正文 讨论第1节

同一天傍晚,故事讲完以后的讨论

迈克尔讲完他的故事以后,环顾四周,发现他的老同学们都在微笑着倾听。

有几个人站起身来向他表示感谢,说他们从故事中得到了很多启发。

内森问大家:“一会儿我们聚在一起讨论一下这个故事,你们觉得怎样?”

大多数人都表示他们的确很想谈一谈自己的感受。于是,他们决定先去喝点东西,再吃晚餐,然后一起讨论一下这个故事。

当天晚上,他们聚集在饭店的房间里,相互开着玩笑说,看见他们自己在迷宫中寻找各自的“奶酪”。

安杰拉要大家安静下来,并询问道:“你们觉得自己是这故事中的谁?嗅嗅和匆匆,还是哼哼或唧唧?”

卡洛斯第一个回答说:“呃,整个下午,我都在考虑这个问题。我清楚地记得,有一段时间,在我开始我的运动器材生意之前,我曾遇到过一次突如其来的改变。”

“我不是嗅嗅——我没能及早嗅出潜在的危机并看出已经发生的变化。我也不像匆匆——因为我没有立即投入行动。”

“我想我更像是哼哼,当时我只愿意呆在自己熟悉的领域。事实上,我根本不想去应对改变,我甚至不想看到变化。”

迈克尔和卡洛斯在学校时是好朋友,现在还是像从前一样亲密,他不解地问道:“兄弟,你所说的那个突然的改变究竟是怎么回事?”

卡洛斯说:“那是工作上的一个意想不到的变化。”

迈克尔笑了起来:“你被开除了?”

“噢,还不如说,我只是从来不曾想过要去寻找新的奶酪。我曾经想到很多理由,总觉得变化不应该发生在我身上。老实说,那段时间,我感到非常沮丧。”

刚开始的时候,有几位同学一直没有参加讨论,现在听了迈克尔的话也都开始了议论。首先是已经应征入伍的弗兰克。

“哼哼使我想起了我的一位朋友,”他说:“所有迹象显示他所在的部门将被裁撤,但他不肯面对这个现实。公司为所有人做了重新安排。我们都试图劝说他,只要愿意改变,公司里还有很多其他的机会,但他始终觉得自己没有必要改变。当他所在的部门最终关闭时,他是惟一惊讶得不知所措的人。现在,他正在做出艰难的调整,以适应他认为不该发生的变化。”

杰西卡说:“我也一向认为这种事情不会发生在我身上,但我的奶酪的确已经不止一次地被拿走了,尤其是在我的个人生活中。但最后我总能找到我的奶酪。”

除了内森以外,大家都笑了。

“也许,这就是关键之处,”内森说:“变化发生在我们每一个人身上。”

他补充道:“我真希望我的家人以前就听到晕过这个故事。不幸的是,我们每一个人都不愿意面对发生在我们家族企业中的变化。现在为时已晚——我们不得不关闭我们的许多家店铺了。“

内森的话让很多人吃了一惊,因为大家一向都很羡慕内森的幸运,认为他可以躺在自己的家族企业中,年复一年地依靠它。

“发生了什么事?”杰西卡急于问个究竟。

“当超级商场进入小镇时,我们的小型连锁店突然显得过时了。他们有大量丰富且价格低廉的商品,我们完全无法与之竞争。”

“现在我终于明白了,这一切后果归咎于我的家人都不是嗅嗅和匆匆,我们就像哼哼。我们呆在原来的地方固步自封,拒绝改变;我们故意忽略外面的世界,企图对发生的一切视而不见。现在我们陷入了麻烦,这一切只是因为我们不愿意嘲讽自己,不愿意改变所做的一切。我们真应该从唧唧身上学到些什么。”

劳拉已经是一位很成功的商人,到现在为止,她很少说话,一直在聆听。“这个下午,我也一直在思考这个故事,”这时她说:“我不知道自己要怎样做才能更像唧唧,才能够看到自己的错误,坦然面对自己,改变自己,并将一切做得更好。”

沉默了一会儿,她继续说:“我想知道,我们这里有多少人害怕改变?”见没有人回答。于是她又提议:“请举手示意。”

只有一个人举了手。“很好,看起来,我们之中总算还有一个诚实的人!”她说,并继续道:“也许你们更愿意回答下一个问题。有多少人认为别人害怕改变?”这一次几乎每个人都举了手。见此情景,大伙都大笑起来。

“刚才的现象说明了什么?”

“我们都拒绝承认自己害怕改变。”内森回答。

“确实是这样,”迈克尔表示赞同,“有时候,连我们自己也没有意识到我们在害怕,或者说我们在努力想掩盖自己的恐惧。我知道我就是如此。当我第一次听到这个故事的时候,我就非常喜欢这句话,‘当你无所畏惧时,你会怎样?’”

杰西卡接口道:“我从这个故事中得到的启示是,变化无时无处不在发生,无论我们是害怕改变还是喜欢改变,但如果我们能尽快调整自己适应变化,我们应该可以做得更好。”

“我还记得几年前我们公司发生的事情。当时我们正在销售一套百科全书,全套书有二十多本。有个人想要说服我们,他告诉我们应该把整套百科全书做成一张计算机光盘,只卖现在价格的零头。这样做,既可以及时更新,又可以使生产费用大为减少,而且将有更多的人买得起并可以使用上它。但是当时我们拒绝了这个建议。”

“你们为什么要拒绝呢?”内森问道。

“因为当时我们确信,我们企业的主力,是我们挨家挨户地推销的庞大销售队伍,我们的高价产品使我们的销售人员可以获得高额佣金从而更加卖力气地工作。长期以来,我们一直都这样做并且做得很成功,我们都认为这种方式还会继续有效。”

劳拉说:“也许这就是故事里所要表明的,哼哼和唧唧由于成功而形成的傲慢。他们从来没有想过,他们需要改变那些曾经的有效的东西。”

“这方法就是你们的奶酪!”内森说:“并且你们认为这块旧奶酪是你们惟一的奶酪。”

“的确如此,我们甚至想依靠这种方法直到永远。”

“当我回过头去想发生的事情时,我发现,奶酪不仅仅会被移走。奶酪也有自己的生命,终究有被吃完的一天。”

“结果怎么样呢?”劳拉问。

“我们没有变。一个竞争者却做了改变,所以我们的生意一落千丈,一直到现在我们都很艰难。如今,在这个产业领域里技术上已经发生了很大的变化,但我们公司里却没有一个人想去应对这种变化。这看起来很不妙,我想我快要失业了。”

“这真是一个迷宫的时代!”卡洛斯忽然叫道。大家都笑了起来,杰西卡也笑了。

卡洛斯转向杰西卡说道:“你已经可以坦然地嘲笑你自己了,这很好啊。”

弗兰克附和说:“这也是我从故事中得到的体会,我们常常过于认真地看待自己。我注意到在故事里,当唧唧终于能够坦然嘲笑自己错误的过去时,他得到了应对变化的方法。关键就在于要敢于否定自己,勇敢地嘲讽自己做的傻事,难怪他的名字要叫作唧唧。”

大家都模仿这个词,发出哼哼唧唧的声音。

安杰拉问大家:“你们认为哼哼是否会改变,是否能够找到新的奶酪?”

依莱恩说:“我想他会的。”

“我认为不会,”柯瑞说:“有的人绝对不肯改变,并为此付出了代价。在我行医的时候,我见过像哼哼这样的人。他们觉得他们天生具备拥有自己的奶酪的资格和权力,当奶酪被拿走以后,他们觉得自己是受害者并为此而指责别人,抱怨能够抱怨的一切。他们比那些最终能够放开自己去行动的人要病得厉害得多。”

这时,内森轻轻地、好像自言自语般地说道:“我觉得,真正的问题是,‘我们需要放弃什么,以及应该朝哪里行动?’”

好一会儿,大家都不说话。

“我必须承认,”内森又说:“当我看到其他地方的商业经营运作方式在改变时,我完全有时间有能力改变自己去应对这种变化,然而我们当时只是一厢情愿地认为这种变化不会影响到我们。所以我认为,率先变化比对变化做出反应和调整要强得多。也许,我们应该做的就是移走我们自己的奶酪。”

“你的意思是……”弗兰克问。

内森回答说:“我不禁在想,如果当初我们卖掉我们商店的不动产,建立一个大型的现代化商场去与那些超级商场竞争,结果又会是怎样?”

劳拉说:“也许这就是唧唧写在墙上的意思‘尝试冒险,与奶酪一起变动’。”

弗兰克说:“我现在认识到,如果我很早就随着我的‘奶酪’移动,我会好得多。但我觉得有些东西是应该保持不变的,例如,我们的基本价值观。”

“噢,迈克尔,这真是一个有意义的小故事。”理查德说,他是班上的怀疑论者,“但是,我们究竟应该怎样把它实际运用到我们的生活中去呢?”

大家都不知道,但理查德自己的生活正在经历某些变化。最近,他和妻子离婚了,因此他既要做好工作又要照顾好十几岁的孩子。

迈克尔回答说:“你知道吗?以前我的工作就是处理每天正在发生的问题。现在我发现实际上我应该做的是,朝前看,把注意力放在我们公司发展的大方向上,而不是不断地应付眼前的小事。”

“我整个人都投入到处理这些枝节问题中去了——一天二十四小时,感觉不到任何乐趣。我陷入老鼠赛跑的圈子,无法跑出来。”

“所以,你总是为琐事纠缠无暇喘息,而其实你更应该抽身出来,主动支配时间。”劳拉说。

“确实如此。”迈克尔说:“后来,当我听到‘谁动了我的奶酪’的故事后,我认识到我的工作应该是描绘一幅‘新奶酪’的图景——公司全体员工希望追寻的‘新奶酪’,然后将这新奶酪清晰、真实地呈现在所有员工的面前。这样,我们才会享受到变化和成功的喜悦,不论是在工作中还是在生活中。”

内森问道:“你在工作中是怎样去做的?”

“喔,我问我们公司里的人,他们是故事中的谁,发现我们公司中这四种角色都有。我看到了嗅嗅、匆匆、哼哼和唧唧,每一种角色都需要区别对待。”

“我们的嗅嗅能够敏锐地嗅出市场的变化,以便我们能够及时调整公司的战略。公司鼓励他们去识别哪些变化会影响到顾客对新产品和服务的需求。嗅嗅们喜欢这项工作,他们告诉我,他们喜欢在这样的环境中工作,在这里他们能够识别变化并及时做出调整。”

“我们的匆匆喜欢做事,在公司的新战略中,他们被鼓励去采取行动。他们只需要稍加引导,以免跑错了方向。公司获得了新奶酪,这应归功于他们的行动。他们喜欢在这样的公司里工作,在这里能够体现行动的结果和价值。”

“那么,哼哼们和唧唧们又怎样呢?”安杰拉问道。

“不幸的是,哼哼们就像是船锚想使我们停下来,”迈克尔说:“他们或者是太在意享受眼前的安逸,或者是过分害怕改变。不过当我向他们展示了具体的景象,并说明变化将会带来的好处时,有些哼哼最终改变了。”

“我们的哼哼们说,他们想要在一个安全的环境下工作,所以,变化应在他们所能接受的范围内增加安全感。然而当我让他们认识到僵化不变的可怕时,其中有些人发生了改变,而且干得不错。这种景象便许多的哼哼变成了唧唧。”

“对那些没有改变的哼哼,你们怎么办呢?”弗兰克问道。

“我们不得不让他们走人。”迈克尔黯然答道:“我们希望留下所有的员工,但我们清楚,我们必须要迅速而充分地改变,否则我们全体都陷入麻烦之中。”

他又说:“我们的唧唧们起初还有些犹豫,值得欣慰的是,他们思想开放,乐于去学习新的东西,及时调整并付诸实施,从而使我们获得成功。”

“他们甚至开始期待变化而且积极地寻求变化。他们了解大家究竟想要什么,和我们一起描绘出一幅实际可行的新奶酪的美景图,让所有的人充满期待并积极行动起来。”

“他们说他们希望在这样的组织中工作,能够给人自信和变化的工具。在我们追随新奶酪的过程中,他们还给我们带来了许多迎接挑战的乐趣。”

理查德揶揄道:“没想到你从一个小故事中得到了这么多东西?”

迈克尔笑了:“因为我并没有仅仅停留在听故事的层面上,而是从中找到了我想要的东西,并且采取了行动。”

安杰拉点头表示同意:“这做法真的很有趣。因为在我看来,这故事中最有影响力的部分就是,当唧唧勇敢地嘲笑自己的畏惧,开始在头脑中描绘一幅自己在享受新奶酪的情景,然后充满信心和喜悦地走进迷宫,追寻新的奶酪,并最终获得了成功。我想这也是我常常想要做的事情。”

弗兰克笑了一下:“所以,甚至哼哼有时也能看到变化的好处。”

卡洛斯笑起来:“比如说保持工作的好处。”

安杰拉补充说:“甚至还有得到提拔的好处。”

理查德一直皱着眉头若有所思。这时他说:“我的上司一直在告诉我,公司需要有所改变。我想她实际上是想告诉我应该做出某些改变,但我实在不想听到这些。我觉得自己真的不知道,她想让我们去找的‘新奶酪’是什么,或者,我能从那新奶酪中得到些什么。”

说到这里,一丝微笑掠过他脸庞:“听了这个故事我必须承认,我开始喜欢这个想法,看见新奶酪并想像自己正在享用它。这种想法能使每件事都变得更有希望。当你想到变化能使事情变得更好时,你就会有很大的兴趣去促成变化的发生。”

“也许我应该把这些观念和方法运用到我的个人生活中去,”他补充说:“我的孩子们觉得他们的生活不应该改变。我看他们也有点像哼哼——当事情发生改变时,他们会愤怒。因为他们不知道改变后会怎么样。这也许是我没有给他们描绘出一幅‘新奶酪’的美景的缘故。或许因为连我自己都害怕变化,连我自己都没有看到那‘新奶酪’的美景吧?”

听了番话,所有人都想到了自己的生活,大家安静下来。

“呃,”杰西卡清了清嗓子,打破了宁静,“大家好像都在谈论自己的工作,但是我听到这个故事以后,却想到了我的个人生活。我觉得我目前的情况,我的家庭关系,就像一个‘旧奶酪’,上面长满了霉菌。”

A Discussion: Later That Same Day

When Michael finished telling the story, he looked around the room and saw his former classmates smiling at him.

Several thanked him and said they got a good deal out of the story.

Nathan asked the group, "What would you think of getting together later and maybe discussing it?"

Most of them said they would like to talk about it, and so they arranged to meet later for a drink before dinner.

That evening, as they gathered in a hotel lounge, they began to kid each other about finding their "Cheese" and seeing themselves in the Maze.

Then Angela good-naturedly asked the group, "So, who were you in the story? Sniff, Scurry, Hem or Haw?"

Carlos answered, "Well I was thinking about that this afternoon. I clearly remember a time before I had my sporting goods business, when I had a rough encounter with change.

"I wasn't Sniff-I didn't sniff out the situation and see the change early. And I certainly wasn't Scurry -- I didn't go into action immediately.

"I was more like Hem, who wanted to stay in familiar territory. The truth is, I didn't want to deal with change. I didn't even want to see it."

Michael, who felt like no time had passed since he and Carlos were close friends in school, asked, "What are you talking about, Carlos?"

Carlos said, "An unexpected change of jobs."

Michael laughed. "You were fired?"

"Well let's just say I didn't want to go out looking for New Cheese. I thought I had a good reason why change shouldn't happen to mc. So, I was pretty upset at the time."

Some of their former classmates who had been quiet in the beginning felt more comfortable now and spoke up, including Frank, who had gone into the military.

"Hem reminds me of a friend of mine," Frank said. "His department was closing down, but he didn't want to see it. They kept relocating his people. We all tried to talk to him about the many other opportunities that existed in the company for those who wanted to be flexible, but he didn't think he had to change. He was the only one who was surprised when his department closed. Now he's having a hard time adjusting to the change he didn't think should happen."

Jessica said, "I didn't think it should happen to me either, but my 'Cheese' has been moved more than once."

Many in the group laughed, except Nathan.

"Maybe that's the whole point," Nathan said. "Change happens to all of us."

He added, "I wish my family had heard the Cheese story before this. Unfortunately we didn't want to see the changes coming in our business, and now it's too late -- we're having to close many of our stores."

That surprised many in the group, because they thought Nathan was lucky to be in a secure business he could depend on, year after year.

"What happened?" Jessica wanted to know.

"Our chain of small stores suddenly became old fashioned when the mega-store came to town with its huge inventory and low prices. We just couldn't compete with that."

"I can see now that instead of being like Sniff and Scurry, we were like Hem. We stayed where we were and didn't change. We tried to ignore what was happening and now we are in trouble. We could have taken a couple of lessons from Haw -because we certainly couldn't laugh at ourselves and change what we were doing."

Laura, who had become a successful businesswoman, had been listening, but had said very little until now. "I thought about the story this afternoon too," she said. "I wondered how I could be more like Haw and see what I'm doing wrong -- laugh at myself, change, and do better." Then she asked, "I'm curious. How many here are afraid of change?" No one responded, so she suggested, "How about a show of hands?"

Only one hand went up. "Well, it looks like we've got one honest person in our group!" she said, and then continued, "Maybe you'll like this next question better. How many here think other people are afraid of change?" Practically everyone raised their hands. Then they all started laughing.

"What does that tell us?"

"Denial," Nathan answered.

"Sure," Michael admitted. "Sometimes we're not even aware that we're afraid. I know I wasn't. When I first heard the story, I loved the question:

'What would you do if you weren't afraid?"'

Then Jessica added, "Well, what I got from the story is that change is happening everywhere and that I will do better when I can adjust to it quickly."

"I remember years ago when our company was selling our encyclopedia as a set of more than twenty books. One person tried to tell us that we should put our whole encyclopedia on a single computer disk and sell it for a fraction of the cost. It would be easier to update, would cost us so much less to manufacture, and so many more people could afford it. But we all resisted."

"Why did you resist?" Nathan asked.

"Because, we believed then that the backbone of our business was our large sales force, who called on people door-to-door. Keeping our sales force depended on the big commissions they earned from the high price of our product. We had been doing this successfully for a long time and thought it would go on forever."

Laura said, "Maybe that's what was meant in the story when it mentioned Hem and Haw's arrogance about success. They didn't notice they needed to change what had once been working."

Nathan said, "So you thought your old Cheese was your only Cheese."

"Yes, and we wanted to hang onto it. When I think back on what happened to us, I see that it's not just that they 'moved the Cheese' but that the 'Cheese' has a life of its own and eventually runs out.

"Anyway, we didn't change. But a competitor did and our sales fell badly. We've been going through a difficult time. Now, another big technological change is happening in the industry and no one at the company seems to want to deal with it. It doesn't look good. I think I could be out of a job soon."

"It's MAZE time!" Carlos called out. Everyone laughed, including Jessica.

Carlos turned to Jessica and said, "It's good that you can laugh at yourself."

Frank offered, "That's what I got out of the story. I tend to take myself too seriously. I noticed how Haw changed when he could finally laugh at himself and at what he was doing. No wonder he was called Haw."

The group groaned at the obvious play on words.

Angela asked, "Do you think that Hem ever changed and found New Cheese?"

Elaine said, "I think he did."

"I don't," Cory said. "Some people never change and they pay a price for it. I see people like Hem in my medical practice. They feel entitled to their 'Cheese'. They feel like victims when it's taken away and blame others. They get sicker than people who let go and move on."

Then Nathan said quietly, as though he was talking to himself, "I guess the question is, What do we need to let go of and what do we need to move on to?"'

No one said anything for a while.

"I must admit" Nathan said, "I saw what was happening with stores like ours in other parts of the country, but I hoped it wouldn't affect us. I guess it's a lot better to initiate change while you

can than it is to try to react and adjust to it. Maybe we should move our own Cheese."

"What do you mean?" Frank asked.

Nathan answered, "I can't help but wonder where we would be today if we had sold the real estate under all our old stores and built one great modern store to compete with the best of them."

Laura said, "Maybe that's what Haw meant when he wrote on the wall: 'Savor the adventure and move with the Cheese."'

Frank said, "I think some things shouldn't change. For example, I want to hold on to my basic values. But I realize now that I would be better off if I had moved with the 'Cheese' a lot sooner in my life."

"Well, Michael, it was a nice little story," Richard, the class skeptic, said, "but how did you actually put it into use in your company?"

The group didn't know it yet, but Richard was experiencing some changes himself. Recently separated from his wife, he was now trying to balance his career with raising his teenagers.

Michael replied, "You know, I thought my job was just to manage the daily problems as they came up when what I should have been doing was looking ahead and paying attention to where we were going.

"And boy did I manage those problems - twenty-four hours a day. I wasn't a lot of fun to be around. I was in a rat race and I couldn't get out."

Laura said, "So you were managing when you needed to be leading."

"Exactly," Michael said. "Then when I heard the story of "Who Moved My Cheese? ", I realized my job was to paint a picture of 'New Cheese' that we would all want to pursue, so we could enjoy changing and succeeding, whether it was at work or in life.

Nathan asked, "What did you do at work?"

"Well, when I asked people in our company who they were in the story, I saw we had every one of the four characters in our organization. I began to see that the Sniffs, Scurrys, Hems, and Haws each needed to be treated differently.

"Our Sniffs could sniff our changes in the marketplace, so they helped us update our corporate vision. They were encouraged to identify how the changes could result in new products and services our customers would want. The Sniffs loved it and told us they enjoyed working in a place that recognized change and adapted in time.

"Our Scurrys liked to get things done, so they were encouraged to take actions, based on the new corporate vision. They just needed to be monitored

so they didn't scurry off in the wrong direction. They were then rewarded for actions that brought us New Cheese. They liked working in a company that valued action and results."

"What about the Hems and Haws?" Angela asked.

"Unfortunately, the Hems were the anchors that slowed us down," Michael answered. "They were either too comfortable or too afraid to change. Some of our Hems changed only when they saw the sensible vision we painted that showed them how changing would work to their advantage.

"Our Hems told us they wanted to work in a place that was safe, so the changes needed to make sense to them and increase their sense of security. When they realized the real danger of not changing, some of them changed and did well. Our vision helped us turn many of our Hems into Haws."

"What did you do with the Hems who didn't change'?" Frank wanted to know.

"We had to let them go," Michael said sadly. "We wanted to keep all our employees, but we knew if our business didn't change quickly enough, we would all be in trouble."

Then he said, "The good news is that while our Haws were initially hesitant, they were open-minded enough to learn something new, act differently, and adapt in time to help us succeed.

"They came to expect change and actively look for it. Because they understood human nature, they helped us paint a realistic vision of New Cheese that made good sense to practically everyone.

"They told us they wanted to work in an organization that gave people the confidence and tools to change. And they helped us keep our sense of humor as we went after our New Cheese."

Richard commented, "You got all that from a little story?"

Michael smiled. "It wasn't the story, but what we did differently based on what we took from it."

Angela admitted, "I'm a little bit like Hem, so for me, the most powerful part of the story was when Hem laughed at his fear and went on to paint a picture in his mind, where he saw himself enjoying 'New Cheese'. It made going into the Maze less fearful and more enjoyable. And he eventually got a better deal. That's what I want to do more often."

Frank grinned. "So even Hems can sometimes see the advantage of changing."

Carlos laughed. "Like the advantage of keeping their jobs."

Angela added, "Or even getting a good raise."

Richard, who had been frowning during the discussion, said, "My manager's been telling me

our company needs to change. I think what she's really telling me is that I need to, but I haven't wanted to hear it. I guess I never really knew what the 'New Cheese' was that she was trying to move us to. Or how I could gain from it."

A slight smile crossed Richard's face as he said, "I must admit I like this idea of seeing 'New Cheese' and imagining yourself enjoying it. It lightens everything up. When you see how it can make things better, you get more interested in making the change happen.

"Maybe I could use this in my personal life," he added. "My children seem to think that nothing in their lives should ever change. I guess they're acting like Hem -- they're angry. They're probably afraid of what the future holds. Maybe I haven't painted a realistic picture of 'New Cheese' for them. Probably because I don't see it myself."

The group was quiet as several people thought about their own lives.

"Well," Jessica said, "most people here are talking about jobs, but as I listened to the story, I thought about my personal life. I think my current relationship is 'Old Cheese' that has some pretty serious mold on it."

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