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Book Review: What Switch and Smarketing Have in Common

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 4/19/12 6:59 PM

Why I Read It

Change is hard. Knowing what to change, how to change, and predicting whether or not it will be worth it are daunting and overwhelming questions for anyone. Whether it is a change in your personal or business life, we are all trying to make some type of change happen.

I put Switch on my reading list last fall, along with several other titles after the HubSpot User Conference. The biggest piece of what I do, and do best, is helping others to develop the framework that brings about a change. I started reading it as I contemplated some conscious life/business changes myself.

"Whenever we make a change in direction, we need to decide whether we're moving toward something or away from something. It's often a combination, but there's usually a dominating motivation." ~ R.R

What It's About

You might have to read the book yourself (also available in audio for those on the move) to understand what I mean when I say this is a book about elephants and the people who ride them.

I have actually rode (ridden on?) an elephant, and I can tell you one thing from the experience.

They go where they want to, when they want to and there is not a whole lot you can do about it as the rider. 

If however you have a path, that the rider can direct the elephant, then you start seeing effective movement. 

This is the metaphor that the author's use to help the reader to understand what all the Harvard case studies mean and how to create your own change. 

What I Learned

"..understanding a problem doesn't necessarily solve it..."

Some of my Kindle-enabled highlights:

  • Self-control is an exhaustible resource.
  • Clarity dissolves resistance.
  • Successful change transformations...set behavioral goals.
  • Hope is precious to a change effort.
  • Change follows a pattern.
  • Behavior is contagious.
  • Once you spot movement, you've got to reinforce it.
  • Once the change started, it seemed to feed on itself.

What I Put into Practice

  1. Direct the Rider: Clarifying the vision of the change you desire starts with a strategy.
  2. Motivate the Elephant: Look for the bright spots that engineer hope and keep your business moving in the right direction.
  3. Shape the Path: Focus on behaviors that create the bright spots.

For some, change is terrifying so they wait for someone to lead the way. For others, it is scary but electrifying. 

"If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow."

What You Can Do Now

What is the change you are trying to make happen for your business? What are the things that you know you should be doing, but the day to day activities push it onto the back burner? 

The major thing that I took away from my reading is how much the smarketing framework is like the switch framework that the authors describe. Think of it this way:

Marketing is the rider, sales is the elephant, the integration between the two is path. Marketing can try all it wants to analyze and plan to get sales to do what they want. But we all know that sales people don't listen to marketing people when they try to tell them what to do.

Alternately, sales can ignore marketing and go barreling down the path, taking out everything in its way. But, like a bull in the china shop, they might end up doing more harm than good.

Is your rider exhausted trying to control the elephant? Ready to get them to start working together on the same path? 


Topics: smarketing, book review