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Book Review: Switch; a book about making change happen

This week, I’m doing an easy book review — easy because it was a good book. It was Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.

Switch excels in the story department. That’s how it hooks you. The story has a series of narratives that are engaging and interesting … and chances are you’ll find a story that reminds you of a situation you have in your own life.

The book also follows a classic business book style — it builds on each chapter, giving you an action plan to deal with situations (in the case of this book, engaging change). It reminded me of Just Listen when it brought up psychological aspects that keep people from embracing change.

It’s an easy read, and I don’t want to spoil too much, particularly because the stories contribute so much to the book. But if I were to summarize what I got out of it, here’s a fancy bulleted list:

  • You have to engage people both logically and emotionally.
  • If you get logic but not emotion, there’s no motivation
  • If you get emotion but no logic, there’s no plan of action
  • They call this the elephant (emotion) and rider (logic) problem
  • You can help the emotional side by telling a story, or providing visual/tactical feedback that hooks them … ex. showing how much money a group is losing by doing things a certain way
  • You hook the logical side by providing a ‘path’, or a means to the end … ex. telling the group exactly how they aren’t going to lose money anymore, and how it will be measured.

Fairly straightforward right? But lots of the stories in the book are about big changes — reducing malnourishment, saving lives in a hospital, etc. At the same time, it provides a framework to help you encourage your own team/life situations to embrace change.

We used this book for a Girl Geek Dinners bruncheon, and my favorite topic of discussion was what is a change you want to make? And how could you do it? I brought up reducing trash in Philadelphia. It’s one of my big dreams right now. Do you have any? Have you read the book?

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