Sam Keller's TEC Blog

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moving the Cheese

You have probably read or at least heard of the business classic "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson. By way of review, Johnson's characters include mice in a maze, and teaches lessons about accepting and anticipating change gracefully.

Now, Deepak Malhotra, a professor in the Negotiation, Organizations and Markets unit at The Harvard Business School asks, "Is that really the best message to send to your employees?"

In his book, "I Moved Your Cheese" he argues that success in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, leadership, and business growth—as well as personal growth—depend on the ability to push the boundaries, reshape the environment, and play by a different set of rules.

He believes that "in some ways, the message of WMMC may indeed be dangerous, or at least debilitating, because it promotes the idea that change is inevitably beyond our control, that we shouldn't waste our time wondering why things are the way they are, and that we should just put our heads down and keep running around the maze chasing after cheese."

He goes on to say that "what is often holding us back from achieving greater success is not real limitations, but that we have internalized environmental pressures, social norms, and the expectations of other people. The world tells us how things have to be, and we don't push back enough."

Click here to learn more from the full article that appeared in the September 2011 addition of "Working Knowledge" published by the Harvard Business School.

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