Valuable Life and Career Lessons from Switch
In their book Switch, Dan and Chip Heath refer to the two sides of our mind as ‘the Rider’ (the rational side) and ‘the Elephant’ (the emotional side).
The Rider is the side responsible for deliberating, analyzing and making plans. The Elephant on the other hand can derail the Rider by telling ourselves what we really want to do.
For example, your Rider side may want to wake up early and go to the gym every day. The Elephant side however may love to sleep in and skip the gym.
Once the Rider and Elephant are working together, it creates a platform to enable positive change.
You then need to ‘shape the path’ to help the rider and elephant reach their destination in the easiest way possible.
So there are three sections outlined in the book to make a successful switch: direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and script the path. Here is a summary of those parts, with the key behaviors required for each of them.
Direct the Rider
Find the Bright Spots
When we try to make positive change, we often look at what needs to be fixed.
Instead, we should look at what things are already working and ask ourselves how we can do more of that. By simply reproducing valuable behaviors, we can allow change to happen easily.
Script the Critical Moves
Sometimes we find ourselves having multiple options at our disposal, forcing us to go back to our default plan.
To achieve change successfully, we need to translate our goals into concrete behaviors. Think about the specific behaviors you want to see in yourself or others.
Script the moves to achieving change as clear as possible to avoid confusion – confusion causes a tendency to revert to our old actions.
Point to the Destination
Another way to make sure you stay on track with changes is to set smart, specific goals.
Create a vivid image to show exactly what can be achieved in the near future. Then back up this image with a script outlining the behaviors you want to see.
Motivate the Elephant
Find the Feeling
Emotion motivates the elephant. To change situations within a group environment, changing the behavior of people should be the priority.
A leader taps into the feelings that motivate people to become interested in making a behavioral change. By influencing emotions, you can better help people motivate themselves to the goal.
Shrink the Change
Hope fuels the elephant’s motivation to change. Provide the Elephant with some immediate gratification by giving them small wins.
Make a bunch of small things you can do that will keep you moving forward and remain motivated. These small wins need to be both meaningful and within your immediate reach.
Making the task too big will force the Elephant to resist change. Rather, make small changes that help yourself and others feel they are closer to the finish line than they actually are.
Grow your People
The elephant should believe they are capable of making the change. If someone accepts that failure is a natural part of growth, they will be more willing to accept new challenges.
Remind yourself and others that in order to get good at something, you must first be bad at it. So accept that failure is necessary to be able to grow and make positive change.
Shape the Path
Tweak the Environment
Leaving your environment in its current state when you want change to occur will probably end up in failure. Tweak the environment so good actions are easier to perform, and bad actions are harder.
For example, put yourself in a work space where distractions are limited and you can improve your productivity.
For us to make change, we need to learn how to change our habits. Put good habits into practice, and good behaviors will follow.
The habit should serve and advance your mission, while also being easy to embrace.
In addition, it is easier to change habits when the environment changes.
Rally the Herd
In times of change, people don’t know how to behave and that can lead to problems.
People often follow the actions of their peers. When someone is unsure or uncomfortable in a situation, they look at those around them to provide answers.
Channel the environment so good behaviors can spread. Once you notice people embracing this behavioral change, highlight to them that the change is working.
The Bottom Line
Entrepreneurs should continually push to make positive changes for both themselves and others. Accept that change will only result through changing behaviors – get the Rider and the Elephant on the same page.
Set goals to be realistic and crystal clear. Develop the exact behaviors that will allow these goals and changes to happen.
To reach these goals, set small achievable milestones to feed the Elephant’s motivation to change. Push for small wins, while making the ultimate vision clear.
Finally, create an environment where positive changes can be made efficiently. This environment should be one that allows people to embrace failure as part of natural progression.