Switch: An Authoritative View on the Topic of “Change”

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I don’t typically take notes reading books. This time I did.

I’ve probably had Switch by Dan and Chip Heath sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time. Typically I can polish off a book fairly quickly given enough time. This is one of those books I really took my time reading. To list out everything I’ve learned or all the nuggets of wisdom I pulled out of there would be way too long of a blog post. If you want that much info, just buy the book and read it yourself.

So what did I learn?

Look for the positives

Not all situations that require change are lost causes. If you analyze a situation, you will most likely be able to find something that is working. There are small wins and small rays of hope happening in all situations. Grabbing onto what is already working to begin instituting change is the best way to gather the momentum you need to go after loftier goals.

Persuade with emotion, not logic

For anyone who has ever had to build a pitch deck, a training seminar or present a budget proposal for a new tool, this extremely handy advice. It’s easy (especially for me) to use facts to present a case for an idea. To me, if the numbers or statistics are telling a compelling enough “common sense” story, that should be sufficient enough to persuade my audience right? Not always. Charts and graphs are necessary sometimes. However, if you can find ways to visually tell a story without a lot of numbers or lines, there may be more success. Tell a story, don’t report data. It’s how lawsuits and elections are won.

Change takes time

The hardest thing about change is the patience factor. We get so focused on the end result that we fail to acknowledge the little victories that carry us towards our ultimate goal. It’s hard for us to reward ourselves for progress over perfection. Many of the case studies in the book don’t have happy “100% completion” success stories. However, each case study showed someone making a major impact in their organization or in the lives of other people. All the solutions presented were simple, yet meaningful in some way.

There’s a ton of blog fodder in this book, as you may find in the posts to come. I took copious notes throughout the book and have already written one post inspired by my new learnings. Since I liked this book so much, I’m thinking about reading “Made to Stick” here soon.

Have any of you read Switch? What did you think?

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