Switch: How to change things when change is hard

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Switch: How to change things when change is hard

International best-selling authors Chip and Dan Heath believe there are three surprises about change: what looks like a people problem is often a situation problem; change is hard because people wear themselves out trying to change their ingrained behaviours; and what looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. Mostly, they believe that for anything to change, someone has to start behaving differently.

The Heaths’ change framework is based on psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s analogy that explains the two competing systems at work in our mind. Haidt calls our rational side the ‘rider’ who works on logic, and our emotional side the ‘elephant’ who acts instinctively. The rider of the elephant may seem to be in control, but if the rider and elephant disagree about which direction to go, the much stronger and larger elephant will win.

For anything to change, someone has to start acting differently”

Chip and Dan Heath


If you want to drive change, your job is to reach both sides of the brain, and clear the way to help people succeed, focussing on these three elements

Direct the rider – they provide the planning and direction

Motivate the elephant – they provide the energy to make it happen

Shape the Path

While the Heath brothers may have identified a pattern that all successful change follows, they stress that leaders of change do not have to be CEOs or governments with power and resources. Just by directing, motivating and shaping the path, we can all make change happen.



About the authors Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and consults for clients ranging from Google to Gap. Dan Heath is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. He has a Harvard MBA and co-founded publishers Thinkwell.

Together, they are the authors of three international bestsellers: Switch; Made to Stick; and Decisive. More resources are available from: http://heathbrothers.com/


“Witty and instructive…The Heath brothers think that the sciences of human behaviour can provide us with tools for making changes in our lives—tools that are more effective than ‘willpower,’ ‘leadership’ and other easier-said-than-done solutions. … With Switch they have shaped a path that leads in a most promising direction.” The Wall Street Journal

“Dan and Chip Heath have done it again…Any leader looking to create change in his organization need not look beyond this little book. It is packed with examples and hands-on tools that will get you moving right away. And it is really a fun read.” BusinessWeek.com

About Impact Executives Ltd Impact Executives is a leading interim management provider to organisations of every size in the UK and globally. Originally formed as a specialist practice within PA Consulting Group, over the past 25 years Impact Executives has helped over 2000 companies, including more than two-thirds of the FTSE 250 – find the very best executive interim management talent. Clients choose to work in partnership with Impact Executives because of our proven ability to offer clients immediate solutions to improve their organisation’s performance.

With offices covering the UK, continental Europe, Nordics, Asia Pacific and Australia, Impact Executives is part of the global services consultancy Harvey Nash Group plc, giving clients and interim managers the confidence that we have the resources, expertise and focus to deliver results – fast.

For further information on Impact Executives, please contact Steffany Young, Impact Executives, Tel: 0044 20 7314 2011 Email: steffany.young@impactexecutives.com

Book Details

Author: Dan Heath, Chip Heath

ISBN: 978-1847940322