If you’ve been reading my blog posts over the last few years, it should come as no surprise that I have been putting a lot of focus into what makes companies and people succeed. I’ve been reading books, attending seminars, reading blogs, etc.

Our mission is

“Help people achieve their full potential; including living a fulfilling life.”

We are building a software product to do just that for entrepreneurs and business coaches.

We are at an amazing point in history; so much of the knowledge that people have amassed is readily available and openly shared for our taking. This blog is one such example. Very smart people are openly sharing ideas.

One of the challenges to book knowledge is how to apply it to the real world. So here is a real world example based on a book I am reading and all the stuff I’ve been talking about in my blog for the last 2 years.

The book, “Switch: How to change things when change is hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. They use the metaphor of the Rider and Elephant to explain human behavior. The Elephant is the part us driven by our subconscious mind; largely emotion and intuition. The Rider is the part of our mind that can analyze and decipher new things and is more driven by logic. As you may guess, the Elephant is much larger than the Rider and it takes a lot of energy for the Rider to direct the Elephant for any length of time and if the Elephant wants, it can ignore the prodding of the rider.

The outline of the book is:

Direct the Rider

  • Find the Bright Spots
  • Script the Critical Moves
  • Point to the Destination

Motivate the Elephant

  • Find the Feeling
  • Shrink the Change
  • Grow Your People

Shape the Path

  • Tweak the Environment
  • Build Habits
  • Rally the Herd

You need to take care of both the Rider and the Elephant to succeed with change.

Relating to Business Strategy

The mission and vision combine to create a compelling motivator for the Elephant first (the story and higher purpose) and the Rider second (through the big picture destination).

Goals and projects deal with directing the Rider. Since goals are tied back to the emotion of the vision and mission, they continue to motivate the Elephant as well.

Working on the business is the shaping the path part.

Developing your people to accomplish all of the above rounds it out and fills in the holes.


With every book I read, I think about how I can apply the parts that resonate with me to our business and to our software products.

The mistake a lot of developers make is seeing tools like software as a bunch of inputs and outputs with business rules in between.

Well developed software has the power to do more than that! It has the power to reinforce and shape human behavior. Look at some of the most influential software currently out there for examples.

Great software has the power to make change easier… and keep us reaching our full potential.

Our challenge is to harness that power; the power of the Rider and Elephant and lots of people working together for a common outcome.