Dan Heath , Chip Heath




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For many of us, managing change is one of life’s greatest challenges, regardless of whether it affects us directly or concerns other people. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard not only provides examples and easy-to-follow tips, but also explains the mental mechanisms that can either help us to successfully bring about change, or hinder the entire process.

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Analysis and key concepts


Behaviour, actions, and reactions: human nature is the result of two often conflicting factors, the instinctual mind and the reflexive system


Focussing on the negative holds us back: we have to pay attention to what works, in order to achieve success, but we often focus on the problem instead of the solution


There is a clear asymmetry between the size of a problem and the size of its solution: on closer inspection, big problems can often be solved by focussing on the smaller details


Decision-making paralysis: when we have too many options, even good ones, it can stop us from making a decision, and keeps us on the starting block, because we prefer the status quo to change


In order to stimulate change, we have to draw a clear map that will allow us to reach our path and objective, in other words, we need simple actions and a precise picture of the expected outcome


Change management experts, John Kotter and Dan Cohen, have observed that, in almost all successful business transformations, change does not follow an analyse-think-change sequence, but a see-feel-change pattern


The cliché that suggests ‘raising the bar’ is completely misleading if we need to motivate a reluctant person, who when faced with change, needs to feel confident that they will be able to cope


When people make choices, they tend to rely on one of two basic models of decision-making: the consequence model or the identity model


The most effective way to keep motivation high when tackling a change project is to create the expectation of failure (not of the final result, but of a few steps along the way)




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand why we resist change.
  • Learn how to reconcile our instinctive mind with our reflective mind.
  • Identify a clear path to success.

Dan Heath is a university professor specialising in the field of business strategy, and has served as a consultant to companies of the likes of Google. His book, Made to Stick, co-written with his brother Chip, is regarded by publications, such as the Wall Street Journal and TheNew York Times, as one of the best books in the business sector.

Chip Heath is a US university professor at Harvard Business School, whose research has been mainly focused on social entrepreneurship. He is co-author, with his brother Dan, of the book Made to Stick, a best seller that has been translated into 29 languages. He is also the co-founder of Thinkwell, a publishing house that has been producing innovative university books for 25 years, with a focus on the added value of incorporating multimedia.

Publishing house:

Random House