The Elephant and the Rider

In their book, Switch, authors Dan and Chip Heath liken our emotional side to the elephant and the rational side to the rider. Influencing behavior means winning the heart and mind. Direct the rider and motivate the elephant.


The rider is persuaded by data and logic. The elephant is easily intimidated. The rider may hold the reins and appear to control the elephant. In reality, the rider’s position is precarious because the rider is so small in relation to the elephant.

Chip and Dan Heath provide the Switch Framework for change management as outlined here.

Reach the riders without the elephant and you have understanding without motivation. Reach the elephants without the riders and you have passion without direction. In both cases, the flaws can be paralyzing and derail the change initiative.

 In coming sessions, we shall flesh out the Switch Framework with everyday examples.


2 Responses to “The Elephant and the Rider”
  1. zarthustra7 says:

    Thank you, cheers!

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