Making Great Decisions

Stanford’s Chip Heath and McKinsey’s Olivier Sibony discuss new research, fresh frameworks, and practical tools for decision makers.

Chip Heath

At Intuit, founder Scott Cook developed what they call a culture of experimentation. As he put it, most decisions are based on “politics, persuasion, and PowerPoint,” and none of these “three Ps” are fully trustworthy. So Intuit bases decisions on experiments.

Chip Heath, Saras Sarasvathy

Saras Sarasvathy, a professor at the Darden School, at the University of Virginia, has researched the differences between how entrepreneurs and very good senior managers at Fortune 500 firms think. She gives them a scenario about a new-product introduction. The typical Fortune 500 manager will run projections from the market data. But the entrepreneur says, “I don’t trust the data. I’d find a customer and … [ Read more ]

Beyond Biases

In their new book, Chip and Dan Heath lay out a path for making better decisions.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. … [ Read more ]

Made to Stick: Watch the Game Film

Dan Heath and Chip Heath ask, Have you been looking closely enough at your business?

Don’t Recruit Next Generation Talent, Grow It

Dan Heath and Chip Heath explain why you should grow your next generation of talent, not recruit it.

Business Advice From Van Halen

Dan Heath and Chip Heath go to eighth grade, Google, and a Van Halen concert to find early-warning signals for big problems.

Author’s Choice: Getting Back on Track

Tony Hsieh, CEO of and author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, introduces a lesson on how to rally employees around a unified plan from Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

Chip Heath

Many companies try to change themselves by benchmarking other organizations and borrowing their procedures or practices. The irony of benchmarking is that we’re essentially telling organizations to be more like GE or Apple or Nike. As Dev Patnaik, the author of Wired to Care, said to me one time, we know this doesn’t work on a personal level: we resist when members of our families … [ Read more ]

Jim March, Chip Heath

Jim March says there are two very different kinds of logic for making decisions. One is the logic of consequences. We’re great in business at changing behavior by changing consequences. If we want customers to buy more, we lower prices. If we want salespeople to sell more, we increase their bonuses. But the second kind of logic is the logic of identity. Many of the … [ Read more ]

Switch: Don’t Solve Problems—Copy Success

Find a bright spot and clone it.

That’s the first step to fixing everything from addiction to corporate malaise to malnutrition. A problem may look hopelessly complex. But there’s a game plan that can yield movement on even the toughest issues. And it starts with locating a bright spot — a ray of hope.

Why Your Gut Is More Ethical Than Your Brain

If you’ve ever been part of a discussion on ethics, in school or elsewhere, chances are you didn’t spend much time talking about your feelings. It’s believed that to live ethically, we must engage our reason, which reins in the whims and follies of emotion. Ethics, then, is heavy on Spock and light on Sally Struthers. But what if unethical behavior is actually spurred, rather … [ Read more ]

Dan Heath, Chip Heath

Our rational brain has a problem focus when it needs a solution focus. If you are a manager, ask yourself, What is the ratio of the time you spend solving problems versus scaling successes? We need to switch from archaeological problem solving to bright-spot evangelizing.

Seeking Common Ground in Conversations Can Stifle Innovation and Reward the Wrong People

he best baseball players don’t always get elected All-Stars. And the Nobel Prize doesn’t always go to the most deserving member of the scientific community. This, according to a pair of recent studies, is because such recognition can depend upon how well known an individual is rather than on merit alone. Moreover, because it’s human nature for people to try to find common ground when … [ Read more ]

Why It May Be Wiser To Hire People Without Meeting Them

When the economy finally turns around, you’ll start hiring people again. You’ll sift through dozens of impressive-sounding résumés — who knew there were so many VPs in the world? — and bring in the standouts for the critical final stage: the interview. You’ll size them up, test the “culture fit,” and peer into their souls. Then you’ll make your decision. This is the Official Hiring … [ Read more ]

Three Secrets to Make a Message Go Viral

Viral marketing has become a hip, low-cost way to reach a lot of people very quickly — with little effort. But as marketers slash ad budgets, “viral” needs to mean more than “free” and “fueled by prayer.” Making an idea contagious isn’t a mysterious marketing art. It boils down to a couple of simple rules.