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Change can be hard — but there are ways to make it easier...

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Adopting new software, which companies do when they become Arena customers, is just one type of change that can impact a company’s processes. Even when a company is making a change for the better, requiring people to adopt new ways of doing things is not always easy. If you find yourself trying to effect change in your workplace, you may want to check out How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

The premise of Switch is that in order to successfully effect change, you must do three things:

  1. Create an environment that supports the changed behavior.

  2. Appeal to the rational minds of those who must change, so that the change “makes sense.”

  3. Connect with the emotions of those who must change, so that they approach the change with passion and motivation.

The book includes an interesting real-life example:

A manager needed to convince leaders at his company to change the purchasing system. Rather than make a presentation of spreadsheets and slides alone, this manager investigated a common item used at his company’s facilities: gloves. He found that the company bought 424 DIFFERENT kinds of gloves and that similar gloves were purchased from different suppliers by different groups for radically different prices. To make his point at the key meeting on the purchasing system upgrade, he placed a sample of each pair of gloves, tagged with its price, on the conference room table. When the division heads saw the enormous pile of gloves, they thought, “This is crazy…we have to fix this!” Their emotions were engaged, and they were galvanized to improve the purchasing system.

If your company needs to upgrade a software system or improve a key business process but is struggling to act, Switch may be a helpful read. Business change can be hard, but the Heaths would like to make it easier.

About the Author

Kathy Davies

Kathy teaches at Stanford University, where her students use Design Thinking to design cutting edge products and to reshape their lives, at Stanford and beyond. Kathy has worked with Arena ...

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