Professional Readings Archives

Reading #162

Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

  • By: Dr. Spencer Johnson /
  • Published: May 24, 2018
  • Read More
  • Access: Open
  • Type: Public
  • Thursday, May 24, 2018

Deputy Director MG Robert “Bo” Dyess’ Comments:

Team,

One of our most important duties is to think clearly about the future armed conflict and the changing character of warfare. Our vision of the future and how we anticipate the character of warfare provides the catalyst for changing our Army. Because accelerating technological change is outpacing our modernization systems and institutions’ ability to develop and field capabilities, our Army – the strength of our Nation – must ensure that it can develop capabilities much faster than in the past. In short, our Army must change to ensure it remains capable of providing foundational capabilities to the Joint Force. The decisions have been made, our Army will change. Army Futures Command (AFC) will achieve Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in July 2018. Change is necessary, but it isn’t easy. General Donn Starry, former TRADOC Commanding General, observed that changing our Army is “problematic under the best of circumstances.” We must now do our best to manage change. Even though decisions have been made there will always be those who resist. Don’t resist the change, embrace it.

This week’s professional reading is “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson. “Who moved my Cheese?” is a story about change and how to manage it when it arrives. The story involves four characters who live in a maze: two mice, Scurry and Sniff, and Hem and Haw, the two “little people.” All is well because they have found their favorite food, cheese, which becomes the center of their lives. Unfortunately, they did not notice that their food source was getting smaller and after arriving one day, they are devastated to learn that their cheese is gone. Scurry and Sniff quickly accept their loss and venture off in search of another cheese source. Hem and Haw built their lives around their cheese and had far more difficulty accepting that someone moved their cheese.

The need to change will remain constant but instead of seeing change as an end, we should view it as the beginning of something new. Otherwise, as Haw wrote on the maze wall, “If you do not change, you can become extinct.” The story is instructive and can help each of us manage change as we adapt to new surroundings, people, processes, procedures, and organizations.

So, whether you're about to retire or take part in the largest Army reorganization since 1973, remember that the quicker you Let go of your old Cheese, the Sooner You'll Find something new.

Continuous feedback, collaboration, and teamwork are keys to the success of the Campaign of Learning and driving innovation in the Army. Please use the Army Warfighting Challenges as the framework to contribute your ideas and recommendations with respect to this topic to improve our ability to innovate as we develop the current and future force.

The Army Warfighting Challenges (AWFC) framework may be accessed here:

For previous weekly readings go to: ARCIC Professional Readings

  1. Army Operating Concept, TRADOC Pam 525-3-1, 30 October 2014
  2. Multi-Domain Battle

All the best,

Bo