FoodGrads Book Club – Chapter 7 – SWITCH

SWITCH Book Club – a virtual reading experience with Food Grads followers and graduate students from Northeastern University in a synchronized reading of “SWITCH – How to Change Things when Change is Hard” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Part 3: Shape the path

This chapter discusses Fundamental Attribution Error: the error lies in our inclination to attribute people’s behavior to the way they are rather than to the situation they are in.

If you want people to change, you can provide clear direction (rider) or boost their motivation and determination (elephant). Alternatively, you can simply make the journey (path) easier. You can shape the path and, in doing so, you will change the behavior.

Chapter 7: Tweak the environment

A food company I have long consulted with had previously looked at food safety as a management problem – failures found their root with the highest levels of employees tasked with this responsibility.  The company found great success when they changed the path to food safety.  They instituted an Employee-Led Food Safety Committee that includes representatives from each and every department – from QA leadership to the security at the front gate.

This change in the path changed behavior by altering the ownership of the Herculean effort needed to make food safe.  Employees at all levels and in all shifts now play a larger role in the overall ownership not only of taking actions and reporting failures, but also in motivating their peers.

What are your thoughts?

Author: Dr. Darin Detwiler, LP.D., M.A.Ed., is the Assistant Dean at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. He is a professor of food regulatory policy, specializing in food safety, global economics of food and agriculture, Blockchain, and food authenticity.  Detwiler recently received the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Distinguished Service Award (Sponsored by Food Safety Magazine.)


Twitter: @DarinDetwiler

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