JohWhoM 00-9-95


An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Workd


Spencer Johnson

G. Putnam’s Sons, 1998, 94 pp.


Spencer Johnson, co-author with Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager, weaves a fable for helping us deal with change.  The heart of the book is a story about four amusing creatures who look for cheese in a maze. The cheese represents what you want in life and the maze represents where you look for it.  The story is a series of adages strung together by a story that gives life to the advice.  It is prefaced with a conversation of former classmates discussing changes in their lives and followed by a further discussion of the classmates interpreting the story for their situations. 


The four creatures are two mice and two mini-people:

     -Sniff, who sniffs out change early, and

     -Scurry, who hurries into action,

     -Hem, who denies and resists change, and

     -Haw, who learns to adapt when he imagines change will lead to something better. 


The two mice do better with change because they have simple brains but good instincts, while the two little people's complex brains and beliefs and emotions complicate things. 


Having found a big supply of cheese, the four proceed to enjoy it every day.  One day they discover the cheese is gone. All four react differently. 


The mice immediately go searching in the maze for more cheese.  The little people think somebody took their cheese.  They take awhile to sort out the situation.  Eventually Hem begins to imagine the joy of finding cheese found elsewhere, overcomes his fear, and goes hunting.  Haw remains where he is, pouting, and waiting for ‘them’ to bring it back.


 “The more important your cheese is to you, the more you want to hold on to it.” 


“If you do not change, you can become extinct.” 


“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” 


“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.” 


“Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.” 


“When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.” 


“Imagining myself enjoying new cheese even before I find it, leads me to it.”  [hmmm..?]


“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”


“It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.”


“Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.”


“When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course.”


“Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.”


“The Handwriting on the Wall (74)


Change Happens.  They keep moving the cheese.

Anticipate change.  Get ready for the cheese to move.

Monitor Change.  Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.

Adapt to Change Quickly.  The Quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese.

Change.  Move with the cheese.

Enjoy Change!  Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!

Be Ready to Change quickly And Enjoy it Again & Again.  They keep moving the cheese.”