In Switch, Dan and Chip break down the essential parts of changing habits and behaviors. There are three parts to the process. First, you need to direct the Rider. The Rider is the rationale side of the brain. Second, you need to motivate the Elephant, the emotional/impulsive side of the brain. Lastly, you need to shape the path and make the process easy. I found the book very interesting, and I would highly recommend.
Here’s the entire process distilled down into a few bullet points (covered on page 259 of the book):
Direct the Rider
- Follow the bright spots. Investigate what’s working and clone it.
- Script the critical moves. Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors.
- Point to the destination. Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it.
Motivate the Elephant
- Find the feeling. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something. (Good example: TRUTH campaign)
- Shrink the change. Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant.
- Grow your people. Cultivate a sense of identity and install the growth mindset.
Shape the Path
- Tweak the environment. When the situation changes, the behavior changes. So change the situation.
- Build habits. When a behavior is habitual, it’s “free”—it doesn’t tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits.
- Rally the herd. Behavior is contagious. Help it spread. (See the tip jar)
On how change happens:
Kotter and Cohen observed that, in almost all successful change efforts, the sequence of change is not ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE, but rather SEE-FEEL-CHANGE.
The authors broke down the Haddon Matrix, “a simple framework that provides a way to think systematically about accidents by highlighting three key periods of time: pre-event, event, and post-event.
- Pre-event—We’re trying to prevent the thing from happening. (Think installing lights on highways to increase driving safety)
- Event—We accept the event will happen and try to reduce the chance of downside. (Think airbags)
- Post-event—We acknowledge that the event will happen and we’ll experience a loss. How do we get back up and going? How do we recover? (Think speedy emergency response)