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Lessons from the Story of Who Moved My Cheese?


The story of Who Moved My Cheese? Tells the story of Hem and Haw and their reaction to changes. The story goes that these two live in an area where cheese appears each morning for the day. They both begin to set routines and lives around the cheese appearing. One day, they go to get their cheese only to find the area empty. Hem then exclaims, “Who moved my cheese?” Hem and Haw were relying on the cheese being consistent. Now that it is gone, they were both left unprepared. And hungry. A few days go by and they both keep returning to the same location hoping for the cheese to be returned, only to be let down. Haw finally concludes that they must leave their area and look for new cheese. Hem is dead set on remaining there until the cheese returns. Hem is comforted by his current routine and scared of the unknown. As Haw journey’s into the unknown, he leaves behind a phrase on the wall:

“If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct”

Every company is faced with changes, whether they be new management, new policies or procedures, or maybe even your development team has a giant project that prevents you from making any changes to your marketing campaigns.

Whatever it may be, there is always a better way to react than sitting around complaining. When this happens, the natural tendency is to say, “Well, yeah, there is a new way for them to work, but my situation is different.”  This is exactly the same attitude that Hem had.

In other situations, your company or channel may be humming along just fine. The natural tendency is to kick up your feet, fire up a stogie, and let it ride. When the cheese moves however, you will be taken off guard and unprepared to adapt and move to the changes.

The question then becomes, how do you stay prepared and hungry? It all comes down to mental training. When something comes up that prevents you from doing your job or completing a project, don’t take no for an answer. There is always another way. Take some time away to dig into the issue and come up with a plan of how you are going to get around the barrier. If everything is going smoothly, find a better, more efficient way to do things. Or come up with a new way to things all together. The biggest principle to help you stay prepared is to never settle for how things currently are. As you do so, you will be ready to move when the cheese moves. By so doing, you will never become extinct.

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