Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Who Moved My Cheese is a Spencer Johnson classic when it comes to teaching how to successfully make and accept change in life and work. If you are not a firm believer in change, change management and or even know how to accept change then this is definitely the book for you. Told in standard Spencer Johnson, short story style – this book helps readers to understand identifying change and why change is often necessary.
The story is about four characters – two mice Sniff, Scurry, and two little people Hem and Haw. The four characters live in a maze and spend their days looking for cheese. The two mice, with little brains and excellent instincts, scurry around looking for their favorite cheese. Hem and Haw both have complex brains and often use their emotions when it comes to making decisions. One day the four characters find a fruitful cheese station chock full of their favorite cheeses. Of course, as the story goes, the cheese supply eventually runs dry. Sniff and Scurry with their uncomplicated little brains immediately and successfully wander off in search of a new supply. Hem and Haw, with their complex brains find it very hard to make the adjustment to having no cheese. They spend days suffering without food until one day Haw ventures out to find life sustenance. We then follow Haw as he learns the importance of change.
Understanding the metaphors and what they represent in the story is important. For example, cheese does not actually represent cheese, it is rather a metaphor for whatever is important in your life, it could be a job, a relationship or money. The maze represents the paths you take to get to where you desire to be. So how does this help readers to identify with change?
The story is about finding something you want and then being faced with unexpected change. How so you handle it? What if you are sharing the journey with others in the organization or significant other, how do you handle changes in that situation? When you find that “thing” you want, do you recognize when change is about to happen? Success is not about staying where you are, success often requires changing at some level.
As with his other books, Johnson offers many nuggets of wisdom to readers. For example, “movement in a new direction helps you to find new cheese.” How often do we become so comfortable with the status quo, that when it disappears we are unable to get started in a new direction – make the changes necessary to accomplish a new goal? Do we starve trying to relive the past or do we start making changes to make the situation better?
Even though Who Moved My Cheese was written in the eighties, the foundation is still prevalent today. Change is necessary and we need to learn how to be successful when things change. A short read, the book follows the standard, Johnson/Blanchard model of storytelling and inspirational quotes. It is still definitely worth the read.
This book is part of my personal library of career books.