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Successful Change Management. Ranjith Menon.

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Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard bow." "Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out. Lookout replied, "Steady, captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship. The captain then called to the signalman, "Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees." Back came the signal, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees." The captain said, "Send, I\'m a captain, change course 20 degrees." "I\'m a seaman second class," came the reply. "You had better change course 20 degrees." By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send, I\'m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees." Back came the flashing light, "I\'m a lighthouse." We changed course.- Frank Koch in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute


Who Moved My Cheese?

An Amazing Way to Deal With Change In Your Work & In Your Life


  • Spencer Johnson
    • 1998
    • M.D. from Royal College of Surgeons
    • Known for simplicity
    • One Minute Manager; The Precious Present
who moved my cheese
Who Moved My Cheese

The Book

  • Part I: Gathering of Friends
  • Part II: The Story
  • Part III: Discussion of the Story
part i a gathering
Part I: A Gathering
  • Book begins with four college buddies reuniting.
  • They talk about changes in their lives
  • Michael tells begins to tell them the story of Who Moved My Cheese?
  • Things don’t necessarily turn out like we plan.
  • Who likes to deal with change?
  • What are some consequences if we don’t change?
  • Being open and honest about ‘fear’ of change.
  • Willingness to share information that would benefit others.
part ii the characters



Little People



Part II: The Characters

What images come to mind based on the names of the characters?

part ii the story
Part II: The Story
  • Cheese: What we want to have in life
  • Maze: Where you spend your time looking for what you want

Reflection…what do you want in life and where do you spend your time looking for it…

who moved my cheese9

Who Moved My Cheese

Spencer Johnson MD


“Cheese” – a metaphor for what we want to have in life, whether it is a job, a relationship, money, a big house, freedom, health, recognition, spiritual peace, or even an activity like jogging or golf.

Each of us has our own idea of what Cheese is, and we pursue it because we believe it makes us happy. If we get it, we often become attached to it. And if we lose it, or it’s taken away, it can be traumatic.


ONCE, long ago, there lived 4 little characters who ran through a maze looking for cheese to nourish them & make them happy.

Two were mice named “Sniff” & “Scurry” and two were little people named “Hem” & “Haw”.

differences in the characters

Simplistic Thinkers

Used Instincts

Was Aware of Changes In Surrounding (Watchful)

When The Environment Changed, They Changed With It.

Little People

Complex Thinkers

Used Reason

Ignorant to Changes In Surrounding (Familiar)

Not Prepared For Change and Did Not Change With Environment.

Differences In The Characters

Discussion Point: What did each group do when they came to Cheese Station C each day? As the days went on?


Every morning, the mice & the little people dressed in their running gear & headed over to Cheese Station C where they found their own kind of cheese. It was a large store of Cheese that Hem & Haw eventually moved their homes to be closer to it & built a social life around it.


One morning, Sniff & Scurry arrived at Cheese Station C & discovered there was no cheese.

They weren’t surprised. Since they had noticed the supply of cheese had been getting smaller every day, they were prepared for the inevitable & knew instinctively what to do. They were quickly off in search of New Cheese.

Later that same day, Hem & Haw arrived. “What! No Cheese? Who moved my Cheese? It’s not fair!”, Hem yelled. They went home that night hungry & discouraged. But before they left, Haw wrote on the wall:


The next day Hem & Haw left their homes, & returned to Cheese Station C. But situation hadn’t changed. Haw asked, “Where are Sniff & Scurry? Do you think they know something we don’t?” Hem scoffed, “What would they know? They’re just simple mice. They just respond to what happens. We’re little people. We’re smarter.”

Haw suggested, “Maybe we should stop analyzing the situation so much and just get going & find some New Cheese.

Haw decided to leave Cheese Station C while Haw was more comfortable staying in the cheeseless Station C. Hem announced, “It’s MAZE time!” and wrote:


Meanwhile, Sniff & Scurry went farther into the maze until they found Cheese Station N. They found what they had been looking for: a great supply of New Cheese. It was the biggest store of cheese the mice had ever seen.

Haw on the other hand become more anxious & wondered if he really wanted to go out into the Maze. He wrote a saying on the wall ahead of him & stared at it for some time:


Haw now realized that the change probably would not have taken him by surprise if he had been watching what was happening all along and if he had anticipated change. He stopped for a rest & wrote on the wall of the Maze:


Haw wondered if Hem had moved on, or if he was still paralyzed by his own fears. Then, Haw remembered the times when he had felt his best in the Maze. It was when he was moving along. He wrote:


As Haw started running down the dark corridor, he began to smile. Haw didn’t realize it yet, but he was discovering what nourished his soul. He was letting go & trusting what lay ahead for him, even though he did not know exactly what it was.

To his surprise, Haw started to enjoy himself more & more. He stopped to write again on the wall:


To make things even better, Haw started to paint a picture in his mind again. He saw himself in great realistic detail, sitting in the middle of a pile of all his favorite cheeses-from Cheddar to Brie! He saw himself eating the many cheeses he liked, & he enjoyed what he saw.

The more clearly he saw the image of himself enjoying New Cheese, the more real & believable it became. He wrote:


Haw wondered why he had always thought that a change would lead to something worse. Now he realized that change could lead to something better.

Then he raced through the Maze with greater strength & agility. Until he found bits of New Cheese. He entered the Cheese Station but it was empty. Someone had already been there.

He stopped & wrote on the wall:


Haw made his way back to Cheese Station C to offer Hem bits of New Cheese but was turned down. Hem wanted his own Cheese back. Haw just shook his head in disappointment but this does not stop him from finding New Cheese. He smiled as he realized:


Haw realized again, that what you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.

He realizes it was natural for change to continually occur, whether you expect it or not. Change could surprise you only if you didn’t expect it & weren’t looking for it.

When he realized he had changed his beliefs, he paused to write on the wall:


Haw now realized that his new beliefs were encouraging him to behave in a new way. He was behaving differently from the way he had when he had kept returning to the same cheeseless station.

It all depends on what you choose to believe. He wrote on the wall:


Haw just hoped he was heading in the right direction. He thought about the possibility that Hem would read The Handwriting On The Wall & find his way.

He wrote on the wall what he had been thinking about for some time:


He continued on through the Maze with greater strength & speed. He proceeded along a corridor that was new to him, rounded a corner, & found New Cheese at Cheese Station N where he saw the greatest supply of Cheese he had ever seen.Sniff & Scurry welcomed him.

“Hooray for Change!”

Haw wrote down a summary of what he had learned on the largest wall of Cheese Station N & smiled as he looked at what he had learned:



  • 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 and again!
no cheese
No Cheese?

When the cheese was gone so were the mice!

  • Reflect on the different reactions of the mice and the little people.
  • Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.
  • When change happens is it as sudden as we think or are there clues?
getting out of a cheese less situation
Getting Out Of A Cheese-less Situation
  • Accept the situation: this cheese is gone!
  • Remember your journey: you had to find cheese the last time and you did
  • Reflect on your source: there has always been cheese
  • Block nay-sayers: Folks with fear and negative thoughts who only want to HEM you in.
  • Have faith: you will find new cheese if you start to search on it
  • Visualize success: ”it’s the cheeseiest!”
the journey is a mazing
The Journey Is A-Mazing!
  • The journey is as important as the destination
  • You’ll go faster the sooner you get rid of old fears
  • As you proceed, you’ll find morsels of the new cheese along the way – a promise of what lies ahead!
  • Everyone has to find new cheese for themselves
    • Be supportive, leave a trail that can be followed
cheez whiz
  • You found new cheese!
  • Now Chew on this…

Q: What did the little people have that the mice didn’t have?

A: The ability to reflect on the lessons learned and apply it for the next time as well as the opportunity to share it with others.

Let’s Not Waste Our Lessons…

There Are People Who Need To Hear Our Stories

part iii a discussion
Part III: A Discussion
  • Change can be a positive thing
  • As leaders we are to be flexible and adaptable
  • No one admits they fear change but think everyone around them does – denial.
  • Old cheese is sometimes old behavior – new cheese is a new or renewed relationship
as leaders how do we want to handle change
As Leaders How Do We Want To Handle Change?

Our community, colleagues, and

corporations will be looking at us

on how we deal with changes.

They will take their cues from us.





Change is often prompted by unseen forces.

Think Back:

Has your cheese ever been moved? Have you ever found new cheese?