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Clarity Dissolves Resistance - Switch


It’s amazing how many business owners and executives fail to understand the importance of determining where they want to go. Nothing prevents growth like a lack of clarity and vision for the future. Without this vision it’s difficult to know your priorities.  

As Verne Harnish [Mastering the Rockefeller Habits] states, “A company with too many priorities has no priorities.”

I’m reading the book Switch, How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, and the title for this blog comes from the closing line of chapter 3 Script the Critical Moves. I happen to get an extra copy of the book and if you’re the first to make a comment on this blog on the website, I’ll send you a copy of the book absolutely free. 

The book reveals how seemingly impossible and extremely difficult issues have been resolved with small changes that follow a distinct pattern which reveals the critical nature of clarity. From malnutrition in Viet Nam, reviving Brazil’s railroad system, reversing abusive parent behavior, to reviving the local economy in Miner County, South Dakota, big problems are not solved by big solutions.  Instead they were solved with simple, small solutions. 

Switch delivers a three part framework to change behavior and solve problems:

1.       Direct the rider. Human behavior is like a rider on an elephant. The rider is logic, the elephant emotion. Many times what appears to be resistance, either in ourselves or the people we are leading, is often a lack of clarity. Provide crystal clear decision making. 

2.       Motivate the Elephant. You must engage yourself and your people emotionally with the decision. What looks like laziness if more often exhaustion. Trying to get something done by force is exhausting. Getting emotional engagement is absolutely required to change behavior.

3.       Shape the Path. People problems are often disguised as situation problems. An example of this is provided in the book where despite popcorn being stale, moviegoers ate more when given a larger container. Shape the Path and you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening to the Rider and the Elephant.

The book is loaded with examples of how using this simplistic approach resulted in monumental change. If you want to discover how to implement change I encourage you to pick up this book or audio.

At Positioning Systems we teach our clients to achieve clarity on their personal mission, their company mission, One Page Strategic Plan, and then determine their priorities for the year and each quarter. The leader and executive team need to be in agreement on priorities in order to get their team members to follow. Clarity dissolves resistance. When everyone is on the same page, agreeing on priorities heart and mind follow. One hour of planning saves ten hours of doing. Clarity multiplies this leverage. 

We’ll explore the first stage of this clarity journey: personal mission, and why it’s so important in my next blog. 


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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.   We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.