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Omniquest Selection Fall 2011

August 28, 2011

The Adult Degree Program (ADP) and DeVos Graduate School of Management (DGSM) have selected SWITCH: How to Change Things when Change is Hard as the fall 2010 Omniquest selection. We believe faculty, staff and students will find the book both interesting and beneficial.

SWITCH: How to Change Things when Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (2010)

In their newest book, Switch, Dan and Chip Heath address one of life’s biggest challenges – how to accomplish long-term change. Personal, business and societal change is addressed through a three-step process that unites the, sometimes opposing, emotional and rational decision-making elements we all possess.

The book is based on the premise that “all change efforts have something in common – for anything to change, someone has to start acting differently.” Further, for “individual’s behavior to change, you have to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds”… and underlying problem is that “hearts and minds often disagree.”

The authors identify our emotional, instinctive side as an elephant and our rational, decision-making side as its rider. When these two forces disagree, it is the elephant that usually prevails. Over time, the analytical rider ultimately becomes exhausted in the efforts to steer the much larger elephant, driven by cause and purpose. For change to be sustainable, the rider and elephant must unite.

Through a multitude of life-stories and examples, the authors present a three-part framework for guiding long-term change – direct the rider, motivate the elephant and shape the path. They acknowledge that change is a process, as opposed to an event, and that it is rarely easy. To support a “switch”, the rider, the elephant and the path need to be aligned. In other words, people are likely to change with clear focus direction, motivation and determination to act, and when a supportive environment exists. They say, “…we don’t promise that we’re going to make change easy, but at least we can make it easier. Our goal is to teach you a framework, based on decades of scientific research, that it simple enough to remember and flexible enough to use in many different situations – family, work, community, and otherwise.”

About the authors:
The Heath brothers write a monthly column for Fast Company magazine. Chip Heath is a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Dan Heath is senior fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE). Previously he was a researcher and case writer at Harvard Business School.

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