The Elephant, the rider, and the path: a fresh way to spur change

B y Rick Grbavac I’m excited about the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard  Stanford Professor of Organizational Behavior Chip Heath and his brother, business consultant Dan Heath. Getting someone to change — from what they are comfortable doing to something that is ultimately better for them — is hard. I‘ve found myself staying with a course of action much longer than I should have just because I was hesitant to make a change.  The Heath brothers create a formula for helping to think through the process of getting someone to move.  They use a metaphor of an Elephant (the emotional, feeling part of people), the Rider (the analytical part) and the Path (the environment).  To get someone to change, the Heaths propose that you need to set clear and unambiguous goals to set the expectations (Direct the Rider) and at the same time you must find the emotional hot buttons to spur people to action (Motivate the Elephant). And while doing this, you need to make sure the goal is achievable by clearing obstacles, making small advances, building new better habits and getting out of the way. There is a great convergence in their findings and our work at Cerebyte.  When we work with our clients, we get them to clearly articulate their vision.  We then capture the wisdom and knowledge of the people in their organization that best exemplify that vision. That vision, wisdom and knowledge is presented to others in their company in a way that gets to their emotional Elephant and provides a clear, consistent path for people to reach their goal, with the added satisfaction of achieving small milestones along the way.  They get the analytical and emotional elements along with an easy to use system to keep the path clear and, most importantly, to keep people on the path to change for the long run.]]>

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