Book Reflection Paper

Date: Sep 16, 2019
Category: Art

In the book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Dan and Chip Heath focus on change in different areas in life. The authors argue that someone or some people have to set the momentum of change by following the bright spots and, shaping the path and motivating the right people for the change. The authors’ seem to have so much to teach on leadership styles, inspiring others, leading with vision, team work and other similar lessons. In order to understand these and many other lessons from the book, a reflection of the authors’ biographies, their arguments in this book and how it relates to other things such as leadership is essential.

Authors’ Biographies

Starting with the authors’ biographies, Chip Heath and Dan Heath are brothers. Chip is a Professor in the area of organizations and business strategies at Stanford Graduate School of Business. While Dan is at Case Center in the University of Duke University, where he is a Senior Fellow who supports entrepreneurs. He is responsible for founding the Change Academy in the same institution, which is crafted to lift social sector leaders’ impact. The two authors have co-authored other books apart from Switch, which unlike others became on top of the bestseller list.

A Short Synopsis of the Book

In Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, the authors talk of lasting changes and how to instill them. The authors argue that every problem is a situation problem, which can be changed. Change, according to these authors not only needs the drive to make it happen, but also requires planning and energy. This, however, can only happen when following the bright spots and, shaping the path and motivating the right people for the change is done. The authors also argue that change ranges from small to big change and the latter demands much from the people involved especially in terms of thinking. This means that change demands much thinking from the people involved. In short, what the two authors are trying to imply is that change does not bring itself, its people that begin and carry on with change.

Why I Chose the Book

One of the reasons why I chose the book for the reflection is because the book inspires change at a personal level. The book also seems speak against being dormant in all areas of life and motivates me to continue looking for areas of change in my life. As a person who has entrepreneurship in mind, the book motivates me to start looking for areas that need change and work hard to make this happen. As a person who believes in leadership, the book teaches me how to motivate others in the right path.

How the Book Relates To Class Learning Outcomes

A summary of the book shows that it is related to various class readings such as leadership, teamwork and others similar issues. On leadership, the authors argue that the leader is the one who is responsible for directing, motivating and shaping the right path towards change. In short, the ideal leadership style according to these authors is transformational leadership style as it leads to positive changes among people and systems. In the authors’ words, transformational leaders “direct the rider”. In this case, transformational leaders have the task of investigating any workable problem and continue to clone it. These leaders are also the ones that point out to the right direction as the ones directing the rider. Dan and Chip Heath explains that when the leader knows the direction, change becomes easier and worth to take a risk for. Transformation leadership is the one that enhances the correct morale, performance and motivation of the followers using different mechanisms. In the authors’ words, it “motivates the elephant”. This means that a transformational leader makes people feel the change and breaks down the change into a workable change while instilling growth in the mind of the followers or team. A transformational leader also “shapes the path” meaning that he or she shapes the situation in response to other situational changes. This role also involves building a customary habit, which according to Chip and Dan is free or “doesn’t tax the rider.” Such a leader also helps in making the change behavior into a contagious behavior.

Apart from transformational leaders, the book also talks about visionary and inspirational. Visionary leaders hold such qualities as persistence and conviction. This is captured in the authors’ argument that failure is common in the change journey. However, this should not be the end of the journey. Instead, it should trigger the flight meaning that failure should lead to persistence. Conviction is seen in the authors’ argument of a growth mindset meaning that a person who is convinced that growth must take place cannot be brought down. Such people are likely to accept criticism, which in turns makes them better. One the other side, inspirational leaders are those who have the passion of change and impart this passion to others. The two authors argue that such leaders make others feel something concerning the change. They also create a change and growth mindset among the people they lead.

 

Another notable issue from the book is the issue of teamwork and team development. Teams, as it can be noted, have their leaders who in turn have the tasks of motivating and leading their team members. It is also clear that teams, no matter how small they are, can accomplish the unthinkable. A good example provided in the book is the IHI team, which convinced many hospitals to join the IHI interventions in order to reduce patient death rates. All a team need to have according to the arguments presented is solidity and the right faith. Communication is also important.

The authors also deal with issues related to the evolution of teams such as team conflicts, which can be overcome using proper communication and feedback. Teams also need motivation and goals to guide the team’s activities.

Lessons Learned

of the big lessons learned from the book is that having positive emotions help in broadening and building our actions and thoughts. The authors stress that the brain is more inclined to the positive since many people do not believe in the negative. Instead, they believe in the positive. A good example is with the leadership skills, which most people believe that they are above average in them and that they have the capability of getting along with others. This means that we should not be more inclined to the negative. Instead, we should teach our hearts to lean on the positive and by so doing we can do great things.

On positivity, the author argues that positivity helps people in being more willing to play and fool around. This in turn continues to build their skills and resources and also broadens their need to investigate. Being positive broadens people’s interests in learning new things and tackling new challenges. They then become more open to other things such as new things and new ideas. Personal goals are also broadened and more change is even expected. Therefore, positivity as opposed to negativity should be encouraged.

The second biggest lesson learned from the book is that failure in life or when making changes is a must. People hate failure when trying to make changes. The authors’ advice that in order to appropriately deal with failure, expectation of failure should be created not as the main mission, but as a side mission. This means that the brain should be programmed that it is possible to fail in the path of change. This helps in keeping the spirit up and being ready for the failure when it does come. It helps people in devising ways of dealing with failure meaning that this alone can lead to success.

Another big lesson from the book is the importance of habits as they create change. Creating a positive behavior habit allows good things to happen without having to put so much pressure on the individual. This means that a person who wants big things to happen in his or her life has to change their habits. Leaders who are interested in seeing good things happen in their teams have to instill habits in their teams.

The Book and Its Relation to Leadership

Because of the things discussed in this book, aspiring leaders should make it their duty to read the book. This is because it can help them in changing their attitudes about leadership and followership. The book can trigger the right attitude.

The book is also important to entrepreneurs or people who want to start their own businesses since it offers step by step advice on how to make things happen. This includes idea generation, getting the right people to work on the task and growing from small to big.