Who Moved My Cheese?
By Spencer Johnson, M.D.
Who Moved My Cheese? is a very simple, anecdotal story about two little people, Hem and Haw, and two mice, Sniff and Scurry, who are faced with change. All of them handle the situation differently. Someone has moved their cheese supply and they must move through a maze to find new cheese or risk the possibility of perishing. Of course, Sniff and Scurry being mice, go off quickly in search of new food using their animal instincts. Hem and Haw are not so quick to seek a solution. They stick around waiting for the old source of cheese to reappear, until finally, Haw realizes that there may be benefit in searching for new cheese. Consequently, he has to leave his friend, Hem, behind because Hem is not at all interested in leaving the place where the old cheese was. We never do find out what happens to Hem. This book can literally be read in an hour and is so illustrative of the different ways we all respond to new situations in our lives. As we read the story, we can identify ourselves and others we may know in the characters.
It was a book that I read during a very turbulent time at my job. We had two executive directors and one of them was asked to leave by the board. The one who left is the one I had experience with for many years. I really liked and respected her as a boss. I did not want to see her go. I was not the only one with this reaction. The entire company was polarized and emotions were high. There were many Hems in the agency, who refused to believe the change was happening. There were several Scurries, who hurried up and left the job. The rest of us were some combination of Sniff and Haw. We ended up sniffing out the best way to manage and most wound up adapting to the change. I highly recommend reading this book during a crisis like that or an expected change that could have far reaching effects. It can help individuals focus on the bigger picture---are they going to adapt or perish?
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