ARE YOU LEADING THE WAY INTO THE FUTURE OR ARE YOU BEING DRAGGED KICKING AND SCREAMING?
Many years ago, someone introduced me to the outstanding motivational book, Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D., and it changed my outlook on the way I approach business on a daily basis. The book tells the story of four characters who take four different approaches to changes in their environment and discusses how their outlook affects their future.
Sniff sniffs out the air and races to find new and delicious cheese while often running into walls after heading in the wrong direction. He quickly rushes off in a new direction until he finds cheese. Sniff uses a hit and miss strategy without a plan for the future. Although Sniff finds cheese, he does not use much analysis nor does he complicate his life as he keeps things simple and only addresses needs as they develop.
Sniff’s companion, Scurry, scurries into action and races ahead in a trial and error mode to find cheese without stopping first to consider the best course of action. Many times, Scurry ends the day without being successful in finding cheese for the day because he has not set a definite course and he repeats mistakes by being more reactive than proactive.
Hem, along with his companion, Haw, uses his more complex brain to adopt increasingly sophisticated methods of locating the cheese by thinking and learning from past experiences. In the end, Hem denies and resists change due to his fear of what the future may hold and he resists adjusting to that change.
Lastly, Haw learns to adapt. When he sees changes leading to something different and possibly better, he does not hesitate to step out into the unknown and move forward. Although Haw was nervous about stepping out, he kept thinking about the possibility of his gains instead of the possibility of his losses. He learned that new cheese exists out there whether you recognize it at the time or not, and you reach the reward when you go past your fears and learn to enjoy the adventure along the way.
In today’s constantly changing business environment, how are you responding? Do you choose to act like Sniff and change direction every time a new obstacle appears or do you act like Scurry, where you constantly try different things to see what works? Maybe fear and trepidation overtake you when change happens; however, you may approach change as a chance for better opportunities. Without a specific plan, business professionals spend too much time changing direction, in trial and error mode, or being gripped by fear. Change will definitely happen but how will you respond? Your response will determine your future.
By Diane Michael