With the habit of vigilance and the willingness to change with the times comes the freedom of choice. The book “Who Moved My Cheese” is a modern parable for professionals living in dynamic times.
By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals
It is rare in our world of mass produced content to run across a story that can be considered a modern parable. “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. is one such story. At 98 pages, it’s a delightfully quick read underscoring the dynamic nature of the world we live and how tenuous success can be if you’re not prepared to change with the times. Despite its size and playful telling, it contains big implications for individuals, companies, and organizations of all sizes who are striving to remain relevant.
Spencer, in his parable, depicts four characters on the hunt for cheese in a never ending maze. When the cheese is plentiful, life is good for all, but when it runs out, only those who possessed the wherewithal to venture forth and find new cheese were able to continue enjoying the good life. In this simple depiction, Spencer underscores the need to remain vigilant for impending changes in the environment around you and always to be searching for a new source of sustenance should your current cheese turn sour.
I personally first experienced “Who Moved My Cheese” as part of my sales training and it remains integral not only to how I search for business opportunities. Gone are the days of stable life-long employment, or even being able to count on the product you sell remaining relevant in the long term. For many, viewing the world in this light is troubling and burdensome. Spencer writes to overcome this perspective. Instead of being a burden, he encourages the reader to see it a freedom to explore and experiment, observing that with the habit of vigilance comes freedom of opportunity.
History and particularly recent history is scattered with the ghosts of workers whose skills became obsolete and companies who’ve value proposition disappeared in the face of disruptive technology. It’s not that these individuals or organizations were bad, or dumb in any way. Instead, they failed to believe that the times were changing around them, or if they did catch a whiff of what was coming, they failed to possess the courage to embark on radical transformation. In today’s volatile economy and rapidly expanding technological horizon, the change that altered their trajectory is nothing short of a guarantee. Remember, “the quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese”.