“Who Moved My Cheese?”
The World is changing, technology is changing, our environment is changing. We need to constantly adapt and be ready for change, but this is not always easy or comfortable. Change is inevitable, yet it’s often met with resistance, fear, or uncertainty. Project delivery by it’s very nature delivers change and we have to be skilled in dealing with all the characters we come across in our journey of delivering the project. I love the characters in Spencer Johnson’s insightful book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” which gives invaluable lessons on navigating change, whether in personal or professional spheres. These characters are a reflections of our own humanity.
The classic story features four characters, Sniff and Scurry who spend their days living in a maze getting their cheese from Cheese station C. One day there is no cheese and they have to explore the maze to find the cheese. The mice are not surprised they have been sensing something was different and are prepared for the task of finding the cheese quickly moving to find a new source.
Who Moved My Cheese?
There are also two other little humans called Hem and Haw who are a little indecisive and also spend their days expecting to get their cheese from Cheese station C. When they discover the cheese is gone they are angered and annoyed “Who moved my cheese?” they exclaim. They are unprepared for this new reality. After some time Haw suggests they search for some cheese but Hem is upset and dismisses the proposal. Hem just wants to continue like before and get the cheese from Cheese Station C. After some time Haw decides he needs to explore and enters the maze after writing on the wall…
“If you Do Not Change, You Can become Extinct. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
As Haw explores he is encouraged as he finds cheese, but gets discouraged when he passes an empty cheese station. He begins worrying about the future again. However his new mindset allows him to again enjoy life. He realises:
“When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.”
Haw tries to convince his friend Hem, but Hem refuses the new cheese. However Haw is not discouraged he has found a way to move forward, he can find cheese if he looks and adapts. He considers going back to encourage Hem but decides he has to find his own way.
Sniff and Scurry could smell the change, anticipate, adapt and be agile in their thinking. Sometimes we can be like Haw slow to change or resistance to change like Hem. By embracing change, being adaptable, and letting go of fears, we can not only survive but thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.
Thoughts on navigating change
- Change happens: “They keep moving the cheese”, so in life and projects things are constantly changing and we need to find a way to adapt.
- Anticipate change: “Get ready for the cheese to move.” The characters in the story represent different responses to change. Some quickly adapt and seek new opportunities, while others resist and cling to the familiar. It highlights the significance of being flexible and open-minded when facing new circumstances or challenges.
- Monitor change: “Smell the Cheese Often so you know when it’s getting old.” Often we can sense something is changing, we need to always monitor what is changing.
- Letting Go of Fear: “Who moved my cheese?”, Fear often holds us back from embracing change. The book encourages readers to confront their fears and embrace uncertainty with courage. It demonstrates that letting go of the fear of the unknown opens doors to new possibilities and growth.
- Adapt to change quickly: “The quicker you let go of the old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy the new cheese.” Instead of waiting for change to happen, proactively anticipate it. Monitor industry trends, technological advancements, or shifts in your environment. By staying alert and prepared, you can better navigate change and respond effectively.
- Change: “Move with the cheese”, Adaptation is a key survival skill in a rapidly changing world. The book encourages readers to learn from their experiences, quickly adapt to new situations, and not be complacent in their comfort zones.
- Enjoy change: “Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese.” Change can be an opportunity for personal and professional growth. It challenges individuals and organizations to evolve, innovate, and discover new paths to success.
- Be ready to change quickly and Enjoy it again: “They keep moving the cheese”, one thing we can be sure of is that things will change, we need to be constantly ready to change and adapt.
“Who Moved My Cheese?” serves as a metaphor to deal with change with need to sniff out the change and scurry to the new reality. We need to walk with everyone we encounter on the way and be ready to support them to think differently. The familiar and the constant can be reassuring but if you embrace the fear of change you discover true freedom.
So today what would you do if you weren’t afraid?