Archives for posts with tag: Heath
(Clicking on the image above will take you to Amazon where a tiny percentage goes to help fund my book buying habit.)

 

A short book, Entangled Empathy puts forward the case that for upgrading our relationship with animals to one of responding to the “needs’ interests, desires, vulnerabilities, hopes, and unique perspectives” based on the context of their situation rather than focusing on animal “rights.”

What does context have to do with this subject? Gruen uses the example of man and his children entering a subway car where upon the man sits down and closes his eyes while the children proceed to become extremely disruptive. When eventually someone suggests to the man that he do something about the behavior of the children the man agrees, apologizes, and states that his wife had just died and they don’t seem to know how to deal with it anymore than he does.

Essentially, Entangled Empathy is a rallying cry to abandon ridged ethical principles when dealing with animals and move to a more empathic model. To do this we have to recognize that we already have complex relationships with animals and when it comes to their welfare a one size fits all solution can actually be harmful.

There is a lot of merit to what Gruen is talking about in Entangled Empathy; however, the execution leaves a little be desired. There are some rally quite interesting models used to prove ethical points (such as the man and the children on the subway); however these are not expanded upon with any great new insights. Rather they are broken down to component parts and never put back together again.

Gruen does use a couple of examples from her own life, and work, but they are never fully explored in any meaningful fashion. Anyone who reads the book and expects to finish with a set of tools to better handle animal welfare based on entangled empathy is going to be sorely disappointed.

While certainly interesting, and it gives some food for thought, there is little in the way of answers here which makes Entangled Empathy much more that a statement of principles bordering on “we can do better.”

Another great book from the brothers Heath.

It is interesting to note that in retrospect the lessons of “Stick” have had such an impression on the authors that their follow up “Switch” (which I reviewed here) is all the better for it.

The concept of “stickiness” is lifted wholesale from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, but its practical applications go further, from my understanding that Galdwell’s popular work.The basic premises is that stories, personal connections, are what make ideas stick not great raw facts. This has huge implications for marketers and managers. The book delves very deep into why this concept works and does give some great real world examples as you would expect from a book with such a central theory.

Where the book really succeeds, is in it’s ability to predict where ideas will work or not. There is a great example about a journalism class and being able distill ideas, or stories, down to their most basic essence. Another frequently used example is Southwest Airlines who’s most basic mission statement “The Low Cost Airline” informs everything they do. This mission statement becomes a simple idea, that can answer complex questions and can direct behavior.

An intriguing part of the book, and also an excellent framing device, is the use of urban legends and why they succeed where other news items, education, and presentations don’t. If we could make our ideas like urban legends our work as managers, marketers and educators is 90% done.

Switch is the better read, but stick is the more intellectual and deeper work and also have the potential to be significantly more important.

(Clicking on the cover above will take you to the book’s Amazon page and contribute to my book buying habit / problem.)

A brilliant book on change and how to apply it in the real world. Over 250 real world examples and ideas underline the authors basic concept – getting people to change is like someone riding an elephant. Appealing to the logic of change is like appealing to the rider of the elephant. The elephant itself is the emotional connection to change. Finally, the path is the environment which can either help or hinder change.

Through numerous examples, the authors show that by appealing to the rider of a situation (the logical argument), the elephant (emotion), or the path (the environment) change can be effected by addressing these disparate elements individually, or together.

An excellent example of this is provided with nurses making errors in the dispensing of medications to patients. The hospital used in the example had an error rate of 1 in 1,000 – pretty good, but still a lot of errors. The nurses understood the need to not have errors, so the rider / logical part of the problem was not at issue. Likewise, nurses directly saw the effect of errors in medication had on their patients and so had a direct emotional connection – the elephant was on board too. The issue was in the environment or path. Nurses are constantly interrupted by doctors, and other nurses, while they are working and found it difficult not to help when asked, thereby distracting them from their main task. The solution? Tweak the environment / change the path so that nurses did not get distracted.

A bright orange vest was employed whenever a nurse was dispensing medications so that everyone else on the floor knew that they were not to be disturbed. The program was universally hated – the rider element thought it was unnecessary, the vests got lost all the time and hated that they could not help their doctors and colleagues. The elephant part of the problem felt that they might as well wear a dunce cap – the nurses felt demeaned and that the vest drew attention to the fact that they made mistakes.

This might have spelt doom for the program until the data came back. Over six months every department that employed the program saw a decrease in errors of 47%. Needless to say the change in the path / environment won over the rider / logical objections and the elephant / emotional objections because it worked.

The book is also a great champion of checklists which have gotten bad name precisely because they work so well. They can be seen as dehumanizing and giving rise to the idea the checklists mean “a monkey could do it.” Like most objections the book deals with this argument deftly. “Well, if that is true, grab a pilot’s checklist and try your luck with a 747.”

There are a number of other elements that I can’t do justice too here: black and white goals, precise clear instructions, the power of action triggers, and the how to harness the herd to improve culture. But these elements are really tweaks to the fundamental concept of the logical, emotional and environmental components of enacting change.

At the back of the book is, essentially, a manual for enacting change complete with a web link to resources and PDF of a one page overview that the authors encourage you share! It is here by the way. This alone is worth the purchase price of the book and will ensure that the book stays on my desk rather than on a bookshelf.

Wonderfully researched, well thought out, and very smart. “Switch” is essential reading for anyone who want to understand why change can be difficult and what it takes to implement change against the odds. It should also be a template for other business books – ditch the theory unless you can prove it I the real world and show how it applies to the real world. Authors please take note.

Can’t recommend this book enough and owe a huge favor to the person who bought it for me.

(Clicking on the cover above will take you to the book’s Amazon page and contribute to my book buying habit / problem.)

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