Initiating Change

On this podcast, Cary Kolat and Matt Dernlan discuss Chapter 11, “Keep the Switch Going” from the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. This is the last chapter of Switch. The book has been about how to enact change within an organization or team. Dernlan and Kolat have tied these strategies and ideas into wrestling. Kolat specifically has shown how he utilizes these lessons and tactics in everyday life at Campbell. Kolat says this book has definitely helped him be a better head coach. To make a change you have to start with yourself by walking the walk, and talking the talk.

Evolution of the Sport (3:05)

Kolat speaks to the level of current wrestlers compared to his years of competing. He believes wrestlers are more prepared coming out of high school and it shows every year when freshmen are competing with wrestlers 1-5 years older than them. Technique, training, recovery and every aspect of wrestling has gotten better through the years. Fundamentally the one thing that doesn’t change is the belief in yourself.

Setting the Bar Correctly (5:40)

One thing this book stresses is patterns are there for a reason and meant to be replicated. It also talks about setting a goal and going back to tweak the goals. Kolat uses this while leading his program. You don’t want to set a bar out of reach and if you do, you have to be okay with adjusting it. You want your team to have to really work and grind to achieve the goal but it’s within the realm of possibility. Once everyone starts to see tangible growth that’s when the change starts to happen more quickly. People need to be okay with the fact goals aren’t achieved overnight. Kolat asks every freshman where are they going to be five years from now? He wants them to see the destination and then be able to understand what they need to do to get there.

Know When to Hold the Line (9:08)

Dernlan brings up the importance of being adaptable. You can’t get married to an idea or a process. It can be really hard when you’re in the midst of change to step back and admit you may have been slightly off. When you’re in the middle of the journey you have to have the flexibility to adjust on the fly. Kolat says when this comes into play with wrestling is lineup changes. You think you have your lineup set and a wrestler says they need to make a change with their weight. You also have to know when to trust the process. When Kolat first started coaching at UNC they trained all summer and ended up getting dominated in the first dual of the year. They knew they were doing the right thing and it would eventually pay off. Dernlan talks about the importance of reinforcing the positive changes that are going on because it’s easy to focus on the negative.

Find the Bright Spots (17:20)

Kolat says if there’s only one chapter you read in this book it should be chapter 2, “Find the Bright Spots”. It speaks on using other success stories as an example of how to do what they’re doing. “What is working and how can we do more of it?” is the question that embodies the bright spots philosophy. Another lesson Chip and Dan Heath showed through their examples was that change wasn’t limited to the CEO or President of a large corporation. Change is about people taking accountability and not waiting for their boss to make changes. The change starts with you.

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