Hopefully you recognize the title of this post as a play on Chip and Dan Heath’s wildly popular book Made to Stick and the recently released offering Switch. As I read through Switch in preparation for this week’s interview with Chip Heath, I was struck by the idea that these two book share information about the same struggle – how the human mind dictates what we do and how we view the world, but from vastly different points of view.
Made to Stick explored what makes ideas stick, but it also hinted about the challenges faced when trying to change an idea to make it stick. In Switch, the topic of change takes center stage.
I find that one of the greatest marketing challenges facing small business is the ability to find a unique point of differentiation, a way to stand out. The reason this important step is so tough for many businesses is that it often requires a massive change in the way they think about their business, the way they think about their products and the way they communicate how their solution is unique. The safety in sameness is that it doesn’t require change, but it also doesn’t manifest anything very remarkable.
To write Switch, the brothers Heath studied people trying to make difficult changes: People fighting to lose weight and keep it off. Managers trying to overhaul an entrenched bureaucracy. Activists combatting seemingly intractable problems such as child malnutrition. Their research revealed striking similarities in the strategies these people used. Switch outlines the game plan for making hard changes using these strategies.
Change is hard – everyone knows it, everyone says, but why?
According to Heath they were puzzled by the notion that some huge changes, like marriage, come joyously, while some trivial changes, like submitting an expense report on time, meet fierce resistance?
They uncover the answer in the research of psychologists who’d discovered that people have two separate “systems” in their brains—a rational system and an emotional system. The rational system is a thoughtful, logical planner. The emotional system is, well, emotional—and impulsive and instinctual.
When these two systems are in alignment, change can come quickly and easily (as when a dreamy-eyed couple gets married). When they’re not, change can be grueling (as anyone who has struggled with a diet can attest).
In Switch you’ll meet the Rider, the Elephant, and the Path – these three metaphors make up the core elements required to understand and make effective change.
Read this book and apply the principles of change to free up resistance in your business and as a bonus you might drop those ten pounds you’ve been holding on to.
Image credit: nathanborror
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