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首页 » 双语小说 » 谁动了我的奶酪? Who Moved My Cheese? » Chapter 4 A Discussion
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Chapter 4 A Discussion

Later That Same DayWhen Michael finished tell the story, he looked around the room and saw his former classmatessmiling at him.

  Several thanked his and said they got a good deal out of the story.

  Nathan asked the group, "What would you thinking of getting together later and maybe discussingit?"Most of them said they would like to talk about it, and so they arranged to meet later for a drinkbefore dinner.

  That evening, as they gathering in a hotel lounge, they began to kid each other about finding their"Cheese" and seeing themselves in the maze.

  Then Angela asked the group good-naturedly, "So, who were you in the story? Sniff, Scurry, Hemor Haw?"Carlos answered, "Well, I was thinking about that this afternoon. I clearly remember a time before Ihad my sporting good business, when I had a rough encounter with change.

  "I wasn't Sniff - I didn't sniff out the situation and see the change early. And I certainly wasn'tScurry - I didn't go into action immediately.

  "I was more like Hem, who wanted to stay in familiar territory. The truth is, I didn't want to dealwith the change. I didn't even want to see it."Michael, who felt like no time had passed since he and Carlos were close friends in school, asked,"What are we talking about here, buddy?"Carlos said, "An unexpected change of jobs."Michael laughed. "You were fired?""Well let's just say I didn't want to go out looking for New Cheese. I thought I had a good reason why change shouldn't happen to me. So I was pretty upset at the time."Some of their former classmates who had been quiet in the beginning felt more comfortable now andspoke up, including Frank, who had gone into the military.

  "Hem reminds me of a friend of me," Frank said, "His department was closing down, but he didn'twant to see it. They kept relocating his people. We all tried to talk to him about the many otheropportunities that existed in the company for those who wanted to be flexible, but he didn't think hehad to change. He was the only one who was surprised when his department closed. Now he'shaving a hard time adjusting to the change he didn't think should happen."Jessica said, "I didn't think it should happen me either, but my "Cheese" has been moved more thanonce."Many in the group laughed, except Nathan.

  "Maybe that's the whole point." Nathan said. "Change happens to all of us."He added, " I wish my family had heard the Cheese story before this. Unfortunately we didn't wantto see the changes coming in our business, and now it's too late - we're having to close many of ourstories."That surprised many in the group, because they thought Nathan was lucky to be in a securebusiness he could depend on, year after year.

  "What happened?" Jessica wanted to know.

  "Our chain of small stores suddenly became old fashioned when the mega-store came to town withits huge inventory and low prices. We just could compete with that.

  "I can see how that instead of being like Sniff and Scurry, we were like Hem. We stayed where wewere and didn't change. We tried to ignore what was happening and now we are in trouble. Wecould have taken a lesson or two from Haw."Laura, who had become a successful business-woman, had been listening, but had said very littleuntil now. "I thought about the story this afternoon too," she said. "I wondered how I could be more like Haw and see what I'm doing wrong; laugh at myself; change and do better."She said, "I'm curious. How many here are afraid of change?" No one responded, so shesuggested, "How about a show of hands?"Only one hand went up. "Well, it looks like we've got one honest person in out group!" she said.

  And then continued, "Maybe you'll like this next question better. How many here think otherpeople are afraid of change?" Everyone raised their hands. Then they all started laughing.

  "What does that tell us?""Denial," Nathan answered.

  Michael admitted, "Sometimes we're not even aware that we're afraid. I know I wasn't. When Ifirst heard the story, I loved the question, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"Then Jessica added, "Well, what I got from the story is that change is going to happen - whether I'mafraid of it, or whether I like it, or not.

  "I remember years ago when our company was selling sets of encyclopedia books. One persontried to tell us that we should put our whole encyclopedia on a single computer disk and sell it for afraction of the cost. It would cost us so much less to manufacture and so many more people couldafford it. But we all resisted.""Why did you resist?" Nathan asked.

  "Because, we believed then that the backbone of our business was our large sales force, who calledon people door-to-door. Keeping our sales force depended on the big commissions they earnedfrom the high price of our product. We had been doing this successfully for a long time and thoughtit would go on forever.""It was your 'Cheese'" Nathan said.

  "Yes, and we wanted to hand on to it.

  "When I think back on what happened to us, I see that it's not just that they 'moved the Cheese', but that the 'Cheese' has a life of its own and eventually runs out.

  "Anyway, we didn't change. But a competitor did and our sales fell badly. We've been goingthrough a difficult time. Now, another big technological change is happening in the industry and noone at the company seems to want to deal with it. It doesn't look good. I think I could be out of ajob soon.""It's maze time!" Carlos called out. Everyone laughed, including Jessica.

  Carlos turned to Jessica and said, "It's good that you can laugh at yourself."Frank offered, "That's what I got out of the story. I tend to take myself too seriously. I noticedhow Haw changed when he could finally laugh at himself and at what he was doing. No wonder hewas called Haw."Angela asked, "Do you think that Hem ever changed and found New Cheese?"Elaine said, "I think he did.""I don't," Cory said. "Some people never change and they pay a price for it. I see people like Hemin my medical practice. They feel entitled to their 'Cheese'. They feel like victims when it's takenaway and blame others. They get sicker than people who let go and move on."Then Nathan said quietly, as though he was talking to himself, "I guess the question is, 'What do weneed to let go and what do we need to move on to?"No one said anything for a while.

  "I must admit," Nathan said, "I saw what was happening in other parts of the country, but I hoped itwouldn't affect us. I guess it's a lot better to initiate change while you can than it is to try to reactand adjust to it. Maybe we should move our own Cheese.""What do you mean?" Frank asked.

  Nathan answered, "I can't help but wonder where we would be today if we had sold the real estateunder all our old stores and built a great modern store to compete with the best of them." Laura said, "Maybe that's what Haw meant when he wrote on the wall 'Savor the adventure andmove with the Cheese.'"Frank said, "I think some things shouldn't change. For example, I want to hold on to my basicvalues. But I realize now that I would be better off if I had moved with the 'Cheese' a lot sooner inmy life.""Well, Michael, it was a nice little story," Richard, the class skeptic, said, "but how did you actuallyput in use in your company?"The group didn't know it yet, but Richard was experiencing some changes himself. Recentlyseparated from his wife, he was now trying to balance his career with raising his teenagers.

  Michael replied, "You know, I thought my job was just to manage the daily problems as they came upwhen I should have been looking ahead and paying attention to where we were going.

  "And boy did I manage those problems ? twenty-four hours a day. I wasn't a lot of fun to be around.

  I was in a rat race and I couldn't get out.

  "However, after I first heard the story of "Who Moved My Cheese?" and saw how Haw changed,"Michael continued, "I realized that my job was to paint a picture of 'New Cheese'. And to do it soclearly and realistically that I and the other people I worked with could all enjoy changing andsucceeding together.""That's interesting," Angela said. "Because, to me, the most powerful part of the story was whenHaw ran past his fear and painted a picture in his mind of finding 'New Cheese'. Running throughthe maze became less fearful and more enjoyable. And he eventually got a better deal."Richard, who had been frowning during the discussion, said, "My manager's been telling me ourcompany needs to change. I think what she's really telling me is that I need to, but I haven't wantedto hear it. I guess I never really knew what the 'New Cheese' was that she was trying to move usto. Or how I could gain from it."A slightly grin crossed Richard's face as he said, "I must admit I like this idea of seeing 'NewCheese' and imagining yourself enjoying it. It lightens everything up. It lessens the fear and gets you more interesting in making the change happen.

  "Maybe I could use this at home," he added. "My children seem to think that nothing in their livesshould ever change. They're angry. I guess they're afraid of what the future holds. Maybe Ihaven't painted a realistic picture of 'New Cheese' for them. Probably because I don't see itmyself."The group was quiet as several people thought about their own family life.

  "Well," Elaine said, "most people here are talking about jobs, but as I listened to the story. Ithought about my personal life. I think my current relationship is 'Old Cheese' that has some prettyserious mold on it."Cory laughed in agreement. "Me too. I probably need to let go of a bad relationship."Angela countered, "Or, perhaps the 'Old Cheese' is just old behavior. What we really need to let goof is the behavior that keeps causing our bad relationship. And then move on to a better way ofthinking and acting.""Ouch!" Cory reacted. "Good point. The New Cheese is a new relationship with the same person."Richard said, "I'm beginning to think there is more to this than I thought. I like the idea of letting goof old behavior instead of letting go of the relationship. Repeating the same behavior will just getyou the same results.

  "Instead of changing jobs, maybe I should be one of the people helping my company change. I'dprobably have a better job by now if I did."Then Becky, who lived in another city but had returned for the reunion, said, "As I was listening tothe story and to everyone's comments here, I've had to laugh at myself. I've been like Hem for solong, hemming and hawing and afraid of change. I didn't realize how many other people did this aswell. I'm afraid I've passed it on to my children without even knowing it.

  "As I think about it, I realize change really can lead you to a new and better place, although you'reafraid it won't at the time.

   "I remember a time when our son was a sophomore in high school. My husband's job required us tomove from Illinois to Vermont and our son was upset because he had to leave his friends. He wasa star swimmer and the high school in Vermont had no swim team. So, he was angry with us formaking him move.

  "As it turned out, he fell in love with Vermont mountains, took up skiing, skied on his college teamand now lives happily in Colorado.

  "If we had all enjoyed this Cheese story together, over a cup of hot chocolate, we could have savedour family a lot of stress."Jessica said, "I'm going home to tell my family this story. I'll ask my children who they think I am ?

  Sniff, Scurry, Hem or Haw ? and who they feel they are. We could talk about what we feel ourfamily's Old Cheese is and what the New Cheese could be.""That's a good idea," Richard said.

  Frank then commented, "I think I'm going to be more like Haw and move with the Cheese and enjoyit! And I'm going to pass this story along to my friends who are worried about leaving the militaryand what the change will mean to them. It could lead to some interesting discussions."Michael said, "Well, that's how we improved our business. We had several discussions about whatwe got from the Cheese story and how we could apply it to our own situation.

  "It was great because we had language that was fun for us to use to talk about how we were dealingwith change. It was very effective, especially as it spread deeper into the company.""How so?" Nathan asked.

  "Well, the further we went into our organization, the more people we found who felt they had lesspower. They were understandably more afraid of what the change imposed from above might do tothem. So they resisted change.

  "In short, a change imposed is a change opposed.

  "I only wished I'd heard the Cheese story sooner," Michael added.

   "How come?" Carlos asked.

  "Because by the time we got around to addressing the changes, our business had already fallen offso badly that we had to let people go, including some good friends. It was hard on all of us.

  However, practically everyone, those who left and those who stayed, said the Cheese story helpedthem see things differently and cope better.

  "Those who had to go out and look for a new job said it was hard at first but recalling the story wasa great help to them."Angela asked, "What helped them most?"Michael replied, "After they got past their fear, they told me the best thing was realizing that therewas New Cheese out there just waiting to be found!

  "They said holding a picture of New Cheese in their minds made them feel better, and so they didbetter in job interviews. Several got better jobs."Laura asked "What about the people who remained in company?""Well," Michael said, "instead of complaining about the changes that were happening, people nowsaid, 'They just moved our Cheese. Let's look for the New Cheese.' It saved a lot of time andreduced stress.

  "Before long, the people who had been resisting saw the advantage of changing. They even helpedbring about change."Cory said, "Why do you think that happened?""I think a lot of it had to do with the kind of peer pressure that can exit in a company.

  "What happens in most organizations you've been in when a change is announced by topmanagement? Do most people say the change is a great idea or a bad idea?""A bad idea," Frank answered.

   "Yes," Michael agreed "Why?"Carlos said, "Because people want things to stay the same and they think the change will be bad forthem. When one smart person says the change is a bad idea, the others say the same.""Yes, they may not really feel that way," Michael said, "but they agree in order to look smart aswell. That's the sort of peer pressure that fights change in any organization."Becky added, "In families, the same thing can happen between parents and children." Then sheasked, "So how wee things different for you after people heard the Cheese story?"Michael said simply, "People changed because no one wanted to look like Hem!"Everyone laughed including Nathan, who said, "That's a good point. No one in family would want tolook like Hem. They might even change. Why didn't you tell us this story at our last reunion?

  They could really work."Michael offered one last thought. "When we saw how well it worked for us, we passed the storyalong to people we wanted to do business with ? knowing their organizations were also dealing withchange. We suggested we might be their 'New Cheese', that is, better partners for them to succeedwith. It led to new business."That gave Jessica several ideas and reminded her that she has some early sales calls in the morning.

  She looked at her watch and said, "Well, it's time for me to leave this Cheese Station and find someNew Cheese."The group laughed and began saying their good-byes. Many of them wanted to continue theconversation but needed to leave. As they left, they thanked Michael again.

  He said, "I'm very glad you found the story so useful and I hope that you will have the opportunity toshare it soon with others."


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