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HomeCollege of BusinessCenter for Executive EducationCenter for Executive Education Hosts Business Author Dan Heath

Center for Executive Education Hosts Business Author Dan Heath

Dan Heath

The Center for Executive Education, in partnership with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, hosted Dan Heath this morning as the keynote speaker for the Spring Leadership Breakfast in the Curb Event Center arena. Heath is a noted speaker/author/business columnist and co-author of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and Made to Stick. He also serves as a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE Center for Social Entrepreneurs.

Heath began his talk noting the difficulty of change but also pointing to times and occasions when change is welcomed because it brings joy–weddings, technology and fashion being among the examples he cited. He then offered “a three-part framework for thinking about beahvior change” based on an image of a man sitting atop an elephant. The man represents conscious, rational thought while the elephant is indicative of the emotional, unconscious self that is more impulsive in decision making.

As the first part of the three-point framework, Heath said, “You have to ‘Direct the Rider.’ You have to give crystal clear direction on where you are going and how to get there.”

In addition, he said, “You have to find the bright spots–find what is working and figure out how we can do more of it… Analyzing problems comes naturally but analyzing successes doesn’t. We should obsess about success with the same tenacity we obsess about failure.”

Individuals or organizations seeking change must also “Motivate the elephant” and “Shape the Path, cultivating a culture that’s supportive of change.”

The Spring Leadership Breakfast included breakfast, the program, a talk back session with local executives and a complimentary copy of Heath’s book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, which was the basis for the morning’s lecture.

About the Center for Executive Education
The Center for Executive Education at Belmont University has been a premier provider of leadership education for more than 25 years, existing to provide world-class learning to meet the needs of the Nashville community and beyond. The Center provides a full range of executive learning opportunities including its Executive Learning Networks, Executive Leadership Experience, certificate programs and customized solutions. ELN membership consists of senior leaders from over 50 Middle Tennessee companies who seek to learn from one another and national leaders through ongoing networking, speakers’ series and small group discussions. 

About the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is Middle Tennessee’s largest business federation, representing more than 2,000 member companies. “Business Is Good” embodies the Chamber’s focus on facilitating community leadership to create economic prosperity for Middle Tennessee. The work of the Nashville Area Chamber is supported by membership and sponsors; the Chamber’s Pivotal Partners (a partnership at the highest level for all Chamber programs and events) are BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee, Community Health Systems and Delek US Holdings. Together with its affiliates, the Nashville Chamber works to strengthen the region’s business climate and enhance Nashville’s position as a desirable place to live, work and visit. For more information, visit

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