Summary - Who Moved My Cheese An Amazing Way to Deal - Wealth Management - Spencer Johnson
The story is about four characters - two mice named Sniff and Scurry, and two little people named Hem and Haw.
They all live in a maze and look for Cheese to make them happy. The Cheese represents things we want in life like a good job, relationship, money, health, etc.
Sniff and Scurry are simpleminded mice but adapt quickly to change. Hem and Haw are complex characters who resist Change.
First, they need to find out where the Cheese is located. But they eventually find Cheese Station C which has an ample supply of Cheese.
Sniff and Scurry establish a routine to get to the Cheese quickly. Hem and Haw take their time getting to the Cheese and become very comfortable, assuming the Cheese will always be there.
One day they arrive at Cheese Station C to find the Cheese is gone. Sniff and Scurry immediately go exploring new areas to find Cheese. But Hem and Haw are in denial and get angry, blaming each other for the situation.
Eventually, Haw realizes that dwelling in the past will not help. They must let go of old beliefs and adapt to the new reality. Haw finally ventures into the Maze, discovers new cheese stations, and gains new experiences.
The story suggests that we should adapt to change quickly, rather than clinging to the past. Change is inevitable, so we can either become victims or prosper. Those who embrace Change will eventually find new opportunities and success.
The key message is: Change Happens - Adapt Quickly.
Hem and Haw had been happy and confident when they had an ample supply of Cheese at Cheese Station C.
They felt entitled to the Cheese and unprepared when it eventually ran out.
They were in denial about the decreasing supply of Cheese. They blamed others and felt it was unfair.
Haw wanted to look for new Cheese but Hem resisted changing. Hem wanted to stay put and keep doing what they had always done.
While Hem and Haw remained stuck in their old patterns, the mice Sniff and Scurry went out into the Maze and found an ample supply of New Cheese at Cheese Station N.
Haw imagined finding new Cheese and enjoying it but his fears and Hem's resistance prevented him from venturing out.
Hem and Haw's circumstances worsened without the Cheese but remained unwilling to change. They only did more of what wasn't working.
Haw started to realize their activity was only productive with results. But Hem still believed the Cheese would return if they just stayed put.
Here's a summary:
Haw and Hem were two little people who lived in a maze and ate Cheese they found in cheese stations. They had been eating happily at Cheese Station C for a long time until one day, the Cheese disappeared. Hem refused to leave to find more Cheese and wanted to wait for Cheese Station C to refill. However, Haw realized that the Cheese wasn't coming back. He decided to venture into the Maze to find new Cheese.
Haw put on his running shoes and prepared to go out into the Maze, even though he knew it would be difficult. He imagined finding new kinds of Cheese to motivate himself. Haw tried to get Hem to come with him, but Hem refused. Haw left Hem behind and went into the Maze alone.
At first, Haw struggled in the Maze. The Maze seemed more confusing and complicated than he remembered. However, he kept reminding himself that anything was better than staying in the cheese-less situation. He began finding small bits of Cheese occasionally but wanted to see more before returning for Hem.
Haw realized the Cheese at Cheese Station C had been dwindling for a long time, he just hadn't noticed. He knew he should have been more alert to changes. He learned he needed to anticipate Change instead of being surprised by it.
After a long time without finding Cheese, Haw came across an empty cheese station. He felt disappointed and wanted to give up. He considered returning to Hem at Cheese Station C so he wouldn't be alone. But then he asked himself what he would do if he weren't afraid. He realized his fear was weighing him down. He remembered he felt best when moving through the Maze, so he kept going.
Haw moved in a new direction and started enjoying himself. He realized he had been held captive by his fear. Once he let go of his fear and drove in a new order. He found nourishment for his soul by letting go and trusting what was ahead, even without knowing precisely what it was.
Here's a summary:
Haw hadn't felt this happy and excited in a long time. He had forgotten how enjoyable Change and adventure could be.
Haw started imagining himself enjoying eating different kinds of new Cheese. The more he imagined it, the more accurate and exciting it felt. This motivated him to search for fresh Cheese.
Haw realized that Change leads to opportunity, not necessarily something worse. He wished he had recognized this sooner.
Haw found delicious bits of new Cheese. Although the cheese station was empty, he was happy he had left his old station. He was no longer being controlled by fear.
Haw tried to get Hem to join him in testing the new Cheese, but Hem still refused to change. Haw was disappointed but continued on his own.
Haw wrote messages on the wall for Hem about changing your beliefs and embracing Change. He hoped Hem would learn from them.
Haw eventually found an enormous supply of new Cheese at Cheese Station N. He ate his fill and celebrated.
Haw reflected on his lessons learned:
› Don't cling to the past. Adapt to change quickly.
› Laugh at yourself and your mistakes. Then move on.
› Keep things simple. Overanalyzing complicates things.
› Learn from your experiences and use them to plan for the future.
› Change starts within yourself. Recognize the changes happening around you.
› There are always new opportunities, you have to go past your fear to find them.
› Most fears about Change are irrational. Don't let them hold you back.
› Although Change may be difficult, it often leads to finding something better.
Haw wondered if Hem followed his messages, let go of his fears, and ventured into the Maze. He thought about going back to find Hem.
Haw realized that his friend Hem had to want to change himself. No one could force him to do it.
Haw drew lessons he had learned on the wall of Cheese Station N for others to see. He knew he had to constantly check on his Cheese and be aware of changes to avoid being surprised.
Haw heard a noise in the Maze that turned out to be Hem coming. He hoped Hem had finally learned to read the writing on the wall and Change.
The former classmates shared how they related to the story. Most saw themselves as Hem, resistant to Change. They realized they needed to be more like Haw and adapt to Change.
One classmate's family business failed because they didn't see changes coming in their industry. Another's company should have adapted to new technology and now may go out of business. They realized their old "cheese" eventually runs out, and companies must adapt.
The group discussed how some people, like Hem, never change and suffer for it. They wondered what they each needed to let go of and move on from. One suggested selling property to build one modern store to compete.
They agreed that while some values shouldn't change, they needed to adapt to changes in their lives and careers more proactively.
One skeptic asked how the story helped in one's company. The storyteller said he had focused too much on daily problems instead of the future. The story taught him to anticipate changes better and be flexible in responding. His company is now doing much better.
Laura points out that Michael was managing when he needed to lead.
Michael realizes his job is to paint a picture of 'New Cheese' that would motivate people to change.
Michael sees that his company has people exhibiting the behaviors of Sniffs, Scurrys, Hems, and Haws from the story.
The Sniffs and Scurrys adapted well to change. The Hems resisted but some came around when they saw the benefit. They had to let some Hems go.
The Haws were hesitant but open-minded. They helped communicate the vision of 'New Cheese' to others.
Richard, Angela and others realize they need to adapt better to changes in their personal lives and jobs. They see the benefit of letting go of old behaviors and pursuing new relationships or opportunities.
Becky shares a story of how her son adapted well to a move to a new place that he initially resisted. She realizes they should have used the Cheese story to help their family adapt to Change.
Jessica will use the Cheese story to start a discussion with her family about Change.
Frank will share the Cheese story with friends struggling with career changes after the military.
Michael says discussing the Cheese story helped his company cope with complex changes. Though they had to let some people go, it allowed the remaining staff to adapt. Those who left also found it helpful in their job hunts.
People who stayed realized the need to look for 'New Cheese' instead of complaining about Change. Even those who first resisted helped bring Change after peer pressure and the company culture shifted.
Michael points out that people initially see Change as bad in most companies. Peer pressure and culture strongly influence how people view and adapt to Change.
The story of "Who Moved My Cheese" shows how organizations can change when enough people change their attitudes and behaviors.
The characters in the story represent different reactions to change:
Sniff and Scurry (the mice) represent those who anticipate Change and adapt quickly
Hem and Haw (the little people) show how some resist Change and get left behind while others eventually change their attitudes and behavior
The story works best when shared with the whole organization because it encourages people to change their attitudes and behaviors to adapt to Change.
Those who don't change risk getting "hemmed in" and left behind. No one wants to appear like Hem, so the story creates positive "peer pressure" to change.
The lessons of anticipating Change and adapting quickly have helped many organizations successfully change and prosper. The story is a valuable way to introduce the topic of Change in a fun, non-threatening way.
Many fun products, tools, and resources help share the message and lessons from "Who Moved My Cheese?". These include animated movies, workbooks, posters, mouse pads, etc.
The goal is to help individuals and organizations deal with Change and "move with the cheese" to success. The key message is that Change is inevitable, so you must anticipate and adapt quickly to succeed.
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