Does change mean stress or success?

I’ve just re-read ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I’ve probably taken more away from it than on my first reading a decade ago.

The reason it hit home may be due to the fact that I’m one of an increasing number of people who contract with a number of organisations every year. So we become accustomed to change. People, working methods, culture, language and outlook vary significantly as move about. And of course our cheese moves regularly and frequently.

In one organisation Motivated And Competent have worked with lately there was significant change afoot. Unfortunately for many people that meant their posts no longer existed. What I observed were all the traits attributed to Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw*. Suffering aside, an interesting case study.

This episode reminds me how many people, worldwide, are at the moment facing such challenges. It made me grateful that I’m reasonably used to, and comfortable with, change.

But as I reflect that our whole world changes at an exponential rate, what is the practical learn from the tale?

It stems from one of the mottos in the book that to be successful, happy, unstressed citizens we need to sniff our cheese constantly and think about how our world, we, and our beliefs, are evolving. Yet that’s not the natural behaviour of many.

So both people and organisations need to evolve a culture which enables continuous learning, development and acceptance of change more than ever. Some of the focused questions I’ll be asking myself in the future are:

• What am I going to do to ensure I am equipped to remain relevant?

• What will my children’s world look like and how will I equip them to flourish in it?

• What will be required of successful organisations as the 21st century progresses?

Finally a question for you.

What are you doing to move yourself, your children, your team or your organisation forward and equip yourself/them for happiness and success?

Dr. Spencer Johnson’s book is a stimulating read. It’s a brief and enjoyable read – but the message will stay with you.

* Sniff and Scurry share similar traits. They has simple brains yet had good instincts to search for cheese. When their cheese supply moved they were not weighed down by fixed ideas and searched for new cheese by sniffing it out and scurrying around to find it. Hem and Haw on the other hand are less able to change. They are inclined to be complacent, arrogant in their refusal to adapt and not accept that the world moves on. They spend lots of time procrastinating and not adjusting. They suffer as a result.


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