a lot more tiring than other kinds of light activity? This is important, because we encounter excess choice all around us. Consider three real examples of decision paralysis: Scene 1: A gourmet food store.
The store managers have set up a table where customers can sample imported jams for free. One day, the table showcases 6 different jams. Another day, 24 jams. Shoppers who saw only 6 jams on display are 10 times more likely to buy a jar of jam! Scene 2: The office. The employees of a large company read over their k materials, ready to start saving for retirement. The human resources department has thoughtfully provided many investment options: domestic growth stock funds, domestic value stock funds, municipal bond funds, real estate investment trusts, emerging market funds, developed market funds, money market accounts, and more.
Each category might have several choices within it. Really complete k plans might offer dozens of options. Decision paralysis deters people from saving for their own retirement! Scene 3: A local bar. Singles meet a series of other singles one-on-one, spending perhaps five minutes with each person, in hopes of making a romantic connection. But decision paralysis thwarts even Cupid. Bottom line: Decision paralysis disrupts medical decisions and retail decisions and investment decisions and dating decisions.
Think about the sources of decision paralysis in your organization. Every business must choose among attractive options. Growing revenue quickly versus maximizing profitability. Making perfect products versus getting products to market faster. Being innovative and creative versus optimizing efficiency. If you fold together lots of those tensions, you create a surefire recipe for paralysis.
How many options do your people have? Think about your local school board. Every year, the problems and solutions multiply. Choice no longer liberates, it debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize. The status quo feels comfortable and steady because much of the choice has been squeezed out. You have your routines, your ways of doing things. For most of your day, the Rider is on autopilot.
Change brings new choices that create uncertainty. Ambiguity does, too. In times of change, you may not know what options are available. And this uncertainty leads to decision paralysis as surely as a table with 24 jams. Ambiguity is exhausting to the Rider, because the Rider is tugging on the reins of the Elephant, trying to direct the Elephant down a new path.
But when the road is uncertain, the Elephant will insist on taking the default path, the most familiar path, just as the doctors did. Because uncertainty makes the Elephant anxious. Think of how, in an unfamiliar place, you gravitate toward a familiar face. In Chapter 1, we explained why what looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. What they needed was someone who could bring a noble goal within the realm of everyday behavior, someone who could cut through the bewildering array of potentially healthy choices and suggest a good place to start.
Ambiguity is the enemy. Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors. In short, to make a switch, you need to script the critical moves. He split the system into seven different branches shades of Ma Bell and auctioned off the rights to run them. Previous administrations had not invested much in the rail system, and at the time of the auction, it was a deteriorating mess. The technologies used in Brazil were far behind those in other developed countries.
In fact, the rail system was still using twenty locomotives powered by steam engines. GP was high bidder in the auction in December After an interim period of management, the firm put one of its own executives, Alexandre Behring, in charge of the company, which was later renamed America Latina Logistica ALL. When Behring took charge, he was in his early 30s—just four years out of business school.
ALL had only 30 million Brazilian reals in cash on its balance sheet. Though sympathetic, Behring knew that fixing everything that was broken would require hundreds of millions of reals. The railroad purchased by GP was in chaos, and when Behring and his team took charge, with new personnel and new priorities, more chaos was whipped into the preexisting chaos. The resulting decision paralysis should have been inescapable. His top priority was to lift ALL out of its precarious, cash-strapped financial state. Rule 2: The best solution to any problem was the one that would cost the least money up front—even if it ended up costing more in the long term, and even if it was a lower-quality solution.
Rule 3: Options that would fix a problem quickly were preferred to slower options that would provide superior long-term fixes. Rule 4: Reusing or recycling existing materials was better than acquiring new materials. The four rules were clear: 1 Unblock revenue. Spend a little, make a little more. Inertia and decision paralysis will conspire to keep people doing things the old way. To spark movement in a new direction, you need to provide crystal-clear guidance. Recall that, in West Virginia, the researchers decided to focus their campaign on milk because it was the source of the most saturated fat in the average diet.
He needed his people to move, immediately, in a new direction, in hopes that they could buy ALL enough time to make a fuller transformation. By staying focused on the critical moves, he made it easier for his people to change direction. Faster is better than best. This reduced downtime, allowing more routes per locomotive, just as Southwest Airlines gets more flights per plane than its competitors because of its quick turnarounds at the gate. Unblock revenue. Behring had scripted the moves that helped his people make hard decisions.
What tires out the Rider—and puts change efforts at risk—is ambiguity, and Behring eliminated it. For every investment decision, his rules suggested the correct choice. Imagine that the leaders of the hospital had scripted their critical moves, and that one of those moves was this: Use invasive options only as a last resort.
Switch – How to change things when change is hard – Book Summary - AgileLeanLife
At the end of each Clinic, we give our own suggestions, but we encourage you to generate your own game plan before you look at ours. We hope you find this a useful way to practice applying the framework. The Clinics are written to be sidebars—if you prefer to plow through the prose uninterrupted, you can return to them later.
Why do people always turn them in late? Frustrated, Barbara starts composing a reminder e-mail, full of underlined words and exclamation points. Many true stories. The behavior Barbara wants is clear: Employees need to file their expense reports by the deadline.
Book Review: Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
Maybe the process is sufficiently complicated that it paralyzes the Rider. Maybe the process is perfectly clear, but the Elephant always finds things it would rather be doing. Or maybe the reporting systems are so antiquated that the Path is one giant speed bump. Find the bright spots. Barbara should investigate her bright spots—the 62 percent of employees who file their expense reports on time every month. What are they doing differently? Script the critical moves. Barbara should observe a few laggards as they complete their reports. Find the feeling.
Barbara needs to find something people can care about. Tweak the environment. How easy are the expense- report forms to fill out? Rally the herd. Many people may conclude, falsely, that everyone turns in the reports late, that lateness is accepted behavior. Why would she send them unless lots of people are slacking? But why did these changes need to be scripted? Not many people know that a glass of whole milk has the same amount of saturated fat as five bacon strips. What would such an antimatter campaign look like?
It might look very much like the U. A pyramid signifies hierarchy, yet no hierarchy is evident in the Food Pyramid. The first version of it displayed rows of food, one row on top of the next, with grains at the bottom and oils at the top. Some people interpreted this arrangement to mean that oils were the most important food group. The revised version, shown here, abandoned that construct for vertical-ish streaks of color intended to eliminate any implied ranking. What this means is that the pyramid structure itself has no meaning whatsoever. Look at it again—its meaning is almost completely opaque.
What do the streaks mean? The only meaning that can be gleaned quickly comes from the stick figure dashing up the side. How often? What kind? For instance, the USDA advises that adults consume about 5 to 7 teaspoons of oil each day. Quick, how many teaspoons of oil did you consume today? As an analogy, most of us have internalized the rule of thumb to get the oil in our cars changed every 3 months or 3, miles.
What if, instead, the auto industry publicized its version of the disastrous Food Pyramid—say, a Car Rainbow, where each color of the rainbow represents a different diagnostic test. OK, the Food Pyramid is almost too easy to pick on.
But the lessons here are serious and practical. If you are leading a change effort, you need to remove the ambiguity from your vision of change. Granted, this is asking a lot. They found that, across the spectrum, almost everyone set goals: 89 percent of the top third and 86 percent of the bottom third. A typical goal might be to improve inventory turns by 50 percent. But the more successful change transformations were more likely to set behavioral goals: 89 percent of the top third versus only 33 percent of the bottom third.
For instance, a behavioral goal might be that project teams would meet once a week and each team would include at least one representative of every functional area. How far does this theory go? How much difference can specific instructions make? In , a study was conducted of parents who had abused their children. Seventy-three percent of them had assaulted their kids—hitting or punching them with their fists. Twenty percent had engaged in even more violent assaults, resulting in broken bones or severe lacerations.
The parents tended to blame their abusive behavior on their kids. The parent and child sit in an empty room with only a table and chairs. Three or four toys are put on the tabletop. Letting their child direct the action is incredibly difficult for them. During the play session, a therapist watches the parents through a one-way mirror and gives real-time coaching by means of an earpiece.
The child objects. Pink is not a good color for the rainbow! Whatever the child is doing, the parent offers no resistance, so the child has nothing to fight against. An abusive parent typically finds the five-minute exercise utterly exhausting. The more instinctive a behavior becomes, the less self-control from the Rider it requires, and thus the more sustainable it becomes.
Parents are taught skills that feel unnatural at first. Half of them were randomly assigned to take 12 sessions of PCIT, and the other half were assigned to take 12 sessions of a form of angermanagement therapy, focused on helping them control their emotions—the standard treatment for abusive parents. After the therapy sessions concluded, the parents were tracked for 3 years. Across 3 years, 60 percent of the anger-management-therapy group committed another act of child abuse. In contrast, only 20 percent of the PCIT parents re- offended.
PCIT did not eliminate the problem: One in five parents abused his or her kids again. But, from the perspective of behavior change, the results are staggering. Most of us believe in our hearts that child abusers are irredeemably flawed. Who could hit a child other than someone who is disturbed in some basic way? It simply boggles the mind to think that the behavior of child abusers could be altered by only twelve sessions of therapy concentrating on such simple instructions. They think that their child is woeful, because they told their 3-year-old to just play in the front yard, and then he wandered off into the street.
It is simply to point out that simple scripting has power beyond what any of us could have predicted. Even child abusers become pliable in its presence. They wanted to do something, anything, that might revive their dying community. Howard and surrounding Miner County had been shrinking for decades. Farm and industrial jobs had slowly dried up, and nothing replaced them.
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The population was about 3, and shrinking. At Howard High School, the students had just finished reading a book about the death of rural communities in Iowa. The problem was simply too complex for anyone to solve. The Elephant herd was ready to move. But where? What can a few people do to restore an entire county?
One finding in particular disturbed them: They discovered that half of the residents were shopping outside the county, driving an hour to Sioux Falls to shop in larger stores. If Miner County was going to be reborn, its economy would need a boost. Parry urged the students to present their findings to the community. The students accepted the challenge and began to put together a presentation.
A group of other Miner County citizens had been hosting a series of meetings intended to get county residents talking about the future. They challenged each other: What can we do to energize Miner County? The issues raised were all over the map: Why does our town look so shabby, with rusty cars on the street?
Many of the issues were TBU, unsolvable by the community. But there were a few things they knew they could take into their own hands. A gas station owner in the town of Fedora, population , complained that residents years ago had cut down a lot of diseased trees—stumps were still littering the area, making Fedora look run-down and sad. The group of concerned citizens decided to deal with the stumps in Fedora.
One Saturday, farmers carrying chain saws rode into Fedora on their tractors and loaders. Other residents made sandwiches and cookies for the workers. In a single day, the group dug up four hundred stumps. Kathy Callies, who was heading up the kitchen crew that day, said it was amazing to see fifty people, ages ranging from 5 to 95, come together to do something for their community. The flush of victory—of making a difference—gave the Elephant strength to continue.
And the strong support of the community made the Path feel less difficult. The community began to rally around the movement. Callies remembered the day that Phyllis, a civic-minded woman in her 80s, dropped by the office where the community boosters were meeting. I thought if you needed my help, you would call. Among them were the top leaders of the towns in Miner County: the school boards, the city councils, and the county commissioners.
The crowd listened attentively to the high school students. The audience was impressed, and the presentation worked better than anyone expected. The students had scripted the first critical move for Miner County, and the locals responded immediately, consciously spending more of their money in the county. The change began to snowball. Suddenly, because the county was collecting more taxes, money was available to fund the other proposals the local groups had considered. Randy Parry left his teaching job and became a full-time revitalizer-in-chief.
The town of Howard became the host to twenty-first- century businesses such as an organic beef producer and a wind-turbine repair shop. But then you start to win and a few people come, and then more people come. And then we started winning a lot. A railroad and a South Dakota small town. Both crumbling. In each situation, an unlikely leader emerged—a young man fresh out of business school and a high school basketball coach.
And both succeeded by formulating solutions that were strikingly smaller than the problems they were intended to solve. The challenges facing Miner County were big and sprawling: the decline of an industrial base, the aging of a population. The citizens understood these challenges well, but the knowledge was TBU—true but useless. It was paralyzing knowledge. To the Rider, a big problem calls for a big solution. The Rider will just spin his wheels trying to make sense of it.
The Rider has to be jarred out of introspection, out of analysis. Shop a little more in Miner County. Clarity dissolves resistance. Crystal Jones joined Teach For America in She was assigned to teach the first-grade class at an elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia. The school had no kindergarten, so for many of the kids, Jones would be their first teacher. At the beginning of the year, the skill gaps among her students were daunting. They were all on different levels, and no one was really where they needed to be for first grade. She could create great lesson plans and activities she could script the critical moves.
But to what end? That ambitious and specific set of goals was probably quite useful to the teacher in her planning. Crystal Jones, in contrast, knew that if she wanted to motivate the kids, she had to speak their language. Not literally, of course, but in the sense that they would be at third-grade skill levels. That goal was tailor-made for the first-grade psyche. First graders know very well what third graders look like—they are bigger, smarter, and cooler. Jones chose the goal carefully. She knew exactly what the third-grade standards in Georgia required, and she knew where her kids were starting.
She genuinely thought she could close the gap. The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems - the rational mind and the emotional mind - that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie.
The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort - but if it is overcome, change can come quickly. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
Read more Read less. Save Extra with 4 offers. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck. Chip Heath. The Power of Moments. Daniel H. How Will You Measure your Life? Leading Change, with a New Preface by the Author. Customers who bought this item also bought. Hans Rosling. Atomic Habits. James Clear. Richard H Thaler. Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking. Susan Cain.
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