How to Ride an Elephant

The book Switch: How to Change Things When Things Are Hard by the Heath Brothers, Chip and Dan is a great and easy read. They state:

For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team. Picture that person (or people).

Each has an emotional Elephant side and a rational Rider side. You’ve got to reach both. And you’ve also got to clear the way for them to succeed. In short, you must do three things:

  1. Direct the RiderFollow the Bright Spots
    • Script the Critical Moves
    • Point to the Destination
  2. Motivate the Elephant (Daniel Pink’s book Drive is really good for this – I will reflect on it soon)
    • Find the Feeling
    • Shrink the Change
    • Grow Your People (Carol Dweck’s Mindset stuff)
  3. Shape the Path
    • Tweak the Environment
    • Build Habits
    • Rally the Herd – behavior is contagious

I really like books like these that try and find commonalities among some of the research and stories that are out there. They’re usually written with businesses in mind, but are also applicable to teachers.There’s no formula to change, but by keeping those three things in mind and figuring how much one needs to address those three areas, the book highlights many successful examples of change.

In terms of schools, this book can apply to all levels: administration, teachers, and students. Whether you want to change the way you diet or you want to change the world, Switch is a nice quick read.


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