“Switch: How to change Things when the change is hard” Book Should Every Libyan read it

By looking for any signs of how to change myself and my people, I have targeted some bestseller books that talk about changing and how to influence other people. I’ve done reading the first book. “Switch: How to change Things When The Change Is Hard” By Chip and Dan Heath. It’s an amazing book that I couldn’t stop reading it. I decided to give a summery, blink, or (الزبدة) of this great book here.

First of all, I’m going to illustrate some definitions that are used heavily in the book:

The Rider is the rational side of human brains. The rider goes for knowledge. He’s the thinker and planner. Most important he’s the decision maker.
The Elephant is the emotional side of human brains. It’s motivated and fueled by hope. It could be automated accordingly.
The path is the way to the change. It’s the situation or the environment that affects the change.
Heath uses the rider, elephant, and the path to illustrate the processes toward the change. Moving the elephant by the rider on the path from A to B is what the book is talking about.

Heath suggests that in order to make any change, we have to target one or more of the three parts. People or organizations could be directed to the full change by using one of combination of the technique in this book. Let’s make the change by:

Direct the Rider

This is where we should touch on Libyan people’s rational side. Unfortunately, lots of Libyans don’t use this side. I know it’s not actually true. But the truth is we are live more on our emotional side. Because “what looks like resistance is often lack of clarity” Heath says. For example, lots of regular Libyans, especially the old one, can’t understand the idea of using Visa Cards to purchase  stuff. Because they don’t have any idea on how it works, they refuse the change. They will keep using cash. Therefore, we could make it clear for them that their rational side (The rider) will have an image before making the change .Let’s target their rational side (the rider) by:

1-Find the bright spots :

Give them some case studies. Show them what’s working and not working. We have to dig deep of any bright spots in Libya or outside Libya that succeed. If something is working, we should copy it. Understanding what makes it work, analysis it, then replicate it. For example, Turkey has dramatically succeed creating modern developed country. Libyans should study and analysis their improvements, and then trying to replicate it . We should concentrate on the strength not on problems. Problem solving mood is waste of time. Instead, we should focus on successful things and ask how we replicate it.

2-script the critical moves:

Sometimes if we want to change, we have to remove the ambiguity. Uncertainty exhausts our brain. Then, we stop thinking about the change. Therefore, the path to the full change should be clear. As the rider controls the elephant, he should create some critical moves toward the change. You can write down the most important moves.  If we ask the child to go to school for the first time without hesitation, he will refuse. Because of the ambiguity in his first day. Thus, to make it easier for the child, go with him to the first day inside the class. Planing a head is important. But going too detailed with every move is not helping the change. Planing only just the critical moves is the best why to the rider. “If you want someone to change with new way, explain the new way clearly” Heath. We should change our goals to behaviors.

3-Point to the Destination:

Everyone is able to imagine the goal that one wants to reach. When you start your diet, you probably imagine how you are going to look like. Big goals motivate you (Both sides, rational and emotional sides). It’s like showing the best future of you. Imagine that Libya is a modern developed country. Then go back and ask what we could do to reach their. So, to motivate people, just point to the best destination. Heath refers to this as “Pastcard fro the future”. For example, once the revolution has erupted, every single Libyan has imagined how Libya will look like after the victory. This was a great motivation factor toward the change, and important fact removes ambiguity.

Motivate the elephant

This is the part where it gets excited. The emotional side (The elephant) is the most heavily side used by Libyans. The emotional side is easy to be guided. To make the switch easy and fast, we have to motivate the elephant. It’s easy to control the young Libyans by touching on their emotions. It’s used everyday in the current conflict (How they make impact on their opinion by the media). Therefore, this energy should be used in the correct place. Let’s use their elephant to motivate them for the good change. Let’s target their emotional side by:

1-Find the feeling

Most of the theories say that to change something we should perform analysis, thinking, and then changing steps in this order. However, to motivate the elephant, we need to perform it like this way: see, feel, and then change. That’s why we need to find the feeling. We should motivate the people to become interested in the change. For example, because of their feeling toward their country, Libyans in 2011 were full of motivation to change. Once they lose the feeling, Libya has fallen apart. A father could talk to his son everyday to pay more attention to his studies. But his son can’t get the importance of his study. Therefore, the father, in one of their trips, pointed to some homeless people who sleep in streets and said: son, if you don’t study, you become like these people. This is where we find the feeling. We need to find something that Libyans care about.

2-Shrink the change

It’s another term of “small wins“. The journey of 1000 mile starts with the first mile. People tend to do the short stuff first. So, to make the change easier, we have to split it into small parts. It’s easy to make impact on people feeling by convincing that the change is easy and quick. Once we finish the first easy thing, we will have the motivation to do the other things. For example, in Libya, we can focus on security issues first. Trying not over loaded ourselves with too much changes. Finishing the security issues, we can move to next things, such as education. By focusing on issues part by part we can improve Libya. Once we succeed in something, we will have the motivation to do the next step.

3-Grow your people

This is where we should touch on our identity. Grow your people means make them believe in their ability toward the change. We have to embrace the new Libyan identity as capable of the change. How to make this identity grow, by accepting the current situation as failure. Then, accepting the failure as inevitable but also useful. The failure teaches us how to improve. Not doing it again. The author of the book describes it as muscles that are not fixed but can be trained to become more powerful. That’s way we should implant it in our people. Once people become confident, it becomes easier to change them.

Shape the path

To make it easier for them to change, we have to make the path easy and clear. The path is embedded in our environment. When you drive your car on a road for the first time, you usually pay too much attention to the signs on the side road. So, our path toward the change should be marked down with good signs. Most importantly, make this path a cycle never end. Make it sustainable for the future change. Let’s target the path now by:

1-Tweak the environment

The author says what looks like people’s problem is often situation’s problem. That’s truth. Most Libyans when they travel, they follow the rules perfectly. For example, someone  throws trashes in his Libyan city. While outside Libya, the same person never does that. Why? because of our situation now. There are many factors don’t support the change, such as the absence of orders and laws. I’ve written a complete topic describes the effect of our environment toward the change. 

2-Build habits

The good habit helps the change. The elephant is the responsible of the habit part in our brains. Once we construct the perfect habit, we will get a free ride. The autopilot of our brain will start functioning without any rider’s intervention, which means relief and no stress. To build the good habit, we need to build the habit loop. If we setup it correctly, we will build habit that will make the change. I’ve written a topic talks about Libyan Habit and How to Change it. 

3-Rally the herd

When people lack of clarity, they tend to observe the other people and try to do what they are doing. It’s the social norms. It’s easy to follow other people if you don’t understand something. Such as in airports, when you don’t know where to go in terminal, you follow other people hoping they know the way out. Therefore, spreading the right behavior among the people makes it easier to change. Behavior is contagious.

I made  this video for more illustration:

Summary

When you want to change yourself to others, three important key components affect your success: The rider represents the rational side. The elephant represents the emotional side. The path represents the situation and environment.   The three factors make the change tangible.

 

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