The Story Behind The Story
by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D.
I am thrilled to be telling you "the story behind the story" of
Who Moved My Cheese? because it means the book has now been written, and is
available for all of us to read, enjoy and share with others.
This is something I've wanted to see happen ever since I first heard Spenser Johnson tell his great "Cheese" story, years ago, before we wrote our book The One Minute Manager together.
I remember thinking then how good the story was and how helpful it would be to me from that moment on.
Who Moved My Cheese? is a story about change that takes place in a Maze where four amusing characters look for "Cheese" - cheese being 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.
The "Maze" in the story represents where you spend time looking for what you want. It can be the organization you work in, the community you live in, or the relationships you have in your life.
I tell the Cheese story that you are about to read in my talks around the world, and often hear later from people what a difference it has made to them.
Believe it or not, this little story has been credited with saving careers, marriages and lives!
One of the many real-life examples come from Charlie Jones, a well-respected broadcaster for NBC-TV, who revealed that hearing the story of "Who Moved My Cheese?" saved his career. His job as broadcaster is unique, but the principles he learned can be used by anyone.
Here's what happened: Charlie had worked hard and had done a great job of broadcasting Track and Field events at an earlier Olympic Games, so he was surprised and upset when his boss told him he'd been removed from these showcase events for the next Olympics and assigned to Swimming and Diving.
Not knowing these sports as well, he was frustrated. He felt unappreciated and he became angry. He said he felt it wasn't fair! His anger began to affect everything he did.
Then, he heard the story of "Who Moved My Cheese?"
After that he said he laughed at himself and changed his attitude. He realized his boss had just "moved his Cheese." So he adapted. He learned the two new sports, and in the process, found that doing something new made him feel young.
It wasn't long before his boss recognized his new attitude and energy, and he soon got better assignments. He went on to enjoy more success than ever and was later inducted into Pro Football's Hall of Fame - Broadcasters' Alley.
That's just one of the many real-life stories I've heard about the impact this story has had on people - from work life to their love life.
I'm such a strong believer in the power of "Who Moved My Cheese?" that I recently gave a copy of an early pre-publication edition to everyone (more than 200 people) working with our company. Why?
Because like every company that wants to not only survive in the future but stay competitive, Blanchard Training & Development is constantly changing. They keep moving our "cheese." While in the past we may have wanted loyal employees, today we need flexible people who are not possessive about "the way things are done around here."
And yet, as you know, living in constant white water with the changes occurring all the time at work or in life can be stressful, unless people have a way of looking at change that helps them understand it. Enter the Cheese story.
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