Chapter 3 Critical Moves for Change Measurement of Performance Progress Paper Identify the “Critical Moves” Switch Chapter 3Make a list of 20 things you’d

Chapter 3 Critical Moves for Change Measurement of Performance Progress Paper Identify the “Critical Moves” Switch Chapter 3Make a list of 20 things you’d like to accomplish. Can you rank-order them?What would be the most cost-effective way of making progress? Remember, you don’t need to develop the complete battle plan, you just need to take a substantial step toward your final destination. Buying 1% milk didn’t solve the diet problems of West Virginians, but it was a really important first step. CHIP HEATH
Why is it so hard to make lasting
changes in our companies, in our
communities, and in our own lives?
The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s
built into our brains, say Chip and Dan
Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed
bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have
discovered that our minds are ruled by two
different systems-the rational mind and
the emotional mind-that compete for con­
trol. The rational mind wants a great beach
body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo
cookie. The rational mind wants to change
something at
work; the
emotional mind
loves the comfort of the existing routine.
This tension can doom a change effort-but
if it is overcome, change can come quickly.
In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday
people—employees and managers, parents
and nurses-have united both minds and, as
a result, achieved dramatic results:

The lowly medical interns who managed
to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical
practice that was endangering patients (see
page 242)

The home-organizing guru who developed
a simple technique for overcoming the dread
of housekeeping (see page 130)

The manager who transformed a lackadaisi­
cal customer-support team into service zealots
by removing a standard tool of customer service
(see page 199)
In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the
Heaths bring together decades of counterin­
tuitive research in psychology, sociology, and
other fields to shed new light on how we can
(continul!d on back flap)
effect transformative change. Switch shows
that successful changes follow a pattern, a pat­
tern you can use to make the changes that mat­
ter to you, whether your interest is in changing
the world or changing your waistline.
CHIP HEATH is a professor at the Graduate
School of Business at Stanford University. He
lives in Los Gatos, California. DAN HEATH is
a senior fellow at Duke University’s Center
for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneur­
ship (CASE). Previously, he was a researcher
and case writer at Harvard Business School,
as well as the cofounder of a college textbook
publishing firm called Thinkwell. Dan lives
in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Heath broth­
ers write a monthly column for Fast Company
Also available as an eBook and on audio
from Random House
Jackel design: w.
Author phorogrlliph:
Broadway Books
New York· 2/10
Printed in the
Broadway Books
New York
Copyright © 2010 by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Broadway Books, an imprint of the
Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
and the Broadway Books colophon
of Random House, Inc.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Heath, Chip.
Switch: how to change things when change is hard / Chip Heath and Dan
Heath.-lst ed.
l. Change (Psychology) I. Heath, Dan, 1973-11. Title.
BF637.C4H43 201O
ISBN 978-0-385-52875-7
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition
C o ntents
1 . Three Surprises About Change
2. Find the Bright Spots
3. Script the Critical Moves
4. Point to the Destination
5. Find the Feeling
1 01
6. Shrink the Change
1 24
7. Grow Your People
1 49
8. Tweak the Environment
9. Build Habits
1 0. Rally the Herd
1 79
11. Keep the Switch Going
How to Make a Switch
Overcoming Obstacles
Next Steps
Recommendations for Additional Reading
Three Surprises About Change
One Saturday in 2000, some unsuspecting moviegoers showed
up at a suburban theater in Chicago to catch a 1 :05 p.m. mati­
nee of Mel Gibson’s action flick Payback. They were handed a soft
drink and
free bucket of popcorn and were asked to stick
around after the movie to answer a few questions about the con­
cession stand. These movie fans were unwitting participants in a
study of irrational eating behavior.
There was something unusual about the popcorn they re­
ceived. It was wretched. In fact, it had been carefully engineered
to be wretched. It had been popped five days earlier and was so
stale that it squeaked when you ate it. One moviegoer later com­
pared it to Styrofoam packing peanuts, and two others, forgetting
that they’d received the popcorn for free, demanded their
money back.
Some of them got their free popcorn in a medium-size bucket,
T hr e e S u r p r i s e s A b o u t C h a n g e
and others got a large bucket-the sort of huge tub that looks
like it might once have been an above-ground swimming pool.
Every person got a bucket so there’d be no need to share. The re­
searchers responsible for the study were interested in a simple
question: Would the people with bigger buckets eat more?
Both buckets were so big that none of the moviegoers could
finish their individual portions. So the actual research question
was a bit more specific: Would somebody with a larger inex­
haustible supply of popcorn eat more than someone with a
smaller inexhaustible supply?
The sneaky researchers weighed the buckets before and after
the movie, so they were able to measure precisely how much pop­
corn each person ate. The results were stunning: People with the
large buckets ate 53 percent more popcorn than people with the
medium size. That’s the equivalent of 1 73 more calories and ap­
proximately 21 extra hand-dips into the bucket.
Brian Wansink, the author of the study, runs the Food and
Brand Lab at Cornell University, and he described the results in
his book Mindless Eating: “We’ve run other popcorn studies, and
the results were always the same, however we tweaked the details.
It didn’t matter if our moviegoers were in Pennsylvania, Illinois,
or Iowa, and it didn’t matter what kind of movie was showing; all
of our popcorn studies led to the same conclusion. People eat
more when you give them a bigger container. Period.”
No other theory explains the behavior. These people weren’t
eating for pleasure. (The popcorn was so stale it squeaked!) They
weren’t driven by a desire to finish their portion. (Both buckets
were too big to finish.) It didn’t matter whether they were hungry
or full. The equation is unyielding: Bigger container
more eating.
Best of all, people refused to believe the results. After the
movie, the researchers told the moviegoers about the two bucket
sizes and the findings of their past research. The researchers asked,
Do you think you ate more because of the larger size? The ma­
jority scoffed at the idea, saying, “Things like that don’t trick me,”
or, “I’m pretty good at knowing when I’m full.”
W hoops.
Imagine that someone showed you the data from the popcorn­
eating study but didn’t mention the bucket sizes. On your data
summary, you could quickly scan the results and see how much
popcorn different people ate-some people ate a little, some ate
a lot, and some seemed to be testing the physical limits of the
human stomach. Armed with a data set like that, you would find
it easy to jump to conclusions.
Some people are Reasonable Snack­
ers, and others are Big Gluttons.
A public-health expert, studying that data alongside you,
would likely get very worried about the Gluttons. “We need to mo­
tivate these people to adopt healthier snacking behaviors! Let’s find
ways to show them the health hazards ofeating so much!
But wait a second. If you want people to eat less popcorn, the
solution is pretty simple: Give them smaller buckets. You don’t
have to worry about their knowledge or their attitudes.
You can see how easy it would be to turn an easy change prob­
lem (shrinking people’s buckets) into a hard change problem
(convincing people to think differently) . And that’s the first sur­
prise about change: What looks like a people problem is often a
situation problem.
This is a book to help you change things. We consider change at
every level-individual, organizational, and societal. Maybe you
T h r e e S u r p r i s e s A b o u t C h a n ge
want to help your brother beat his gambling addiction. Maybe
you need your team at work to act more frugally because of mar­
ket conditions. Maybe you wish more of your neighbors would
bike to work.
Usually these topics are treated separately-there is “change
management” advice for executives and “self-help” advice for in­
dividuals and “change the world” advice for activists. That’s a
shame, because all change efforts have something in common:
For anything to change, someone has to start acting differently.
Your brother has got to stay out of the casino; your employees
have got to start booking coach fares. Ultimately, all change ef­
forts boil down to the same mission: Can you get people to start
behaving in a new way?
We know what you’re thinking-people resist change. But it’s
not quite that easy. Babies are born every day to parents who, in­
explicably, welcome the change. Think about the sheer magni­
tude of that change! Would anyone agree to work for a boss who’d
wake you up twice a night, screaming, for trivial administrative
duties? (And what if, every time you wore a new piece of cloth­
ing, the boss spit up on it?) Yet people don’t resist this massive
change-they volunteer for it.
In our lives, we embrace lots of big changes-not only ba­
bies, but marriages and new homes and new technologies and
new job duties. Meanwhile, other behaviors are maddeningly in­
tractable. Smokers keep smoking and kids grow fatter and your
husband can’t ever seem to get his dirty shirts into a hamper.
So there are hard changes and easy changes. What distin­
guishes one from the other? In this book, we argue that success­
ful changes share a common pattern. They require the leader of
the change to do three things at once. We’ve already mentioned
one of those three things: To change someone’s behavior, you’ve
got to change that person’s situation.
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The situation isn’t the whole game, of course. You can send an
alcoholic to rehab, where the new environment will help him go
dry. But what happens when he leaves and loses that influence?
You might see a boost in productivity from your sales reps when
the sales manager shadows them, but what happens afterward
when the situation returns to normal? For individuals’ behavior
to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment
but their heartS and minds.
The problem is this: Often the heart and mind disagree. Fer­
Consider the Clocky, an alarm clock invented by an MIT stu­
dent, Gauri Nanda. It’s no ordinary alarm clock-it has wheels.
You set it at night, and in the morning when the alarm goes off,
it rolls off your nightstand and scurries around the room, forcing
you to chase it down. Picture the scene: You’re crawling around
the bedroom in your underwear, stalking and cursing a runaway
Clocky ensures that you won’t snooze-button your way to di­
saster. And apparently that’s a common fear, since about 35,000
units were purchased, at $50 each, in Clocky’s first two years on
the market (despite minimal marketing).
The success of this invention reveals a lot about human psy­
chology. What it shows, fundamentally, is that we are schizo­
phrenic. Part of us-our rational side-wants to get up at 5:45
a.m., allowing ourselves plenty of time for a quick jog before we
leave for the office. The other part of us-the emotional side­
wakes up in the darkness of the early morning, snoozing inside
a warm cocoon of sheets and blankets, and wants nothing in the
world so much as a few more minutes of sleep. If, like us, your
Three Surprises About Change
emotional side tends to win these internal debates, then you
might be a potential Clocky customer. The beauty of the device
is that it allows your rational side to outsmart your emotional
side. It’s simply impossible to stay cuddled up under the covers
when a rogue alarm clock is rolling around your room.
Let’s be blunt here: Clocky is not a product for a sane species.
If Spock wants to get up at 5:45 a.m., he’ll just get up. No drama
Our built-in schizophrenia is a deeply weird thing, but we
don’t think much about it because we’re so used to it. When
we kick off a new diet, we toss the Cheetos and Oreos out of the
pantry, because our rational side knows that when our emotional
side gets a craving, there’s no hope of self-control. The only op­
tion is to remove the temptation altogether. (For the record, some
MIT student will make a fortune designing Cheetos that scurry
away from people when they’re on a diet.)
The unavoidable conclusion is this: Your brain isn’t of one
The conventional wisdom in psychology, in fact, is that the
brain has two independent systems at work at all times. First,
there’s what we called the emotional side. It’s the part of you that
is instinctive, that feels pain and pleasure. Second, there’s the ra­
tional side, also known as the reflective or conscious system. It’s
the part of you that deliberates and analyzes and looks into the
In the past few decades, psychologists have learned a lot about
these two systems, but of course mankind has always been aware
of the tension. Plato said that in our heads we have a rational
charioteer who has to rein in an unruly horse that “barely yields
to horsewhip and goad combined.” Freud wrote about the selfish
id and the conscientious superego (and also about the ego, which
T h r e e S u r p r i s e s A b o u t C ha n g e
plan, to think beyond the moment (all those things that your pet
can’t do).
But what may surprise you is that the Elephant also has enor­
mous strengths and that the Rider has crippling weaknesses. The
Elephant isn’t always the bad guy. Emotion is the Elephant’s
turf-love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. That fierce
instinct you have to protect your kids against harm-that’s the
Elephant. That spine-stiffening you feel when you need to stand
up for yourself-that’s the Elephant.
And even more important if you’re contemplating a change, the .
Elephant is the one who gets things done. To make progress toward
a goal, whether it’s noble or crass, requires the energy and drive of
the Elephant. And this strength is the mirror image of the Rider’s
great weakness: spinning his wheels. The Rider tends to overana­
lyze and overthink things. Chances are, you know people with Rider
problems: your friend who can agonize for twenty minutes about
what to eat for dinner; your colleague who can brainstorm about
new ideas for hours but can’t ever seem to make a decision.
If you want to change things, you’ve got to appeal to both.
The Rider provides the planning and direction, and the Elephant
provides the energy. So if you reach �he Riders of your team but
not the Elephants, team members will have understanding with­
out motivation. If you reach their Elephants but not their Riders,
they’ll have passion without direction. In both cases, the flaws
can be paralyzing .
A reluctant Elephant and a wheel-spinning
Rider can both ensure that nothing changes. But when Elephants
and Riders move together, change can come easily.
When Rider and Elephant disagree about which way to move,
you’ve got a problem. The Rider can get his way temporarily-he
Thr e e S u r p r i s e s A b o u t C h a n g e
can tug on the reins hard enough to get the Elephant to submit.
(Anytime you use willpower you’re doing exactly that.) But the
Rider can’t win a tug-of-war with a huge animal for long. He sim­
ply gets exhausted.
To see this point more clearly, consider the behavior of some
college students who participated in a study about “food
perception” (or so they were told). They reported to the lab a bit
hungry; they’d been asked not to eat for at least three hours
beforehand. They were led to a room that smelled amazing­
the researchers had just baked chocolate-chip cookies. On a
table in the center of the room were two bowls. One held a
sampling of chocolates, along with the warm, fresh-baked
chocolate-chip cookies they’d smelled. The other bowl held a
bunch of radishes.
The researchers had prepped a cover story: We’ve selected
chocolates and radishes because they have highly distinctive
tastes. Tomorrow, we’ll contact you and ask about your memory
of the taste sensations you experienced while eating them.
Half the participants were asked to eat two or three cookies
and some chocolate candies, but no radishes. The other half were
asked to eat at least two or three radishes, but no cookies. While
they ate, the researchers left the room, intending, rather sadisti­
cally, to induce temptation: They wanted those poor radish-eaters
to sit there, alone, nibbling on rabbit food, glancing enviously at
the fresh-baked cookies. (It probably goes without saying that the
cookie-eaters experienced no great struggle in resisting the rad­
ishes.) Despite the temptation, all participants ate what they were
asked to eat, and none of the radish-eaters snuck a cookie. That’s
willpower at work.
At that point, the “taste study” was officially over, and another
group of researchers entered with a second, supposedly unrelated
study: We’re trying to find who’s better at solving problems,
Th r e e S u r p r i s e s A b o u t Cha n ge
college students or high school students. This framing was in­
tended to get the college students to puff out their chests and
take the forthcoming task seriously.
The college students were presented with a series of puzzles that
required them to trace a complicated geometric shape without re­
tracing any lines and without lifting their pencils from the paper.
They were given multiple sheets of paper so they could try over
and over. In reality, the puzzles were designed to be unsolvable.
The researchers wanted to see how long the college students would
persist in a difficult, frustrating task before they finally gave up.
The “untempted” students, who had not had to resist eating
the chocolate-chip cookies, spent nineteen minutes on the task,
making thirty-four well-intentioned attempts to solve the prob­
The radish-eaters were less persistent. They gave up after only
eight minutes-less that:I half the time spent by the cookie­
eaters-and they managed only nineteen solution attempts. Why
did they quit so easily?
The answer may surprise you: They ran out of self·control. In
studies like this one, psychologists have discovered .that self­
control is an exhaustible resource. It’s like doing bench presses at
the gym. The first one is easy, when your muscles are fresh. But
with each additional repetition, your muscles get more exhausted,
until you can’t lift the bar again. The radish-eaters had drained
their self-control by resisting the cookies. So when their Ele­
too hard, it’s nofun, we’re no good at this-their Riders didn’t have
phants, inevitably, started complaining about the puzzle task

enough strength to yank on the reins for more than eight min­
utes. Meanwhile, the cookie-eaters had a fresh, untaxed Rider,
who fought off the Elephant for nineteen minutes.
Self-control is an exhaustible resource. This is a
crucial realiza­
tion, because when we talk about “self-control,” we don’t mean
Thr e e S urp r i s e s A b o u t C h a n g e
the narrow sense of the word, as in the willpower needed to fight
vice (smokes, cookies, alcohol) . We’re talking about a broader
kind of self-supervision. Think of the way your mind works when
you’re giving negative feedback to an employee, or assembling a
new bookshelf, or learning a new …
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