Saturday, February 18, 2012

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

Annotation provided by Melissa Han

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. New York: Broadway Books.

Main Ideas/Response:

Switch addresses how change in personal or professional areas can be difficult if the mind and heart are in disagreement. The mind or rational side in us is labeled as the Rider. The Rider plans, directs, and is the visionary. But the Rider is limited in strength, focuses on problems, and is paralyzed by ambiguity and choices. The heart or emotional side in us is labeled as the Elephant. The Elephant provides the energy and is moved by feeling. In order for the process of change to successfully take place, the Rider must have clear direction, the Elephant have ample motivation, and the Path be a supportive environment. When all of this happens, then the Rider, Elephant, and Path are in alignment for change or a switch to happen.

I was drawn to the idea of free spaces. Too often free spaces have been breeding ground for dumping negative emotions, which narrows our thoughts. I’d like to explore using these free spaces as a beginning in nurturing positive emotions (i.e. share bright spots) to broaden or build our school. I also realized that in order for bright spots to be effective for change, we need a destination in sight to work towards so that we know what kind of bright spots to be on the look-out for. I’d like to use free spaces to find out why some staff members have remained at our school for so long. What keeps them there? When we share those reasons maybe it’ll lead us to create a new language where we can define a destination or core values that’ll keep us focused and enable us to encourage each other towards it.

Relevant Quotes:

~“People with a growth mindset-those who stretch themselves, take risks, accept feedback, and take the long-term view- can’t help but progress in their lives and career.” (165)

~”Reinforcement does require you to have a clear view of the destination, and it requires you to be savvy enough to reinforce the bright spot behaviors when they happen.” (253)

~”If you want to change the culture of your organization, you’ve got to get the reformers together. They need a free space. They need time to coordinate outside the gaze of the resisters. For a time, at least, you’ve got to permit an “us versus them” struggle to take place. It’s not desirable, but it’s necessary. Think of it as organizational molting.” (247)


~How does one utilize the free spaces effectively to draw wider community and common mission if at first it separates?

~How would one utilize action triggers, simple checklists, and rallying the herd to handle the bottom of the “U” situations so that one can get back up to the other end?

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