Sounds like management material to us...


Freshly arrived boss decides to gauge how well his new 50-person staff responds to change, so he gives each staffer a packet with an excerpt from Who Moved My Cheese?, reports an IT pilot fish on the scene.

"It wasn't the whole book -- just 10 or 12 pages photocopied out of it," fish says. "We had a day to read the story and think about how to respond. At a staff meeting the next day, we were to discuss the story, who we identified with and why."

According to the excerpt fish receives, four characters are living in a maze -- two mice named Sniff and Scurry, and two "littlepeople" named Hem and Haw. Every day they go to a specific room in the maze and find cheese to eat. One day, they discover the cheese is gone. The mice promptly head out to look for a new source of cheese, while Hem and Haw get upset about the change and wait for the cheese to return. After several days, Hem stays at the cheese room, still waiting, while Haw goes out and eventually finds new cheese.

In fish's group meeting to discuss the story, the first staffer up is his friend Betty, who says she identified with the character Haw. What would you do in his place? the department head, Wilma, asks. Betty says that after realizing the cheese was gone, she would trap and enslave the mice, using their abilities to find new cheese for her.

Wilma seems somewhat troubled by that answer, but her mood improves after other staffers give what's clearly intended to be the correct answer: They identify with Haw, and would react to the change by looking for a new cheese source.

Then it's fish's turn. "I said I identified with Haw too," says fish. "Then I added that when the cheese was gone, I would hunt the mice and eat them, thus reducing the demand for cheese in the maze. Once both mice were consumed, if I still couldn't find cheese, I know where there's a last-resort supply of meat that's not going anywhere.

"After I spoke, I heard a few gasps from some of the group members. Wilma did not appear pleased.

"At the full staff meeting, Wilma only related some of the more conventional responses from our group. To this day I don't know if she ever told the new boss what her two top performers in the department said."

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