I have just read the wonderful book, Who Moved My Cheese. It’s not a large book, in fact, it only took me a mere 50 minutes from cover to cover. I do feel however it’s power is greater than it’s size.The book takes the form largely of a story about two mice and two little people who are looking for cheese in a maze. The cheese being a metaphor for the reader’s own item of change.
“It is not necessary to change; survival is not mandatory” Deming
Deming says this slightly tongue in cheeky, as the reality is change is all around us; standing still isn’t really an option. In the UK in the last two weeks alone, several large high-street brands have gone in to administration because they have not changed and not adapted to the changing world around us. These businesses (HMV, Blockbusters and Jessops) all reacted too slowly and by not enough to technology; believing that being a high street brand of many years would save them.
For me reading the book, the quote that stuck was, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?“. I am sure I am not alone in able to think of times when being afraid held me back from a goal I wanted to achieve. Through seeing the characters in the story, you can identify parts of yourself in all of them and through doing so see how this helps or hinder you. Being afraid isn’t bad, we should learn to harness the energy and turn it to our advantage.
While this was my immediate take away from the book, I’m sure that if I read this book again in a couple of months, the meaning will be different as I will have moved on.
I would recommend this book as if you are working with agile teams, or coaching individuals or facilitating groups, as these activities are all working around the idea of change in some shape or form. Understanding people’s different perspectives will help you in this role, from the way you work with them to hearing their opinions. It will help those who are going through the change to read the book also to go through this change; you might want to get it for the entire team.
As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus(c.535 BC – 475 BC) said, “the only constant in life in change“. As true today as it was 2500 years ago.
If you have read the book, please share your take-away from it.