正文 讨论第2节

柯瑞笑出声来,表示赞同:“我也是。也许我现在最该采取行动的就是让一段不愉快的关系尽快过去。”

安杰拉反驳道:“我不同意你的观点,也许这个‘旧奶酪’只是一种旧的行为方式。我们需要放弃的只是引起这种状况的旧的行为方式,而不是这个‘奶酪’。这样我们才会朝更好的思维和行为方式转变。”

“对呀!”柯瑞受到启发,“好观点。新奶酪就是用新的积极的行为方式与一个人建立新关系。”

理查德说:“我在想,也许这个故事还有更多有建设性的启发等待我们挖掘。我同意安杰拉的观点——需要放弃的是旧的行为方式而不是关系本身。一成不变的行为方式还是会导致同样的结果。”

“就工作而言,或许我应该成为帮助公司进行改变的人之一,而不是因为害怕公司的改变而辞去工作。如果早这么想、这么做的话,我现在也许就会有一个更好的职位了。”

贝基生活在另一个城市,这次特意赶来参加同学聚会。这时她说:“当我在听这个故事,以及听到大家的讨论时,我真的禁不住要讥笑我自己。许久以来,我一直像哼哼那样,害怕改变,凡事迟疑犹豫,拒绝改变,为此我不知道丢掉了多少美味的奶酪。我不知道其他人怎样,我恐怕已经在不知不觉中,把这种哼哼式的思想传给了我的孩子们。”

“当我反复思考这个问题和身边的一些人和事后,我在想或许变化真的能把你带到一个崭新的、更好的地方,尽管当时你担心事情的变化将并非如此。”

“我记得有一段时间,在我儿子上中学二年级的时候。因为我先生工作的需要,我们必须从伊利诺伊搬到佛蒙特去,儿子为此很难过,因为他不得不离开他的朋友们了。他是学校里的游泳明星,但在佛蒙特的高中里却没有游泳队。因此,他对我们即将面临的变化感到很生气。”

“然而后来的情况是,他疯狂地迷上了佛蒙特的山区,开始学习滑雪,并参加了大学里的滑雪队和登山队。现在,他有了更多的新伙伴,他愉快地生活在科罗拉多。”

“如果当初面对改变时,我们全家能端上一杯热巧克力,一起享受这个故事的乐趣,或许我们家庭中的许多无谓的压力和紧张气氛早就烟消云散了。”

杰西卡赶忙说,“没错,我回去后,要把这个故事和全家分享。我还要问我的孩子们,我像故事中的谁——嗅嗅、匆匆,还是哼哼和唧唧——他们又觉得自己像谁。我们还要讨论,我们家的‘旧奶酪’是什么,‘新奶酪’又应该是什么。”

“这的确是个好主意!”理查德大声赞同,把大家吓了一跳,连他自己都奇怪怎么会这么大声。

弗兰克也受到了快乐情绪的感染,喜悦之情溢于言表:“我觉得自己越来越像唧唧,我已经做好准备随着奶酪的移动而移动,并且能够从中得到快乐!我也要把这个故事讲给我军中的朋友们,他们正担心离开部队后生活的变化。这一定会引起一场有趣的讨论。”

迈克尔接着说:“对,这也是我们当初改进我们企业的方法。我们搞过几场讨论,讨论我们从故事中学到了什么,以及如何把它们运用到我们的实际工作中去。”

“这很重要。因为我们有了轻松的、共同的语言,用来谈论怎样应对变化,包括公司和个人生活的。这方法非常有效,它已经深深地渗入到我们公司的各个方面。”

内森问道:“‘深深地‘是什么意思?”

“喔,是这样的,我们发现,越是组织的内层,就越缺乏活力。可以理解,他们比外层人员更加害怕改变,害怕上面强加给他们的改变会发生在他们身上。所以,他们拒绝改变。”

“简言之,强加的改变是最易遭到反抗及阻力的改变。”

“当‘奶酷的故事’以书面的形式在我们机构中分发出去以后,它改变了大家看待变化的态度。对于自己过去的畏惧,每个人都笑起来,至少是微笑了。每一个人都开始主动地考虑‘改变’这个题目。”

“但我要是能够早点听到‘奶酪’的故事并把它用于公司讨论就好了!”迈克尔加了一句。

“为什么?”卡洛斯不理解地问。

“因为当我们开始向变化靠拢的时候,我们的企业已经一团糟了。生意一落千丈,我们不得不解雇一些员工,正如前面提到的,甚至包括一些好朋友。这对我们大家来说都是一件痛苦的事情。惟一值得欣慰的是,所有留下来的和大多数离去的人都说,奶酪的故事使他们改变了看问题的方式,使他们能够更好地对付各种局面。”

“那些离开公司,出去找新工作的人说,开始时确实很艰难,但是,每每回想起这个故事,就会得到极大的帮助。”

安杰拉问道:“对他们最大的帮助是什么?”

迈克尔回答:“他们告诉我,超越自己的恐惧的最大好处是,他们认识到外面到处有新奶酪等着被发现,只要他们愿意去寻找。”

“他们说,头脑中存有一幅新奶酪的景像——看见自己在新的工作中干得很好——会使他们的感觉好一些。尤其是使他们面试的时候表现得更为出色。有些人还因此得到了比原来更好的工作。”

劳拉问:“那些留在公司里的人又怎么样了呢?”

“噢,”迈克尔说:“人们不再抱怨市场环境正在发生的种种变化。他们说‘既然我们的旧奶酪已经不见了,那么让我们去找新的奶酪吧。’这省去了公司许多的协调时间,也减少了公司内部的紧张感和压力。”

“不久前还完全拒绝变化的人,如今也透过这个小故事看到了变化的好处。他们越来越喜欢变化,并且积极创造有利于公司发展的变化。”

柯瑞说:“是什么使得他们改变了呢?”

“我认为这和公司里面存在的同事之间的相互影响力有关系,”迈克尔答道:“如果这种影响力改变了,人们就会跟着发生改变。”

“大家可以回想一下,在你呆过的机构里面,当上级宣布一项改变时,大多数人会有什么反应?大多数人会说这改变是一个好主意还是一个坏主意?”

“一个坏主意。”弗兰克答道。

“没错。”迈克尔表示同意,又接着问道:“为什么会这样呢?”

卡洛斯说:“我想是因为大多数人都喜欢稳定和有安全感,他们觉得改变会带给自己麻烦甚至有可能对自己不利。当有一个人说这种改变是一个坏主意时,其他人通常会随声附和。”

“的确如此,但这些随声附和的人在心里也许并不真的这样认为。”迈克尔说:“只是他们为了看起来和最先提议反对的那个人一样聪明以及显得合群,就会随声附和。这就是我所说的同事之间的相互影响力。这种影响力通常会阻碍机构中发生的变化。”

贝基问道:“那么当人们听到奶酪的故事以后,情况又怎么样了?”

迈克尔耸了耸肩膀,轻松地说:“情况是同事之间的相互影响力改变了,因为大家都不希望自己被别人叫作哼哼!”

大家听了都哈哈大笑了起来。

“他们都想提前嗅出变化的味道,并且赶快投入行动,而不再是落在后头哼哼不停。”

内森说:“这是一个好点子。我想我们家的人也都不愿做哼哼,他们很可能也会因为这个故事而改变。上一次同学聚会时,你为什么没有告诉我们这个故事?要不然,它早就起作用了。”

“它确实有用。”迈克尔说。

“而且非常有用!尤其是当你的机构中的每个人都知道它时——不管是大公司,还是小企业,或者是你的家庭——因为,只有当其中的多数人的心态发生改变以后,一个组织才会发生变化。”

最后,迈克尔又给大家介绍了一个经验:“当这个故事对我的公司起作用以后,我们便把这故事告诉给那些我们希望能和他们在生意上有所合作的人,因为我们知道任何一个公司都正面临着变化和选择。我们提议说,也许我们公司就是他们正在找寻的‘新奶酪’,也就是说,我们可能就是能让他们的生意更成功的合作伙伴。这方法的确为我们带来了许多新的机会和生意。”

这番话使杰西卡受到启发,她想起明天上午要谈的几笔业务。她赶紧看了看时间,说:“喔,时间到了,该是我离开这个奶酪站,去寻找新的奶酪的时候了”。

大家都会心地笑了起来,然后站起身来互道晚安,尽管许多人觉得兴就未尽,还想继续聊这个话题,但时间的确已经不早了。分手的时候,他们再一次感谢迈克尔。

迈克尔说:“我非常高兴你们觉得这个故事对你们有所帮助,我也衷心希望你们有机会尽快与别人分享这个故事。”

Cory laughed in agreement. "Me too. I probably need to let go of a bad relationship."

Angela countered, "Or, perhaps the 'Old Cheese' is just old behavior. What we really need to let go of is the behavior that is the cause of our bad relationship. And then move on to a better way of thinking and acting."

"Ouch!" Cory reacted. "Good point. The New Cheese is a new relationship with the same person."

Richard said, "I'm beginning to think there is more to this than I thought. I like the idea of letting go of old behavior instead of letting go of the relationship. Repeating the same behavior will just get you the same results.

"As far as work goes, maybe instead of changing jobs I should be changing the way I am doing my job. I'd probably have a better position by now if I did."

Then Becky, who lived in another city but had returned for the reunion, said, "As I was listening to the story and to everyone's comments here, I've had to laugh at myself. I've been like Hem for so long, hemming and hawing and afraid of change. I didn't realize how many other people did this as well. I'm afraid I've passed it on to my children without even knowing it.

"As I think about it, I realize change really can lead you to a new and better place, although you're afraid it won't at the time.

"I remember a time when our son was a sophomore in high school. My husband's job required us to move from Illinois to Vermont and our son was upset because he had to leave his friends. He was a star swimmer and the high school in Vermont had no swim team. So, he was angry with us for making him move.

"As it turned out, he fell in love with the Vermont Mountains, took up skiing, skied on his college team and now lives happily in Colorado.

"If we had all enjoyed this Cheese story together, over a cup of hot chocolate, we could have saved our family a lot of stress."

Jessica said, "I'm going home to tell my family this story. I'll ask my children who they think I am -- Sniff, Scurry, Hem or Haw -- and who they feel they are. We could talk about what we feel our family's Old Cheese is and what the New Cheese could be."

"That's a good idea," Richard said, surprising everyone -- even himself.

Frank then commented, "I think I'm going to be more like Haw and move with the Cheese and enjoy it! And I'm going to pass this story along to my friends who arc worried about leaving the military and what the change might mean to them. It could lead to some interesting discussions."

Michael said, "Well, that's how we improved our business. We had several discussions about what we got from the Cheese story and how we could apply it to our situation.

"It was great because we had language that was fun for us to use to talk about how we were dealing with change. It was very effective, especially as it spread deeper into the company."

Nathan asked, "What do you mean by 'deeper'?"

"Well, the further we went into our organization, the more people we found who felt they had less power. They were understandably more afraid of what the change imposed from above might do to them. So they resisted change.

"In short, a change imposed is a change opposed.

"But when the Cheese Story was shared with literally everyone in our organization, it helped us change the way we looked at change. It helped everyone laugh, or at least smile, at their old fears and want to move on.

'I only wished I'd heard the Cheese story Sooner," Michael added.

'How come?" Carlos asked.

"Because, by the time we got around to addressing the changes, our business had already fallen off so badly that we had to let people go, as I said earlier, including some good friends. It was hard on all of us. However, those who stayed and most of those who left said the Cheese story helped them see things differently and cope better.

"Those who had to go out and look for a new job said it was hard at first but recalling the story was a great help to them."

Angela asked, "What helped them most?"

Michael replied, "After they got past their fear, they told me the best thing was realizing that there was New Cheese out there just waiting to be found!

"They said holding a picture of New Cheese in their minds -- seeing themselves doing well in a new job -- made them feel better, and helped them do better in job interviews. Several got better jobs."

Laura asked, "What about the people who remained in your company?"

"Well," Michael said, "instead of complaining about the changes that were happening, people now said, 'They just moved our Cheese. Let's look for the New Cheese'. It saved a lot of time and reduced stress.

"Before long, the people who had been resisting saw the advantage of changing. They even helped bring about change."

Cory said, "Why do you think they changed?"

"They changed after the peer pressure in our company changed."

He asked, "What happens in most organizations you've been in when a change is announced by top management? Do most people say the change is a great idea or a bad idea?"

"A bad idea," Frank answered.

"Yes," Michael agreed. ''Why?''

Carlos said, "Because people want things to stay the same and they think change will be bad for them. When one person says the change is a bad idea, others say the same."

"Yes, they may not really feel that way," Michael said, "but they agree in order to fit in. That's the sort of peer pressure that fights change in any organization."

Becky asked, "So how were things different after people heard the Cheese story?"

Michael said simply, "The peer pressure changed because no one wanted to look like Hem!"

Everyone laughed.

"They wanted to sniff out the changes ahead of time and scurry into action, rather than get hemmed in and be left behind."

Nathan said, "That's a good point. No one in our company would want to look like Hem. They might even change. Why didn't you tell us this story at our last reunion? This could work."

Michael said, "It does work.

"It works best, of course, when everyone in your organization knows the story -- whether it is in a large corporation, a small business or your family -- because an organization can only change when enough people in it change."

Then he offered one last thought: "When we saw how well it worked for us, we passed the story along to people we wanted to do business with, knowing they were also dealing with change. We suggested we might be their 'New Cheese' -- that is, better partners for them to succeed with. It led to new business."

That gave Jessica several ideas and reminded her that she had some early sales calls in the morning. She looked at her watch and said, "Well, it's time for me to leave this Cheese Station and find some New Cheese."

The group laughed and began saying their goodbyes. Many of them wanted to continue the conversation but needed to leave. As they left, they thanked Michael again.

He said, "I'm very glad you found the story so useful, and I hope that you will have the opportunity to share it with others soon."

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