Switch by Chip and Dan Heath is a book on influencing and driving changes in behavior. The book uses the metaphor of an elephant and it's rider. In their metaphor, the rider represents our logically thinking mind, the elephant our internal do-what-I-feel-like subconscious mind.

The metaphor plays well with itself, a person atop a large animal. It is easy to imagine our logical mind (the rider) dealing with our sometimes sporadic and uncontrollable subconscious wanting to do things on a whim or how they were always done (the elephant).

Chip and Dan break down the process of driving the rider and elephant into three key steps. Direct the rider, Shape the path and Motivate the elephant.

Directing the rider is about talking to the logically thinking rider and setting them up to respond to the change. To do this, Chip and Dan recommend you look at the problem objectively and identify the bright spots, find the areas that are doing it the right way. Script the critical moves for the rider by limiting options and making it easy to do the right thing and pointing the rider to the destination by making it clear what success will look like.

Shaping the path looks at building successful habits, rallying the herd and creating an environment that is self perpetuating. The area around us can dictate our behaviors and actions, use this major influence to your advantage to drive change.

Motivating the elephant provides steps to direct and encourage our subconscious into action. To do this it is advised to trigger an emotional response to the change, don't just dictate it, make it easy for people to connect with it. Shrink the change and make success easy, start small and introduce early wins to stimulate motivation. And finally grow your people, help people form a self image that is consistent with the goal so they feel motivated to be consistent with their image.

Not only does the book go deep into each of these topics. Dan and Chip teach the content through story telling. The whole book is rich with case studies, academic research stories and personal experiences making many of the points more memorable.

This article was first noted down on the 10th of September, 2015.