Tuesday, July 11, 2017

leadership dot #1866: cheese

The obituary for author Spencer Johnson was in the paper yesterday, outlining his death on July 3 and the success he had during his multiple careers. Johnson was best known for his Who Moved My Cheese book, an "A-mazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life." He also collaborated with Ken Blanchard on the classic One Minute Manager, but before that was a children's book author and a medical doctor!

Who Moved My Cheese is a fable -- a 94 page book, stretched with generous type and enhanced by a few illustrations. Who Moved My Cheese tells the tale of Sniff and Scurry the mice and Hem and Haw the people who must confront new circumstances when their source of cheese is moved. It was used widely in organizational change efforts across the world.

The book is not much more than a simple story -- one Johnson told at parties and in speeches before the book's publication -- but which sold 28 million copies and spawned an entire line of merchandise from it. Think of the stories that you are telling to your staff or to your family. Is there an underlying message that could be shared more widely -- through publication, a blog, a video or a podcast? Learning is enhanced through storytelling. Don't let Spencer Johnson be the only one who shares his tale and imparts valuable lessons through simple metaphors.

Source:  "Spencer Johnson dies at 78, found sweet smell of success in Who Moved My Cheese", by Matt Schudel, The Washington Post, July 8, 2017.

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