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Chapter 1 The Story Behind The Story

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 Spencer 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 thatmoment on.

  Who Moved My Cheese? is a story about change that takes place in a Maze where four amusingcharacters look for "Cheese" - cheese being a metaphor for what we want to have in life, whether itis job, a relationship, money, a bid house, freedom, health, recognition, spiritual peace, or even anactivity like jogging or golf..

  Each of us has our own idea of what Cheese is, and we pursue it because we believe it makes ushappy. If we get it, we often become attached to it. And if we lose it, or it's taken away, it can betraumatic.

  The "Maze" in the story represents where you spend time looking for what you want. It can be theorganization 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 laterfrom people about 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 comes from Charlie Jones, a well-respected broadcaster for NBC-TV, who revealed that hearing the story of "Who Moved My Cheese?" saved his career. Hisjob as a 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 Trackand Field events at an earlier Olympic Games, so he was surprised and upset when his boss told himhe'd been removed from these showcase events for the next Olympics and assigned to Swimmingand Diving.

  Not knowing these as well, he was frustrated. He felt unappreciated and he became angry. Hesaid 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, foundthat doing something new made him feel young.

  It wasn't long before his boss recognized his new attitude and energy, and he soon got betterassignments. He went on to enjoy more success than ever and was later inducted into ProFootball's Hall of Fame - Broadcasters' Alley.

  That's just one of the many real-life stories I've heard about the impact this has had on people -from their 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 ofan 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 notpossessive 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 workor in life can be stressful, unless people have a way of looking at change that helps them understandit. Enter the Cheese story.

   When I told people about the story and then they got to read Who Moved My Cheese? you couldalmost feel the release of negative energy beginning to occur. Person after person from everydepartment went out of their way to thank me for the book and told me how helpful it had been tothem already in seeing the changes going on in our company in a different light. Believe me, thisbrief parable takes little time to read but its impact can be profound.

  As you turn the pages, you will find the sections in this book. In the first, A Gathering, formerclassmates talk at a class reunion about trying to deal with the changes happening in their lives.

  The second section is The Story of Who Moved My Cheese?, the core of the book. In the thirdsection, A Discussion, people discuss what The Story meant to them and how they are going to useit in their work and in their lives.

  Some readers of this book's early manuscript preferred to stop at the end of The Story, withoutreading further, and interpret its meaning for themselves. Others enjoyed reading A Discussionthat follows because it stimulated their thinking about how they might apply what they'd learned totheir own situation.

  In any case, I hope each time you re-read Who Moved My Cheese? you will find something new anduseful in it, as I do, and that it will help you deal with change and bring you success, whatever youdecide success is for you.

  I hope you enjoy what you discover and I wish you well. Remember: Move with the cheese!

  Ken BlanchardSan Diego, 1998



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