Innovative Business Thought Leader and
New York Times Best-Selling Author
The co-author of four New York Times best-selling books on business, Dan Heath offers a breadth of expertise to teach audiences at any level how to lead successful change, make communication stickier, and improve their decision-making skills.
Known for combining an entertaining style with practical insights, Dan Heath weaves together research-based tools, fascinating stories, and a liberal dose of humor. Dan recently released Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, which explores a vital question: Why are we so often trapped in a cycle of reaction—putting out fires, responding to emergencies—when the problems we’re reacting to could have been prevented? Upstream studies leaders who have escaped this cycle and triumphed in preventing major problems: Customer churn. Homelessness. Chronic disease. Dropouts. The book reveals the approaches used by these leaders to overcome problems that were thought intractable.
With his brother Chip, Dan also co-authored four of the most popular business books of the last 15 years: Made to Stick, Switch, Decisive, and The Power of Moments, the last of which explores why certain brief experiences can jolt, elevate and change us—and how we can learn to create these extraordinary moments in our life and work. The Heaths’ emphasis on practicality has given them a broad-ranging audience, and their books have been praised by sources ranging from the Harvard Business Review to the U.S. Army to People magazine.
Dan is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports entrepreneurs who fight for social good. A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Dan was named in 2013 to the Thinkers 50, a ranking of the world’s 50 most influential management thinkers. He has spoken to teachers, police chiefs, U.S. senators, interior designers, Navy admirals, health care leaders, marketers, ministers, and countless executive teams, across 26 countries on 6 continents.
UPSTREAM: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen
So often in our organizations and communities, we fall into a cycle of reaction. A problem happens, and we respond. We fight fires. We contend with emergencies. Researchers call this "tunneling": We don't see the big picture, and we don't think about the future, we just keep pushing forward from one crisis to the next. What if instead we could shift our energies upstream -- uncovering and addressing the source of those problems? In this talk, Heath will reveal how some leaders have learned to spot problems in advance: There's a school district that can predict which students will drop out -- 4 years before graduation. There's an internet service company that can predict which customers are likely to cancel their subscriptions -- as early as two weeks after they sign up! When we shift from downstream response to upstream planning, it can cause miracles: One company eliminated 25 million customer support calls by asking, "How can we make sure our customers never need to call us?" And one nation in Europe has almost eliminated teenage substance abuse by asking, "How can we create a teenage culture that offers such compelling sober activities that teens simply don't feel like drinking or doing drugs?" Heath will share the three forces that push us downstream, as well as the powerful levers we can use to start preventing problems before they happen.
Making Ideas Stick
In a world drowning in information, how do you make your idea stand out? It’s hard enough just to get an audience for your idea—and much harder still for it to be memorable and meaningful for your listeners. How much do you remember from the last PowerPoint presentation you saw? Yet there are ideas that seem to stick naturally, ranging from urban legends to proverbs. Dan's international best-seller Made to Stickrevealed the surprising parallels between these naturally sticky ideas and ideas in the workplace that change attitudes and behavior, including successful corporate strategies, product visions, public health messages, and even coaching advice. As a result of the unexpected analysis and the practical advice that derives from it, Made to Stick was an Amazon Top 10 Business Book and was subsequently translated into over 30 languages. In this talk, Dan will reveal that sticky messages of all kinds draw their power from six key traits, ranging from unexpectedness to emotion. If you understand these traits, you can communicate your own ideas in a way that is influential and lasting—in a way that sticks.
Leading a Switch
Why do some big changes happen easily while many small changes prove impossible? The answer hinges on some of the most fascinating findings in psychology. Our mind is divided into two different systems—an analytical mind and an emotional mind—that are often in conflict, particularly in situations of change. Building on this research, and based on the book, Switch, which spent 47 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, Dan will reveal a simple, three-part framework that will help you change things in tough times. All of us have things we want to change—in our families, our businesses, and our communities. Our goal might be as simple as losing a few pounds or as complex as changing the culture of an organization. Where do you start? And what do you do when you face resistance? This session is a must for any change leader who is struggling to make progress. Dan’s talk will give leaders the specific tools—and the inspiration—they need to make change happen.
Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn’t fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are near sighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better? In this session, Dan will introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases based on his #1 Wall Street Journal best-seller, Decisive. In the book, the Heath brothers sifted through voluminous literature on decision making to unearth practical solutions to our biases. This presentation will share an array of fascinating stories, from a rock star’s ingenious decision-making trick, to a CEO’s career-ending acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve thorny personal decisions. Audience members will walk away with fresh strategies and practical tools enabling them to overcome decision paralysis and make better choices, faster. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.
Creating Moments That Matter
Some experiences are vastly more memorable and meaningful than others: A moment of extraordinary service that a customer can’t stop talking about. A moment of insight that helps a group of employees embrace a new vision. A moment of compassion that makes a patient’s burden feel lighter. Everywhere you look, people are trying to craft memorable experiences—from customer experiences to patient experiences. Leaders are working hard to boost employee engagement, student engagement, and parishioner engagement. But these discussions have been dominated by a focus on fixing problems (what Dan Heath calls “filling pits”), rather than creating memorable experiences (“raising peaks”). Yet Heath’s research suggests that it’s far more valuable to build peaks. How do you build peaks for the people you care about? In this talk, drawing from his forthcoming book The Power of Moments, Heath will reveal the four elements that create defining moments. Armed with an understanding of these elements, we can be the authors of moments that spark delight, connection, and insight.
I have booked Dan three times and he's a slam dunk every single time. His last talk had our attendees laughing, crying and thinking differently about what they do and how they do it. It was one of the top 5 best talks I've ever seen delivered in my 25 years as an event strategist. He's flexible and easy to work with. Most importantly, he cares--about you, your organization and if what he's sharing is truly resonating with your audience.
- | LeadingAge