SWITCH "How to change things when change is hard" By Chip & Dan Heath

Is this you?
Or are you the Rider?

What does an "elephant" and a "rider" have to do with change?


Because, these can be the 3 scariest words in any language...

....yet it is essential for everyone's survival.


We can agree that not all change is bad or unwelcomed...

....but change can still be scary and challenging.

Or become extinct....

People want to know....WHO?...





and most importantly.....HOW???

The art of doing all three of these at once can create productive CHANGE.
  • DIRECT THE RIDER 🏇 (rational)-This person needs to be solution- focused with specific direction toward the goal; decreased child abuse and neglect with only 20% reoffending.
  • MOTIVATE THE ELEPHANT 🐘 (emotional)-This person needs to be benefit-focused to co-operate in achieving; decreased employee turnover by 30% while increasing patient satisfaction surveys.
  • SHAPE THE PATH 🗺 -We often think the problem is the PEOPLE, but it is usually the SITUATION that is the problem; increased food donations by making it easier.


  1. Find the Bright Spots-Identify at least one positive thing happening, and capitalize on it; resist the bias that "Bad is stronger than good".
  2. Script the Critical Moves-Provide clear and specific instructions, otherwise people default to familiar behaviors, and do what's known strictly out of habit; "clarity dissolves resistance " and prevents decision paralysis .

3. Point to the Destination-Create a "Destination Postcard" that not only shows the Rider where they are going, but also shows the Elephant why it is worth it.



  1. Find the (Correct) Feeling-Cause them to feel something; create an environment of empowerment not fear, a.k.a. "Positive Reinforcement".
  2. Shrink the Change-Provide reassurance, especially at the beginning of the journey, "Look, you've already completed the first 20%".
3. Grow Your People-Inspire determination, readiness and motivation; show them they have the strength to act.


1. Tweak the Environment-Change the situation in order to change the behaviors that achieve the mission.

To get someone to do something, people are "asked", then "taught", then "told", then "punished". Instead, ask "why not?". Provide them the path of least resistance.

2. Build Habits-Use checklists and "action triggers" to encourage the correct behaviors.

3. Rally the Herd-Take advantage of mob mentality and positive peer pressure.

How do you keep the SWITCH going?
Reward each tiny step. Be just as quick to praise than to criticize. Reinforce the positive. Maintain a clear view of the destination.

Remember that change is a persistent process, not an event or the destination.


Created with images by SarahDeer - "light switch" • laurentmarx - "elephant safari animal" • Unsplash - "elephant silhouette people" • wonderferret - "What ?" • Alexas_Fotos - "time for a change new ways letters" • tookapic - "lifesaver life buoy safety" • MissCaraReads - "graduate graduation walking away" • Images_of_Money - "house for sale" • Pexels - "adult bridal bride" • frankbeckerde - "baby feet hands baby" • Ben_Kerckx - "baby crying child" • Iqbal Osman1 - "Embrace change" • zdravljica - "who" • 742680 - "chalkboard story blogging" • nick.amoscato - "Clock" • shurik - "earth planet space" • Art Poskanzer - "why?" • Infrogmation - "How" • mwcarruthers - "Compass Rose" • burrows.nichole28 - "Motivations" • avatar-1 - "Narrow path" • meramerah - "Sunshine" • fotologic - "Postcards" • pixel2013 - "tic tac toe love heart" • www.metaphoricalplatypus.com - "Garden" • Tim Green aka atoach - "Get Lost" • 825545 - "sand sculpture structures of sand tales from" • 422737 - "hand finger button" • MemoryCatcher - "water forest shore reflection"

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