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La gente odia los cambios Es ya prácticamente una frase hecha La dicen especialistas en marketing directores de campañas políticas presidentes de cadenas de televisión… La dicen incluso nuestros padres Y lo curioso es ue mientras ue algunos de los grandes cambios en nuestra vida los afrontamos con ilusión tener hi jos sin ir más lejos los más peueños auellos ue atañen a nuestra rutina diaria nos provocan grandes traumas Los psicólogos han demostrado ue existen dos mecanismos de toma de decisiones distintos en nuestro cerebro el racional y el emocional El primero es lógico estratégico reflexivo El segundo es intuitivo e impulsivo Alinear estos mecanismos cerebrales permite ue los cambios sean más placenteros y tengan mejores resultados De todo ello nos habla este libro De cómo afrontar cambios difíciles y mejorar así nuestra vida personal y laboral

10 thoughts on “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

  1. says:

    I'll be interested to see if this book is still relevant in 10 years as the influence of books like this often come and go In the meantime though my brain just won't stop incorporating elements from it into how I'm thinking about current events in my lifeI was already inclined to believe the validity of the structure that the Heaths outline because I've practiced some of it already without using the same words most especially Shaping the Path as I give a lot of thought to the environment of my preschool classroom an example want your students to stop running from one end of the room to the other? Rearrange the furniture so they can't run in a straight line The environment absolutely makes a difference in behaviorParsing the elements involved in a successful campaign for change makes me feel euipped to do that in other contexts So while this book is a great tool to use to work towards your goals I think it remains important to choose your goals carefully as you enact some of the Heaths' advice; they actually unintentionally provide a really great example in talking about BP BP made it a goal in the early 90's to have no dry holes when they drilled in effect attempting to reduce their non productive drilling efforts to zero But obviously somewhere along the way to meeting that very ambitious goal they also threw safety by the wayside and we saw the effects mere months after Switch was published BP did an incredible job working towards its goal but simultaneously it misplaced its priorities to a disastrous degree This too is something to keep in mind when creating change

  2. says:

    I really uite enjoyed this book It was one of those books that had me talking to people about it before I finish reading it In fact if any of my M Teach friends are reading this – you probably want to get your hands on a copy of it as it has some really interesting things to say about how to motivate studentsI’ve read another of their books – Made to Stick Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – which was also particularly good and based on an idea in Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point I thought when I read that book that it also had many things to tell people who want to teach Essentially they get all of the recent research in psychology and behavioural economics and give interesting case studies that illuminate the importance of these studies They also fit them into fairly easy to understand structures and metaphors and I think this forms the most interesting part of their work They base much of this book around a metaphor from a book called The Happiness Hypothesis Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom That metaphor is of the elephant and the rider The idea being much the same as Plato’s metaphor of the charioteer from The Republic yes some of this stuff has been vexing thinkers for uite some time To be honest I prefer the elephant metaphor to that of the two horses and a rider that Plato develops The elephant is our emotional selves and the rider our rational self Ever wondered why you can know that it makes sense to give up smoking and yet still not give up? To Plato that just means that you don’t really know – you simply would never do anything bad if you truly knew you were doing a bad thing This has always been the bit of Plato that has sounded like nonsense to me As a lapsed smoker for years while I smoked I knew and was ashamed of the fact that I smoked I hated the idea that I was doing something that was so clearly stupid and self destructive and would have done everything in my power to hide the fact that I smoked But that didn’t mean I could give up Giving up smoking was utterly impossible My rider was utterly convincedI needed to stop it was just that my elephant had a hell of a lot will power than my rider Think of a rider on an elephant – he needs to exert a lot of will power to keep the elephant doing what he wants it to do and that drains the rider to the point where he needs to sleep But the elephant just keeps plodding on knowing that eventually you will need to sleep you will need to think about something else and when you do he will go in the direction he was planning to go all alongThey discuss an interesting study where people were asked to sit in a room alone with a plate of freshly cooked biscuits They were then asked to do some boring maths and the people who were not allowed to eat the biscuits did fewer maths problems and for less time then those who could eat the biscuits The point being that we have a limited amount of 'will power' and it is easily used up This seems to me to be an incredibly important thing to know about ourselvesFor years I tried to give up smoking but then I would have a drink or be at a party or something awful would happen during the day or I would just be sitting around with no particular excuse at all and suddenly I would think ‘oh God I would kill for a cigarette’ and then I would be smoking again and that would be that I have only been able to stay off cigarettes by learning to despise them Now I hate the smell of them I hate the taste of them I hate just about everything about them Revulsion is an elephant rather than rider concern and so I’ve used that to negate the other elephant issues that had been dragging me back to cigarettes previouslyThis book says that if you are going to make any kind of change you need to consider three fundamental conditions – the elephant the rider and the path – all of these can be manipulated and all of them should be manipulated to make change as easy as possibleDirecting the rider is very important as the rider tends to be overly analytical and negative There was a lovely uote I saw in a New Scientist article once by a mathematician ‘any problem can be made to look unsolvable’ They offer the best advice I can think of – if you are seeking to make change you should see what is working and then see what you need to do to replicate that Often people think they need to be the guru with new and surprising insights no one else has ever had But often the seeds of what needs to change are already spread around and you just need to tend themThe elephant needs careful consideration However without getting the elephant on board so to speak change is going to be impossible There is some lovely discussion here about diets and why they often don’t work that explains the elephant problem beautifully I think the main lesson from a lot of this section for me was to remember that we are social animals and that we want to be seen as that and not stand out Normalising change was very important Although really this change the culture theme is the main lesson from their ‘shape the path’ section of the book There is a lot of nice stuff about how you achieve this There was an interesting part on drug use in the US military during the Vietnam war for example and the fact that when people came home to the US they tended to stop their excessive drug use That is the culture of life in US cities simply did not tolerate or sustain heavy drug use in ways that life in Vietnam did Therefore if you are seeking to make changes you should look very closely at how you can address the cultural issues that are potentially undermining that change I had heard many of the examples used in this book before – the ten thousand lives campaign for example although it was better explained here – but they did put interesting spins on even the things I had heard about beforeThere is a lot of excellent advice in this book about how to bring about change in both your own life and in your workplace and so on There are excellent examples of how people have applied the strategies discussed and how these simple changes have made differences in what they have been seeking to achieve I think the best of this book is that many of the interventions suggested are minimal and yet still highly effective We tend to want to fix everything at once – but as the authors repeatedly point out the rider is than happy to find a thousand reasons to do nothing and to fixate on the 'true but useless' facts that tend to undermine change The point is to find ways to see what can work which is normally what is already working somewhere and to replicate thatI really liked the metaphor of the rider elephant and path developed in this book and think for that alone this book is worth reading It is also worth reading for many of the insights it provides in motivating change This was really well worth the read

  3. says:

    Recommended to Anyone who desires the capability to spark massive lasting and effective CHANGE from individual and family up to organizational and even nation wide levelsI know it's cool DAbout the book It's definitely among the most perfect books I've ever consumed Author's have structured it in the following format Three main parts each one being a critical element of change Each part then is consisted of submodules ie different ways of reaching the corresponding element and each submodule is backed up with numerous real world stories on how the element being discussed is put into practice and how it's lead into a snowball of change Aw and this book has also some exercise to put your takeaways into test DA remarkable fact about the book which is vivid in the real stories provided throughout the book is the consistency and integrity of the framework of change they're teaching In each story they provide you can see all the three elements perfectly at work So what are these lovely elements?The content Authors have identified three major elements reuired in any environment to initiate and support a lasting and effective change which areI Directing the Rider Which deals with the thinking part of human brainII Motivating the Elephant Which tackles issues regarding our emotional brainIII Shaping the path Which is about the environment influencing our behaviorThere's an analogy used through out the book regarding our rational and emotional part The part of our brain which makes us human is referred to a rider sitting on an elephant which stands for our huge emotional part Our limbic brain our subconscious mind or the emotional part of our brain is so strong and compelling that in terms of strength looks like an elephant to our logical part of the brain rider Now let's start with an illuminating uote which in spite of seeming obvious is often neglectedAll change efforts have something in common for any thing to change someone has to start acting differentlyIn this vain my all time favorite teacher Jim Rohn saysIf you change everything will change for youHow to change?Rider and the Elephant elementsIn essence if you want to change things you've got to appeal to both rider logical brain and elephant emotional brain The rider provides planning and direction while the elephant provides energy and motivation If you reach riders of your team but not the Elephants members will have understanding without motivation And i you reach their Elephants but not riders they'll have passion without direction In each case all attempt for change all doomed to failure An strong barrier to change is that the mind and the heart often disagree What looks like laziness is often exhustionThe Situation ElementResearch strongly shows that our environment and situations drastically influence our behavior For instance studies shows the bigger our food containers the we eat and vice versa HenceWhat looks like a people problem is often a situation path problem Now let's see how we can come up with best strategies to direct the rider motivate the elephant and shape the pathI Directing the Rider1 Find the Bright Spots To be precise and short in every terrible situation if you look closely enough you'll find people that are getting results Finding bright spots is identifying the cases people that are getting results in spite of the bad circumstances and teach others the strategies these bright spots are utilizingThis approach in psychology is referred to as Solutions focused therapy Focusing on what's worked so far instead of the whys behind problemsFor instance a specific product of company sells very low but meanwhile you see some sales persons having high success rate in selling that very product You must find out how their techniues and teach them to othersIn Essence Instead of asking what's broken and how we can fix it ask What's working and how we can do of it2 Script the critical Move Change is often hard and ambiguity makes it also terrifying Any successful change reuires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors In short to make a switch you need to script the critical moves For instance Asking someone to eath healthy is too general you must define them a precise diet plan to break their resistanceIn Essence Clarity dissolves resistance3 Point To The Destination In short we want what we might call a destination postcard a vivid picture from the near term future that show what could be possible Having a clear perspective gives feedback to people on ho get lost in analysisw close they are to their desire objective When you describe a compelling destination you're helping to correct one of the rider's great weaknesses the tendency to get lost in analysis4 Black White goals Destination postcards is effective if they motivate the employees What if they're not In such cases you must define an absolute goal For instance When planning you're new year's resolution Being healthier is ambiguous instead if you change it to Gym Every Single Day or even No More Cheese Cake then you leave no room for rationalization In Essence When you are at the beginning of a change don't obsess about the middle because the middle is going to look different when you get there; instead Look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get movingTo Be Continued

  4. says:

    This is a book that's best read after you have read 1 3ish good self help books say Baumeister's Willpower Duhigg's The Power Of Habit and Keller's The One Thing for example and yet feel you need something like 'cherry on top'This book teaches one how make a change through the image of a rider directing an elephant on a path from A to B The rider is the rational sometimes procrastinating and over researching mind the elephant the emotional sometimes out of control mind and the path is shaping the situation badly done may freak the two previous parts and make things complicated The points are gathered on one simple page at the end but you really benefit from making notes since it doesn't got much in depth When I made notes I did gather than what that page says but happily also noticed that you don't have to write much unlike in some other cases There is plenty of examples that pad things nicely though if you don't want the padding it might feel annoying a bitBut it's a fairly uick read the examples are good and the writers' attitude is likeable truly if the writers show bothering attitude reading the book can become harderSo a good 'last' self help book with a light hearted real life example cushioning nods

  5. says:

    I understand the perspective of the haters this book is broad and over simplifies a really complex topic I understand haters but I don't agree I love the Heaths' writing precisely because they keep things simple Their premise that inspiring change reuires you to speak to both the brain's logical rational side as well as its emotional side isn't headline news but they present it using a simple metaphor Rider Elephant and Path that makes it easy to grasp and important easy to remember I particularly liked the breadth of case studies cited from principals facing impossible odds to attempted procurement reforms to preventing the spread of AIDS in Tanzania The 'clinic' sections at the end of each section are also great tools to provoke engagement with the readerI found it funny how many themes from other books I've read make guest appearances here For instance the emphasis on the powerful psychology of uick wins Ramit Sethi decision paralysis Barry Schwartz the power of a checklist Atul Gawande or the importance of What's the Next Action? David Allen

  6. says:

    Another must read from the Heath Brothers This is another invaluable book packed with extremely useful information True to the theme of their earlier book they help make all the concepts stick by hammering them in over and over Direct the Rider Motivate the Elephant and Shape the PathFor any change to occur you must have a good reason a good motivation and a good environment The rider is the rational side of you the elephant your emotional side and the path your environmentTo direct the rider means to have compelling reasons to do something In doing so you can do three things 1 Find the bright spot; 2 script the critical moves; and 3 point to the destination Finding the bright spot reuires to you to shift through your past experience and find instances in which something was working for you be it feeling not depressed going a full day not drinking or having fun learning and analyze them so that you can do of them Scripting the critical moves means you have to give detailed instructions because when you tell someone in abstract terms such as be healthy eat less they can mean so many things that people don't know what to do Telling them buy 1% milk is specific enough that they can follow the instruction easilyFinally pointing to the destination means you have to show people where you're going and why it's worth going there To motivate the elephant you can 1 find the feeling; 2 shrink the change; and 3 grow the people Finding the feeling just means making people feel something fear compassion indignity absurdity anything And this ties nicely with the concept from their previous book Emotion and making people care Showing an individual's plight a mother who lost her daughter because of some medical error that could've been prevented makes people careShrinking the change means simply that you break down the change into manageable size So instead of saying clean your whole room a daunting task for messy people it helps to shrink the task by saying Just clean the room for five minutes that's all As soon as the elephant gets going it keeps going and going the five minutes becomes thirty minutes and when you come to voila the room is cleanGrowing the people has two components 1 cultivating an identity; and 2 instilling the growth mindset People have two different ways of thinking individual thinking and group thinking The former considers things based on one's self interest while the latter does so based on one's identity or the group they associate with As an individual any monetary gain is a plus but if you were say a doctor you might not consider money the end all and might even reject it if it contradicts with your concept of being a doctorAs Carol Dweck's seminal book Mindset the New Psychology of Success explains there are two different kinds of mindsets fixed and growth The former believes human abilities are fixed talents while the latter believes they can be cultivated through effort To be able to change it's almost a reuirement to have the latter mindset especially because change is often very difficultFinally shaping the path has three components 1 tweak the environment; 2 build habits; and 3 rally the herdTweaking the environment means arranging things around you so that it becomes easier to do one thing over another For example if you have a perennial problem of obsessively checking your email it might help you to shut down your Outlook or whatever email program you have mute the PING noise whenever an email arrives in your inbox or physically hide the pop out notice on the screen with post its When my obsession with checking certain websites took over my life I used Leechblock on Firefox to forbid myself to go there And it worksBuilding habits frees the elephant because you do it almost automatically Some of the techniues introduced here include action triggers and checklists Action triggers are a way of pre loading decisions by deciding the seuence of actions you'll take so that you don't have to think while going through them For example you can say I'll call the office right after dinner tonight The trigger in this case is right after dinner In other words when you finish eating you don't have to think or decide to call the office any; the decision has already been made beforehandPeople always forget something Worse yet they are overconfident about their abilities in general So having a checklist minimizes possible errors which we commit by default for being human and thwart overconfidenceFinally rallying the herd This concept is based on the belief that behavior is contagious and you can help it spread by using social pressure social proof and free spaces A good techniue that applies social pressure effectively is stand up meetings By making everyone stand up it cuts a lot of excess talk as people start to fidget and send the signal that someone's talking too longSocial proof A hotel that had a sign A majority of our guests reuse towels made likely for guests to reuse their towelsHaving spaces for people to talk and hang out is a must for uniting them and rallying them A hospital that had a lounge for people to talk about possible changes actually adopted them while a hospital that didn't have such a place didn'tA must read

  7. says:

    Let me sum this book up To change behavior you must do three things One you must change the person’s behavior Two and three you must change the person’s hearts and minds The authors use the analogy of an Elephant and his Rider The Rider is your logical brain The Elephant is your heart To get the elephant to move you must engage both the Rider and the Elephant So to put it another way to change behavior you must Direct the Rider provide clear direction Motivate the Elephant engage people’s emotions and Shape the Path create the best environmentHere are some ideas from the book Keep the Rider one’s mind busy analyzing why things work well Ask what small changes can be made to make things work better The hardest part of change is in the details What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity Set what Built to Last authors call a BHAG a Big Hairy Audacious Goal a goal that hits you in the gut and motivates you a destination postcard pictures of a future that hard work can make possible When it is time to change behavior our first instinct is to teach them something Instead we need to appeal to the heart If you need uick action negative emotions might help but most of the time it’s not a stone in the shoe situation and we need to encourage play open minds creativity and hope Go ahead and give two stamps toward the goal on the Loyalty Card what the authors call Shrink the Change build by providing an early small win Small targets lead to small victories Grow your people Lock your people into identifying with being a great person Tweak the environment Create specific action triggers Build habits Use the humble checklist

  8. says:

    This is an excellent book on how to enact change and the mechanics behind that I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to change something in their personal life or within their working environment I was able to get a good understanding of the interplay and motivation of the two competing brain types which Chip coined the Rider Rational and the Elephant Emotional He then breaks it down to these sectionsDirect the Rider Follow the bright spots Script the Critical Moves Point to a desired destinationMotivate the Elephant Shrinking the Change Growing your People Shape the Path Tweak the Environment Build Habits Rally the Herd A concept that I found intriguing is the Fundamental Attribution Error Its a tendency that peoplesociety have to suarely blame peoples behavior than to look at the situation they are in Which is the easy way out What I really enjoyed about this book is how clearly and straight forward his examples are Repeat with me Direct the Rider Motivate the Elephant and Shape the Path

  9. says:

    EMOTIONAL SELFELEPHANT It wants things now easy It is usually the emotional self that usually causes us to fail because it usually doesn't want to make the short term sacrifices for long term payoffs It can also have enormous strengths like love compassion and sympathy RATIONAL SELFRIDER It analyzes and decides what to do The rider is to direct the elephant where to go If the rider can't get the elephant to go where it wants You overeat or sleep in the elephant went against the rider The problem with the rider is it can over think things spin her wheels and not make a decision of where to go The trick to making changes is to appeal to both the emotional side and the rational side A reluctant elephant or wheel spinning rider will get you nowhereDIRECT THE RIDERConcentrate on what works or the bright spots Concentrate on what you did differently that made it successful The idea isn't to just think about the good things in your life or others but to really analyze why they work so that you can reproduce itScript the critical moves Make it easy to make the right decision Too many choices or confusion will send us back to our usual habits Bring a noble goal within reach of everyday life and make the decision clear without exceptions that leaves no ambiguity When you want someone to behave in a new way explain that new way clearly don't assume the new moves are obviousPoint to a desired destination Make it clear where you want to go ex I want to lose 10 pounds by Jan 3 2011 at midnight That goal is clear MOTIVATE THE ELEPHANTFind the feeling To change we need an emotional reason to change think of the scary red cement videos that they show you in drivers ed to keep kids from drinking and driving The emotion can be fear love sympathy anything but we all have to buy into the change with our emotions Shrink the change When you realize how close you are already you are motivated to keep going Make the first few steps in the right direction big ones so there is motivation to keep going Dave Ramsey a financial guru advises to pay off the smallest debt first not the one with the highest interest because when the debt is paid off you feel like you have accomplished something great and it motivates you to keep going Celebrate the first steps of the change Grow the people the people you have on board making the change it will make the other people feel the positive peer pressure to change Make people want to identify with your group You don't want to be the one person that doesn't pick up after your dog It is a lot easier to tell a group of people to do something differently when 50% or of the people have already agreed or made that changeHAVE A GROWTH MINDSETYou will have initial feelings of excitementhope and optimism but once started you will start to feel depressed and like a failure but if you persist and persevere you will make steady progress and come out in the end with a great feeling of accomplishment If you know this right up front it actually creates a positive feeling not a depressing on I think this is found in Alma 32 when he talks about not throwing out the seed of faith He lets them know that there will be a time of doubt and hardship and frustration but if you don't give up it will grow into a tree that brings forth a wonderful fruit Expect to feel that way before you even start so you are ready for itWE will struggle we will fail and we will get knocked down but throughout we will get better and we succeed in the end It reframes failure as a natural part of the change process SHAPE THE PATH Tweak the environment remove every barrier to make the path easy to see example throw away the junk food in the house and have a vegetable tray out to snack on Think of 's 1 click ordering Leave the scriptures out on the table or ensign in the bathroom The less everyday steps you have to take to accomplish a goal the chances you will do it Sometimes what is perceived as a people problem is actually a situational problem We will all eat way too much popcorn if we are given it in a big bag Try giving the popcorn in smaller bags and people will eat less popcorn Environmental tweaks beats self control every timeBuild Habits when we are on autopilot we don't have to work so hard at everything If we automatically say our prayers then we can spend our mental and emotional efforts being nice or withstanding the brownies that your son just made Habits will change easily when our environment changes Build an action trigger Note in advance when where and how you will execute the change Put something somewhere different to remind you of the change Build habits that advance the change you want in your life Choose habits that are relatively easy to embrace Making checklists make big screw ups less likely Rally the Herd You will imitate the actions of the people around you especially in unfamiliar situations Elephants will go with the herd If you want to change or help someone else change hang around people that have already implemented that change in their life or at least excited and motivated to make that same change You will want to be on the team

  10. says:

    I wish that I could give this book 25 stars—absolutely average Because I think that I have seen it all and tried it all before And I think the book could have been cut by several chapters without being hurt at allI like the basic metaphor of this book the emotions as an elephant the intellect as mahout The rider as the Heaths call the mahout has limited amounts of strength and will power to use to direct the elephant; the elephant has to be cooperative or the rider won’t get where she wants to go Also discussed is the path—the environment which we can manipulate to steer ourselves into the desired habits and behaviours See also Slim by Design by Brian Wansink re changing the environment to facilitate changeI think the examples given in Switch are much applicable to the work place than to the individual household I’ve been trying to get myself to do basic housework as I go each week rather than storing up misery for myself on the weekends But so far I just can’t get my elephant to give a damn about the situation The mahout tries her best but very little housework gets done The authors also use an example of teaching a monkey to use a skateboard using mango bits as rewards They suggest that lavish use of rewards will help with eliciting the desired behaviour I have used this strategy on myself with limited success—do X and then you can read a chapter of your book or phone someone you want to talk to The tricky thing is then to stop at one chapter and do another chore before reading the next chapter my elephant is a tricky one Another suggestion in the book is linkages of behaviours—look for a bright spot in your routine something that you have no problem doing then link it to another desired action This was how I trained myself to floss my teeth EVERY evening I slotted that task in between washing my face and brushing my teeth After a year and a half of this I am finally to the point that it takes a major catastrophe to prevent me from flossing However I’m still working on linking setting up my coffee maker in the evening to doing any dishes that won’t go in the dishwasher That was my one New Year’s Resolution for 2015 and at the 6 month point I still haven’t performed this task reliably Unfortunate as both my elephant mahout enjoy getting up to a clean kitchenThe Heaths also take a page out of the FlyLady’s book Sink Reflections FlyLady’s Babystep Guide to Overcoming Chaos by recommending breaking tasks down into tiny sections—making the goal so small that the emotional elephant isn’t spooked by it Marla Cilley the FlyLady recommends 5 minute cleaning bursts on the theory that you can force yourself to do almost anything for only 5 minutes and that a small success will almost always carry you along to do This works for me to some extent—some days I designate as “It bugs me so I fix it” days If I notice a dusty window sill I go get a cloth and clean it Then I may go and check all the other window sills and make sure they are clean too I notice a grimy light switch—suddenly it’s “clean all the light switches” day I also have experience with trying to manipulate my environment to make being tidy an easy option See Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern for tips on this I’ve moved my filing cabinet to the dining room where I seem to like to open the mail Sometimes the contents make it into the files but once again not on a reliable basisSo I need to find myself a reliable EMOTIONAL reason to keep up with these tasks—and I haven’t come up with one yet My solution to the situation is usually to invite guests spurring myself to spruce up my apartment So far peer pressure is the only thing that works every time for me And the Heaths also recommend that so I may just have to stick with it and invite folks in oftenWish there was a little to the book than that—I am apparently an awfully recalcitrant housekeeper