Switch – Chip Heath Book Summary

Switch – Chip Heath | Free Book Summary

Switch – Chip Heath

Failing is often the best way to learn, and because of that, early failure is a kind of necessary investment.

Knowledge does not change behavior. We have all encountered crazy shrinks, obese doctors, and divorced marriage counselors.

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The Elephant and the Rider

The brain has two independent systems at work at all times.

First, there’s the emotional side. It’s the part of you that is instinctive, that feels pain and pleasure.

Second, there’s the rational side, also known as the reflective or conscious system. It’s the part of you that deliberates, analyzes, and looks into the future.Free book, podcast summaries

Our emotional side is an elephant, and our rational side is its rider. Change is only possible when both the rider and the elephant come together.

The Change Framework

The basic three-part framework you need to change behavior is

  • direct the rider. Provide crystal-clear direction. “What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.”
  • Motivate the elephant. Engage the emotional side. “What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.”
  • Shape the path. Create the conditions for both the rider and the elephant to excel. “What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.”

Bright Spots

Bright spots are successful efforts worth emulating

  • To discover bright spots, ask yourself: “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?”
  • The Miracle Question: “What’s the first small sign you’d see that would make you think the problem was gone?”

You could also ask yourself if the success of the few could be replicated by the many. If yes, then you’ve found a bright spot.

Script the Critical Moves

Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors. In short, to make a switch, you need to script the critical moves.

Too many choices can lead to decision paralysis. For effective change, limit the options as much as possible.

Point to the Destination

Create a destination postcard that shows what you want to achieve in the near future.

Destination postcards—pictures of a future that hard work can make possible—show the rider where you’re headed, and they show the elephant why the journey is worthwhile.

Tweaking the environment is about making the right behaviors a little bit easier and the wrong behaviors a little bit harder. It’s that simple.

People find it more motivating to be partly finished with a longer journey than to be at the starting gate of a shorter one

Shrink the Change

To shrink the change:

Make the change small enough that you can’t help but score a victory

Limit the investment you’re asking for

Think of small wins—milestones that are within reach.

Grow Your People

Growing your people is all about building the necessary rapport to get things done.

The strategy relies on the identity decision-making model, which essentially asks three questions:

  • Who am l?
  • What kind of situation is this?
  • What would someone like me do in this situation?

By making people embrace a certain identity, you can rally them to support goals that they otherwise would not care about.

Build Habits

  • Habits can be both good and bad, and to change yourself, you have to replace the bad habits with the good ones. 
  • Changing habits requires a change of environment and a change in mentality.
  • You can change habits by employing action triggers.
  • Action triggers simply have to be specific and visible enough to interrupt people’s normal stream of consciousness.
  • Checklists perfectly combine tweaking the environment and building habits. They can be added to the environment in order to make behavior more consistent and habitual. That tool is the humble checklist.

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