Can Change Be Easy?

Chip and Dan Heath get it. They understand how people are in real life. They debunk our attitudes about how we’d like them to be, or how they are on paper or in hypothetical situations, but how they really are. By that I mean they understand how people find, remember, and assimilate information, (see Made to Stick). And they understand how people change.Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Read this book if:

  • You think complex problems require expensive and complex solutions.
  • You think people act rationally in their own self interest.
  • You think that you know why people appear to hate change.

I strongly recommend this book. (I checked the audio book out from my local library.) It is a quick read and full of great insights that will help you if you are in the business of making things different today than they were yesterday.

Bob Hubbard, April 2013

Switch, How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

About Switch

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard is the latest book by Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick, the critically acclaimed bestseller. Switch debuted at #1 on both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller lists.

Switch asks the following question: Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle, say the Heaths, is a conflict that’s built into our brains. 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.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

  • The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.
  • The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.
  • The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service.

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. 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 the First Chapter

Bob Hubbard


The Agile Family?

Yesterday’s “This will never work” becomes today’s “Wow! Why didn’t we think of this before?!” In the 80’s we heard that Toyota’s management practices will never work in the US. Toyota (and many others) went on to demonstrate how American workers were perfect for the Toyota Production System (known generically as ‘lean’). Then we heard that “Lean works in manufacturing, but it will never work in a human process.” Then a group of tech guys in 2001 got together and agreed on the Agile Manifesto. In this TED Talk, Bruce Feiler tells how he’s adapted Agile concepts to his household routine.