Nov 8, 2017 in Book Report

How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Heaths’ How to Change Things When Change is Hard is one of most practical books in psychology. The book gives an insight into the reasons as to why people seem to oppose change. It also clarifies the remedies of resistance to change. The book is very inspiring since it directs readers on how to handle change and the difficulties that come with it. In day to day life, there are situation in which change is inevitable. Therefore, this is a book to be read by all, not only people in managerial positions. Change runs from intending to alter some behavior in personal life to big changes expected in companies to reduce cost and improve efficiency. Regardless of the intensity of the change expected, resistance is a common feature. Heaths took a study on change and the difficulties, and they have a share in this book.

This book suggests that people have two sides of their minds: the irrational mind and rational the mind. These two are the classifications or systems of the human mind. The rational mind advocates for change so as to progress, whereas the irrational mind advocates for the status quo. The irrational mind, which is the emotional system of the human mind, enjoys the comfort of the status quo. On the other hand, the rational mind, which is the reasoning system of the human mind, enjoys the progress of change.  These two systems cause the conflict about change in life. People love change because of the benefits it comes with, but they fear the discomfort that changes brings. Therefore, for people to accept change, they have to reconcile the two warring systems of their mind. Change is easy to come by if people are able to reconcile their warring system to an agreement. In support of this, Heath brothers give practical examples that look so real in the world today. They give three categories of examples. First, the medical students, who were able to change a medical practice, which was imperiling the patients. The second example is about a manager who improved the customer service after removing a standard instrument. The third example was the home organizing pundit who developed a system that removed the trepidation of housekeeping. These three examples have served to educate many people and encourage them that it is possible to implement change. The inspiration book unfolds these three examples in a narrative manner, which makes it very interesting for the readers. To follow how the medical students changed a practice that was imperiling the lives of patients is a breath taking and unpredictable scenario. It is not easy to tell what will come of their attempt, but to the readers’ relief they succeeded. This teaches the reader that it is possible to break through the veil of resistance to change and emerge victoriously. From the example of the manager who improved the customer service system, readers learn that employees can respond positively only to the change that they understand. One important tool to implement change is communication. People need to understand what is expected of them, what the change entails and the expected result of this change. With this information, people are willing and ready to cooperate towards realizing the change. The manager seems to face resistance to change at first, but once he explains to the subordinate, and they understand what the project is all about, it becomes easier to realize the change.

Heaths have employed several tools of literature to spice the book. The most employed tool is imagery where the authors have used descriptive words in the narration of examples to create pictures to the readers. The use of real life examples makes the book more reliable, than the use of theoretical examples. This makes it easy for readers to learn from the book through imitation of the characters in the book. Reading through the narrations is so real where the readers are engaged and, thus, giving more meaning to the piece of writing. Although the book seems psychological, it is written in simple language; hence, it fits to be read by the majority.

In conclusion, this book sheds light on how to get people to respond positively to plans of change. Therefore, it can be used as a good tool of informing managers, directors and supervisors on how to motivate their juniors towards change. It is a book that would help people in managerial positions learn to work with their subordinate staff towards achieving dreams of change. For all the organizations which have been experiencing difficulties in implementing new plans and projects, this is a must read for the directors and managers. Through the reading of this book, the managers will know how to motivate others and also to motivate themselves. Even if this is highly recommended for managers and directors, nobody is an exception. As Heaths said, small change and big change require the same pattern to implement. Managers need to read so as to implement big organizational dreams of change; while individuals need to read it to implement the small plans of change in their lives. The formula to change the running of an organization is the same as that of changing one’s waistline. Therefore, this book if fit to inspire people of all levels and class. Everybody needs change, and everyone at some point resisted change; therefore, it is recommendable for all to read this book. This would make it easy all over the world for change to be implemented.

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