by Rob Marsh
Early last year, we posted our list of Books that Every Small Business Person Should Read. Coming in at #3 on that list is a book called Make to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath. We could have just as easily included their second book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. Both books are essential reading for any budding entrepreneur who is looking to make a difference and let people know about it.
When it comes to change and communication in the business world, the Heath brothers know what they’re talking about. Chip is a professor of organizational behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and Dan is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center. Yeah, they’re pretty smart.
We’re big fans of both books, but in case you haven’t had the chance to read them yet, here are a few things they’ve written and said that entrepreneurs and small business owners may relate to:
“The first problem of communication is getting people’s attention.”
“If entrepreneurs want to succeed, as venture capitalists like to say, they’d better be selling aspirin rather than vitamins. Vitamins are nice; they’re healthy. But aspirin cures your pain; it’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.”
“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”
“Knowledge is rarely enough to spark change; it takes emotion to bring knowledge to a boil.”
“Plans are useful in the sense that they’re proof that planning has taken place. The planning process forces people to think through the right issues. But as for the plans themselves, they just don’t work on the battle field.”
“The more we reduce the amount of information in an idea, the stickier it will be.”
“Our rational brain has a problem focus when it needs a solution focus. If you are a manager, ask yourself, what is the ratio of the time you spend solving problems versus scaling successes? We need to switch from archaeological problem solving to bright-spot evangelizing.”
—Dan and Chip Heath, Authors