Revisiting: Who Moved My Cheese? Most of us are familiar with Dr. Spencer Johnson’s 1998 parable Who moved my cheese?. The book was written to provide career guidance to people in changing work settings. Today, those lessons apply just as much, if not more, to business leaders than to their past and present employees.
Remembering typewriter repairmen I go back to myself as I remember the painful times when we needed to call IBM service technicians to fix our Selectric and Executive typewriters. Those urgent service calls were costly and too frequent for our old team. Speaking of workhorses, typewriter repairmen are now outnumbered by blacksmiths. Fortunately for IBM, they have historically been able to find new cheese in new places. Both IBM and I have moved beyond typewriters. I’m composing this in my lenovo ThinkPad. Big Blue’s nameplate is conspicuous by its absence when they cashed in and exited the commodity PC market.
IBM is one of 71 companies left from the original Fortune 500 from 1955. Of those 71, most are in different businesses now. This means that 429 corporate giants have disappeared from the list. The pace of change continues to accelerate. how are business answering to the challenges of rapid change?
The Responders Playing with pats is no longer an option. To help you in your thinking, I share this variety of cheese quest approaches I’ve seen. These companies have found new ways to use their core competencies or have developed new competencies to meet the demands of emerging or changing markets.
- A manufacturer that previously produced ink for the printing industry has developed new specialty toners for inkjet and laser printers.
- An architectural firm is carrying out more small residential restoration and remodeling projects to overcome the lull in new buildings.
- The owner of a General Motors automobile mall responded effectively by acquiring three foreign automobile franchises.
- A Chrysler dealership left the franchise to sell and repair more affordable used cars that its customers keep.
- A mechanical engineering company whose phones suddenly stopped ringing hired us to help them implement a proactive sales process that has rebuilt their customer base.
- A residential remodeling services company is working with us to develop a marketing campaign aimed at institutional projects and associations with financed budgets.
Reinvention and innovation: What’s in it for you? If a giant like IBM can evolve, why can’t you? Is it time for your organization to discover new opportunities? Maybe we can get some insight from The best.
I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. -Wayne Gretzky
If your organization is having a hard time figuring out where your drive will be, my advice is to do it quickly. We keep learning that the one who doubts is lost as…
It is not the big one that eats the little one. It is the fast that eats the slow.
What new opportunities are out of your box? So is it time you did a better job of think beyond? Innovation author Adam Hartung makes a semantic distinction in This concept. Adam advises instead first step out of your box. So he thinks. But it is not so easy. Look no further than the 86% of the original Fortune 500 that have fallen off the list. Keeping the status quo didn’t work for them.
A Word From Our Sponsor If the daily minutiae of running a more efficient organization or a lack of creative juices are keeping you from thinking strategically, help is available. It has been said that trying to do strategic thinking on your own is like a dentist trying to drill his own tooth. Or maybe it’s like the self-represented lawyer who has a fool for a client. So I recommend getting an outside perspective when forming your strategy. Help customers discover new cheese is ours bread and butter.