Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

Managing Change: A Simple Technique to Build Momentum

In their new book, Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, authors Chip and Dan Heath cite some fascinating research about a car wash promotion that has big implications for leaders of change efforts.

This little gem of a story offers what I believe is a little known, but very simple technique to jump-start your next change project.

At the car wash, customers were given a card to record stamps for each car wash. Once they got eight stamps, they had earned a free car wash. Here’s the wrinkle that makes this so interesting:

  • One group of customers was given card with eight spaces for stamps. Once they collected eight stamps, the next car wash was free.
  • Another group of customers was given a slightly different card, with spaces for ten stamps. But, the cards had two stamps already on them – they were given what appears to be a head start.

Both sets of customers needed to collect the same number of stamps (8) for the reward. But, as the authors point out, the second group was 20% of the way to their goal from the beginning – a huge psychological boost.

The results?

  • In the first group, 19% had earned a free car wash several months later.
  • In the second group, by the same time, 34% had reached the goal.


The authors write, “People find it more motivating to be partly finished with a longer journey than to be at the starting gate of a shorter one.” They go on to say,

One way to motivate action, then, is to make people feel as though they’re already closer to the finish than they might have thought. If you’re leading a change effort, you better start looking for those first two stamps to put on your team’s cards.

In other words, remind people of what’s already been accomplished. If the goal is to reduce spending by 5%, share examples of how the team has already trimmed spending. If the goal is to adapt to a new paperwork flow, talk about how the team has already succeeded in adapting to other changes in the system.

If your own goal is to lose twenty pounds, make a list of the small changes you’ve already incorporated (eliminating soda, or parking further away from store entrances, or switching to non-fat milk). You’ll avoid the psychological speed bump of feeling like you’re at square one. You’re not – you’re already on your way.

Think about the change effort you’re about to lead. How can you put two stamps on their cards right out of the gate?

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.