Switch - How to Change Things when Change is Hard

  1. "We will celebrate. Starting with pizza, and end with champagne. We will celebrate the importance of what we have undertaken to do, the courage of honesty, the joy of companionship, the cleverness of a field operation, and the results we will achieve. We will celebrate ourselves, because the patients whose lives we save cannot join us, because their names can never be known. Our contribution will be what did not happen to them. And, though they are unknown, we will know that mothers and fathers are at graduations and weddings they would have missed, and that grandchildren will know grandparents they might never have known, and holidays will be taken, and work completed, and books read, and symphonies heard, and gardens tended that, without our work, would have been only beds of weeds."
    They are taught a very specific formula for a command - combining a command with a reason so the command does not feel arbitrary. ("Johnny, it's almost time for the bus to come, so please put your shoes on now.")
  2. If you worry about the potential for inaction on your team, B&W goals might the solution. When you're at the beginning, don't obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there. Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.
    Trying to fight inertia and indifference with analytical arguments is like tossing a fire extinguisher to someone who's drowning. The solution doesn't match the problem.
  3. A local car wash ran a promotion featuring loyalty cards. Every time customers bought a car wash, they got a stamp on their cards, and when they filled up their cards with eight stamps, they got a free wash.

    Another set of customers at the same car wash got a slightly different loyalty card. They needed to collect 10 stamps (rather than eight) to get a free car wash - but they were given a head start. When they received their cards, two stamps had already been added.

    The "goal" was the same for both sets of customers: Buy eight additional car washes, get a reward. But the psychology was different: In one case, you're 20 percent of the way toward a goal, and in the other case, you're starting from scratch. A few months later, only 19% of the eight-stamp customers had earned a free wash, versus 34% of the head-start group. (And the head-start group earned the free wash faster.)
    People find it more motivating to be partly finished with a longer journey than to be at the starting gate of a shorter one. That's why the conventional wisdom in development circles is that you don't publicly announce a fundraising campaign for charity until you've already get a 50% of the money in the bag. (After all, who wants to give the first $100 to a $1 million fund-raising campaign?)

    One way to motivate action, then, is to make people feel as though they're already closer to the finish line than they might have thought.
  4. Once you become aware of these concepts, you start to spot the fixed mindset everywhere. Look at the way we praise our children: "You're so smart!" "You are so good at basketball!" "That's fuel for the fixed mindset. A growth mindset compliment praise effort rather than natural skill: "I'm proud of how hard you worked on that project!" "I could tell you listened to your coach's comments - you really had your elbow under those jump shots today."
    We will struggle, we will fail, we will be knocked down - but throughout, we'll get better, and we'll succeed in the end.
  5. Finally, Cachon found a way to rally the herd. Every Friday, he posted an Excel spreadsheet on the internet that showed the status of every paper submitted to the journal. Every reviewer could see what the other reviewers had done (and when). If they violated their five-week commitment, the tracking sheet created powerful pressure, especially when Cachon called them and said, "Look, other people are doing this on time, and, by the way, here's the data." When people saw the data, they realized, Whoops, I'm the bottleneck.

    With the online tracking sheet, Cachon was using the hotel-towel strategy. He was publicizing the group norm. Other people are getting their work done on time. Why don't you?
    You want certain people to act differently, but they are resistant to the change. So you rally the support of others who in turn could influence those you hope to sway. In essence, it's an attempt to change the culture, and culture often is the linchpin of successful organizational change.
  6. Psychologist Alan Kazdin prescribes an almost identical set of techniques for parents. Kazdin urges parents to "catch their children being good." He said, "If you want your child to do two hours of homework without being asked to." Instead, you set small goals and gradually build her up. And when a child doesn't get something right, Kazdin advised: "Ask yourself, "was there anything about it that's a component of what I'd like her to do?' If the answer's yes, and it almost always is, then jump on that component: It was great that you did X."
    • Direct the Rider
    • Follow the Bright Spots. Investigate what's working and clone it. [Jerry Sternin in Vietnam, solutions-focused therapy]
    • Script the Critical Moves. Don't think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors. [1% milk]
    • Point to the destination. Change is easier when you know where you're going and why it's worth it. ["You'll be the third graders soon." "No dry holes" at BP].
  7. Motivate the Elephant
    Find the feeling. Knowing something isn't enough to cause change. Make people feel something. [Piling gloves on the table].
    Shrink the change. Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant. [The 5-minute Room Rescue]
    Grow your people. Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mindset.
    Shape the Path

    • Tweak the environment. When the situation changes, the behavior changes. So change the situation. [1-click ordering]
    • Build Habits. When behavior is habitual, it's free - it doesn't tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits. [Setting "action trigger," eating two bowls of soup while dieting, using checklists]
    • Rally the herd. Behavior is contagious. Help it spread. [seeding the tip jar]
Card Set
Switch - How to Change Things when Change is Hard
Chip Heath and Dan Heath