Whether by chance of fate or coincidence, a project and a book merged recently to improve my understanding of the project itself and the work I do daily.

The project was focused on a community-wide change effort. Qualitative and quantitative data was gathered to ensure the change would be meaningful and useful to the community. Goals and strategies were built to implement the changes in an efficient and effective manner.

The book is Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. These two brothers are skilled in strategy and program design. They postulate that the key to change is to determine what exactly needs to be done differently. As obvious as that sounds, they believe most change efforts miss the mark because of the inability of change leaders to “ladder their way down” from a change idea or goal to a specific behavior and to engage the two complementary forces of planning and energy.

In my experience, the majority of change comes via visioning and so often the equivalent of big change is big solution. As the Heath brothers explain, a bright spot is a specific task or example of what is working. They may be hard to find at first, but they exist in every field of view if you look closely enough. A bright spot shrinks change by 1) providing direction to those who need it and 2) through energy in the form of hope for others. It is a tool of efficiency because it limits the spinning of wheels and the resistance that comes with lack of clarity as to the next step. When in the midst of your next project or challenge, I encourage you to mine for bright spots to motivate and direct change.

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