The book “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” was written by Johnson (1998). The book focuses on a story about change and different ways that people respond to change. The author has used simple language to explain the role of attitude towards change in helping an individual to adjust to the upcoming change. The use of simple language makes it a good reading for students. However, there seems to be some limitations in the book as well. One such limitation is that the author has over simplified the language used to narrate the story. The presentation of the content seems reasonable for under graduate students, however for professionals, the articulation of ideas lacks depth and professional guidance. Moreover, the content overlooks the importance of divergent thinking in adapting to change. The process of change is not simply a stimulus requiring the individual to react quickly. It involves thinking and planning to ensure that the required transformation is effectively implemented (Appelbaum, Habashy, Malo & Shafiq, 2012). Despite these limitations, the book is useful as the author has provided basic ideas about change, resistance to change and appropriate approach to adjustment to change.
Summary of Main Points
The backdrop of the story illustrates conversation among old classmates, with the discussion shifting to the topic of change. One of the individual narrates the story about four characters, their style of coping with change and the outcome of their actions. Two of the characters are mice named Sniff and Scurry and the other two are small people named Hem and Haw. The author has tried to establish credibility of the characters by focusing on their attitude towards change and selecting their names that were representative of their approach towards uncertainty and change. All of the characters were depicted as living in the maze and being on a constant search for cheese which was perceived as a source of well-being by them. Sniff and scurry were represented as two mice who were focused on finding cheese using their instincts as a source of their guidance. On the other hand, Hem and Haw were shown as getting confused and anxious in their search of cheese due to over thinking about the situation and its likely outcomes (Johnson, 1998). As the story progresses, the four characters end up finding a big supply of cheese in station C. Even after finding a big supply of cheese, the mice were aware of the fact that it will not last forever, which prepared them to positively respond to unexpected events. Conversely, the little people had erroneous faith that the station C will provide them with a lifetime supply of cheese. Eventually, the amount of cheese dwindled as the four characters continued to consume it.[sky]
Since the mice were prepared for such an event and they quickly responded to the end of supply by moving on in search of more cheese in new direction. Hem and Haw took an alternative approach and became cross when the supply had ended. Increased reliance on complex thinking hindered their ability to take immediate action and both of them decided to stay in Station C and wait for the cheese to appear again. With the passage of time Haw realized the need to move on but Hem continued to feel overwhelmed by fear and anger. In the end, Haw moved on to find new cheese supply while Hem decided to stay behind and wait for things to improve. While on the quest to find more cheese, Haw lost his way multiple times and found empty rooms. Haw made drawings on the wall of the maze to note down the insights he gained with his journey in the maze. Ultimately his perseverance paid off and he was able to find Station N where Sniff and Scurry were already present, enjoying a huge amount and range of cheese (Johnson, 1998).
In the story, the mice have been my favorite character as they have used a proactive approach to change.
Character Describing own Approach to Change
Out of the four characters in the story, I can relate to the mice as I consider myself using similar approach to managing change. I observe my surroundings, searching for important information which helps me to identify the changing dynamics of the environment. Furthermore, when change is warranted I embrace it, concentrating on adapting with the change and focus my energy on transformation. During the academic activities, the ability to sense change and quickly adjust my behavior has helped me to achieve favorable results. Instead of blaming others, I take responsibility for my actions and try to bring improvement in the situation by taking necessary actions. I am willing to take risks as I know that new experiences teach us valuable lessons. Even failures help us understand the actions that are not useful and motivate us to seek alternative approaches.
Appelbaum, S. H., Habashy, S., Malo, J. L., & Shafiq, H. (2012). Back to the future: revisiting Kotter’s 1996 change model. Journal of Management Development, 31(8), 764-782.
Johnson, S. (1998). Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. New York: Random House.