About ten years ago I started reading a lot of business type books. I don't know if it had to do with turning 30 or that there was just a wave of popular business books around that time that were accessible to average people. Think books like Freakonomics
I decided to start reading through our little book collection at work because I haven't read anything in ages, I love new ideas and it started to bring some relief to my work day. At New Job employees were always encouraged to surf the web and seek out ideas; not so much at my current workplace because we're so understaffed and Internet usage is monitored. But I doubt anyone is going to give me heck for reading a little bit at the end of the day!
I really enjoyed Switch
by Chip and Dan Heath. Some of the concepts were not new to me because of all the change management blah blah blah thrown at me over the years during buyouts and re-orgs. What makes Switch so amazing is the warm, encouraging and conversational tone that the Heaths bring to the book. It's a very empowering tactic, especially as they profile everyday people trying to make their workplace safer or improve student relationships.
Change is hard. People don't like change. That much is obvious! The brothers lay out a framework that we're all Elephants being goaded by Riders on a Path. This gets a little tiresome, but the gist is that the Rider is controlling, easily exhausted and can be too analytical. The Elephant is big, strong and guided by emotion. Obviously the Path is the road to change. The book is broken up into short sections in three parts detailing each concept. When all three ideas are aligned, magical change happens :)
The book has so many a-ha moments. You can find a great summary here
. Barriers to change include end goals which lack clarity, a lack of direction, focusing on the wrong problem, lack of appeal to emotion and asks that are too big. Loads of anecdotes about how ordinary people influenced change are the huge strength of the book although if you are looking for concrete directions, this isn't the book for you. Basically the authors offer suggestions because of course there is no one size fits all solution.
I highly recommend this book - it's great for one's personal life along with work life too.