Excerpt from The Catalyst by Jonah Berger , plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Catalyst

How to Change Anyone's Mind

by Jonah Berger

The Catalyst by Jonah Berger X
The Catalyst by Jonah Berger
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Mar 2020, 288 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Ian Muehlenhaus
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

How to Change the Boss's Mind

To see easing uncertainty in action, it helps to visit a place where even the best new ideas are often stymied by the barriers to change. And that is the office.

* * *

The new project seemed doomed. As Jacek Nowak walked out of the meeting, his colleagues' voices kept ringing in his ears. "Why does this matter?" one said. "This is a waste of time," barked another. Even if they did all the work to implement the program, there was no guarantee that customers would care. That clients would actually appreciate the effort they went through. Things were generally going well, so why change?

Jacek had worked in banking for more than a decade. He started in customer service, supporting administrative processes in a bank branch, and worked his way up from there. He had conducted workshops, coordinated training programs, and helped shape recruitment processes. Eventually, rather than training new hires himself, he was responsible for managing a team of trainers. As a branch office manager at Santander Bank, he was responsible for customer service at multiple branches. He managed training and development so that employees would provide the best experience possible.

But some recent mystery shopper research had shown disappointing results. Things were satisfactory—fine, even—but something was missing. Most employees had worked for the company for a while; they knew the products and procedures inside and out. But after repeating the same activities again and again, year after year, the implementation had become mechanical. Staff smiled at customers, just like the handbook suggested, but it was out of obligation rather than any real warmth. Employees stood up when clients came in, as they were supposed to, but briefly and without conviction.

Standards were technically being met or even exceeded, but a closer look revealed troubling patterns. Key performance indicators, like sales of larger loans, insurance, or longer loan periods, were lower than they should have been. Too many people were closing accounts and switching to the competition. Clients were generally satisfied but didn't trust employees enough to talk about their real needs.

Jacek knew that a change was needed. He wanted to improve customer experience. To deepen relationships. To encourage customers to see employees as advisors or helpers rather than as salespeople.

He surveyed best practices from different industries and found that many improvements in customer experience involved some sort of surprise and delight. Surprising people with small gifts and actions made them see that they were recognized and valued. A high-end hotel, for example, greeted customers by name when they walked in and had their favorite beverage waiting in the hotel room.

Jacek thought doing something similar could help the bank. Sending customers cards on their birthdays, greeting them by name, or celebrating their important life milestones. A customer service initiative that would strengthen customers' emotional connection and improve employee morale.

But when he pitched the idea to his boss and other members of senior management, most were opposed. As industries go, banking is extremely traditional. Formally dressed employees sitting behind large wooden desks, much as they did twenty years ago. A focus on interest rates and checking accounts rather than customer experience or employee engagement.

Sending customers handwritten birthday cards? The bank's leadership was skeptical. There's no way this will work, they protested. Branch employees were used to interacting with customers a particular way and they weren't keen on changing. Things were going well enough already, and senior management didn't see the need to mix things up. Any change was seen as a threat.

Jacek tried providing more information. He shared research on customers' feelings and preferences and offered data suggesting that price was not the most important thing when people make decisions. He even had an outside consultant specializing in customer experience come in to talk about the latest tools and approaches.

From The Catalyst by Jonah Berger. Copyright © 2020 by Social Dynamics Group, LLC. Excerpted with permission by Simon & Schuster.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Souvenir Museum
    The Souvenir Museum
    by Elizabeth McCracken
    Elizabeth McCracken's book The Souvenir Museum is composed of 12 short stories populated by ...
  • Book Jacket: First Person Singular
    First Person Singular
    by Haruki Murakami
    Readers familiar with Haruki Murakami will know that music is often a central theme in his work. The...
  • Book Jacket: Yolk
    by Mary Choi
    Mary H.K. Choi's young adult offering Yolk deftly maintains several plotlines running through the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Blizzard Party
    The Blizzard Party
    by Jack Livings
    It is 1978 and the place is New York City. A massive bacchanalian party is taking place at an Upper ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Of Women and Salt
    by Gabriela Garcia

    A kaleidoscopic portrait of generations of women from a 19th-century Cuban cigar factory to the present day.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson

    A charming, uplifting debut about a mother and her 12-year-old son, an aspiring comedian.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Miss Austen
by Gill Hornby
A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
Who Said...

The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we've changed their lives ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

P M Fly

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.