Introducing Change So That It Sticks

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Too often we try to make a case for change by giving people facts and figures. We inundate the people who need to support us with data. And we lose them in the process. Mark Twain once said that no sinner was ever converted after the first twenty minutes of a sermon. The corporate counterpart might be: no one ever accepted a change after the first five slides of a PowerPoint show.

Making a case is a combination of information, a favorable emotional reaction, and trust in the person (or group) that is presenting the idea. (You may recognize that as the three levels of resistance and support that I have written about in this blog and elsewhere.)

Here is a resource that can help all of us make a compelling case for our ideas. Made to Stick is a relatively new book by Chip Heath and Dan Heath and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

The authors explore why some ideas stick and others are simply forgotten. For example, they quote John F. Kennedy’s famous line from a 1961 speech in which he says, “put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade.” Clear, compelling, and memorable. In fact, it is so memorable that 46 years later, people still use it as an example of a good vision statement. (That should tell you just how few really compelling vision statements there are floating around out there.)

The book is filled with great examples. And the authors take their own advice. This book is made to stick.