Recommended book for introducing Asana to team: "Switch"

I’d like to introduce a book: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, written by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
I read it two years ago before I introduced Asana to my team. (I’m such a procrastinator who take two years until writing this post… Anyway I hope this is helpful for other team leaders.)


Introducing Asana to the team is always a big change. People have a natural tendency to resist changes.
So, if you are introducing Asana to the team, you are likely to find people reluctant. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have good intention. It’s just that there are some key things to consider when you are making changes. The problem might seem large and complex, but you can find the solution with simple principles.

What this book offers

The authors clearly describe the human tendencies against changes and describe the approaches to overcome the challenges. They use a metaphor of a rider (the rational part of human brain) and an elephant (the emotional part). The rider is good at understanding the benefit of the change, but is not strong enough to go through the tough transition stage alone. The elephant is slow at the start but has the momentum to continue with the change, when properly guided. It’s important to consider both sides of the brain.

There are three keys to ease the changes:

  1. Direct the rider: give clear direction, reduce mental paralysis
  2. Motivate the elephant: find the emotional connection
  3. Shape the path: Reduce obstacles, tweak the environment, make the journey go downhill

It was very good to know them beforehand, expect the obstacles, and be confident knowing how to address the challenges.
Another good thing about this book was that there are plenty of examples illustrating that significant changes are possible with only simple triggers. It was encouraging to read those stories.


This website was helpful when remembering the content of the book after two years:

I found the following post and more on “Team Onboarding” category relevant and helpful:

I’d love to learn more resources and ideas for helping introducing Asana to the team.
Thank you.


Let me add what I did specifically.

Background: I’m working at a translation company and my team receive about 20 tasks per day. In the existing workflow, we used Google spreadsheet, email messages, Skype messages, and offline files to manage them. Information was not in one place. I introduced Asana to keep tasks, communication, and reference materials in one place.

  1. Direct the rider: give clear direction, reduce mental paralysis

I wrote down the new workflow with Asana step by step, with screenshots and graphics, as clearly as possible.
I talked with the manager and promised that we would try Asana for one month and decide whether we go with Asana or go back to the old workflow. After one month, happily 100% of the team members agreed to continue using Asana.

  1. Motivate the elephant: find the emotional connection

I emphasized how the existing workflow was inefficient, and how it would improve with Asana.
I think the modern and good-looking interface of Asana helped at this stage.

  1. Shape the path: Reduce obstacles, tweak the environment, make the journey go downhill

I carried out questionnaire, ran training, tried to answer questions as quickly as possible. After attending @paulminors’s training, I regularly reminded the teams of some advice against common pitfalls, such as to remember archiving the Inbox.
I created a simple tool using Python and Asana API to semi-automate actions to calculate workload, add tags, add subtasks (translation + review), etc, I wanted to minimize tedious manual work and make the workflow as easy as possible.


Thank you so much for sharing this book and your experience with us @ShunS this is super interesting!

I’m working on gathering the most interesting posts to help users converting their Team to Asana and will definitely add your post to this section! :slight_smile:

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This is a great post, @ShunS. I like the clarity of those 3 steps, and wish I had thought of it this way when we first rolled out Asana to our team.

I would add that once a team is onboarded, it’s important to keep demonstrating Asana’s different functions so that people don’t settle into a pattern of only using it for one thing. I’ve done this by taking a process that our team would usually have managed via a spreadsheet and setting it up in Asana instead, which forced them to engage with it. I then saw others copy this and set up their own mini-projects to accomplish other tasks that would usually have been managed in Excel. Now it’s a regular thing.

If I hadn’t demonstrated another way of using Asana, outside of the mandatory ways that we’d introduced in our team, I’m not sure people would have bothered to explore it further.

Thanks for your post. Very interesting.


Thank you, @Marie! I’m looking forward to reading the gathered topics. That will be very interesting.

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Thank you, @Mark_Hudson!
It’s indeed important to keep demonstrating different functions. Thank you for adding it!
I was doing it by nature because I love Asana and I want to use it for everything, but the important thing is to verbalize it and share it with the community.

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We JUST wrapped up book club at work reading SWITCH and loved it. The framework takes practice but it is handy for any cultural or process change. I would echo the recommendation for this book.

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Super interesting! Thank you for sharing!

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