The Piras Group Logo


Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard

Author: Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Switch provides a simple and useful metaphor of a Rider and an Elephant to show how successful change can happen.

Chip and Dan Heath do an excellent job of explaining two essential & conflicting parts of change every individual experiences: the rational mind that wants to change and the emotional mind that loves the comfort of familiar routine.  Through the use of many practical stories, the rider represents the rational mind, while the elephant represents the emotional mind.  

Switch lays out a practical framework for leading and managing change.  The framework consists of 1) directing the rider by following the bright spots (what's working), scripting the critical moves (specific behaviors) and pointing to the new destination (paint a picture of where you are going); 2) motivating the elephant by finding the feeling (tap into the emotion), shrink the change (break it down to reduce fear) and grow your people (instill a growth mindset); and 3) shape the path by tweaking the environment (change the situation and change behavior), build new habits (so new behavior is routine), and rally the herd (help spread the new behavior).

Overall this book provides a very useful framework for how to make change happen whether you’re an individual wanting to change yourself or a leader of an organization needing to make substantial change.