Book Review: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

At a recent learning session, we asked author Chip Heath about the concepts in his book, Switch, and we also asked the team at Klein ISD to review the book for our February Book Club pick.

See their takeaways from the book and how they plan to implement these lessons into their district.

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Something’s wrong. The system is broken.

When leaders approach problems, it’s often from a deficit perspective. We fixate on the problem itself, which can blind us to the solution.

When your first instinct is to seek out what’s going right, you’re probably going to find your answer.

For our team at Klein Independent School District, one of the most powerful takeaways from Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch is to start by looking for bright spots. When your first instinct is to seek out what’s going right, you’re probably going to find your answer.

The work we are doing with The Holdsworth Center involves making significant changes to a large and complicated system. The idea of searching for the bright spots and unpacking them is extremely helpful. With nearly 52,000 students and 7,000 employees across the district, you can bet everyone is doing things just a little differently from one another. But if we find pockets of greatness and figure out the “secret sauce,” we can work to scale that across the entire system.

Along those same lines, as we plan for an upcoming change, it’s helpful for us to reflect upon changes we made in the past. Why did one change succeed while another flopped?

Switch has also helped us understand the importance of “rallying the herd.” Once we have a plan for change, we have to be thoughtful about the way we communicate with everyone in our district. We’re all leaders – principals are leading schools, teachers are leading students and peers, students are leading peers—even bus drivers are leading their own herd

To make the change stick, everyone has to buy in and commit.

No doubt, change will be hard. But with Switch in our back pockets and The Holdsworth Center alongside us, we feel prepared for the challenge.

You can find Switch at Barnes and Noble.

See more of our Book Club recommendations.