IT look to big cheese

Mark Lewis

If you've attended any IT conferences recently, you may have been surprised to see fellow delegates spending their coffee breaks engrossed in a slender book that looks more Janet and John than Charles Handy.

Despite its toytown metaphors, Dr Spencer Johnson's book is a cautionary tale of real value.

Johnson's story grapples with the concept of change, and how to deal with it. "If you do not change," it warns, "you can become extinct." Given the seismic shifts in traditional business models instigated by the Internet revolution, this is a message the IT department would do well to take on board.

Who Moved My Cheese? is set in a maze, where two mice - Sniff and Scurry - and two humans - Hem and Haw - spend their days searching for cheese.

Their problems begin when Cheese Station C runs out of cheese. As soon as Sniff and Scurry realise this, they take off to find new supplies, which they find.

For Hem and Haw, the change in circumstances bring a less positive response. They greet its disappearance with first denial, then anger and then fear of the "blind alleys" of the maze.

It is Haw's learning curve that forms the backbone of this book. His realisation that "life moves on, and so should we" contrasts with Hem's desire to stay put. By conquering his fear of the unknown and venturing out into the maze, he is able to join Sniff and Scurry.

Haw realises in hindsight that the stocks in Station C were growing smaller, and is wise enough to see that change can only surprise you if you don't look for it. As he puts it: "Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old."

Kid's stuff? Maybe, but it's a lot more fun than an analyst's report, and probably a lot more instructive.

Email Alerts

Register now to receive IT-related news, guides and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting your personal information, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant products and special offers from TechTarget and its partners. You also agree that your personal information may be transferred and processed in the United States, and that you have read and agree to the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy.

This was first published in March 2000


COMMENTS powered by Disqus  //  Commenting policy