What the What?
Written By: Randy Smith
A friend has a young, preschool-age grandson, who, when things don't go as expected, uses the phrase, "What the what?". He then follows it with, "at least I didn't say hell."
Strong organizations, like Med One, are constantly monitoring the business climate so they can grow and change to meet the needs of the industry and look for additional, related opportunities. It can sometimes be difficult for employees and staff to adjust to the changes. Some are caught off guard and, if not said verbally, often think, "What the what?"
Some time ago, I read a short, easy to read book titled “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr. Spencer Johnson.
The book features four characters, mice named Sniff and Scurry, and little people named Hem and Haw that live in a maze. The characters all love their specific kinds of cheese. Inside the maze, there is a specific location with lots of cheese. The mice sniff and scurry around until they find the cheese. Hem and Haw follow the existing manuals and documents that lead them to the cheese. Every morning they all return to the location with the cheese. The mice are constantly watching to see if there are changes in the cheese. Hem and Haw are content to enjoy the cheese they have always enjoyed. One day, they all went to the location with the cheese, but it was all gone. The mice immediately set out sniffing out a new location for the cheese. Hem convinced Haw that, if they were patient, the cheese would return.
Every morning, the mice went to the new cheese location, always expecting they would eventually need to find the next spot. Hem and Haw continued to return to the original location of the cheese because that was where it originally was, and of course, the cheese would eventually return.
As time went on, Haw realized the cheese probably wouldn’t return, but Hem was convinced things would return the way they were. Even though he was very nervous about the unknown, Haw decided to set out in search of the cheese. He found that he began to enjoy the search just as much as finding the cheese. Eventually, Haw found the new cheese location and began to measure and watch for changes in the cheese. When the cheese ran out, he went in search of the new cheese.
Haw went back to convince Hem he should come with him to the new cheese location, but Hem refused to believe that the cheese would not return to where it had originally been. He would exclaim, “Who moved my cheese?!!! Disappointed, Haw went on to enjoy the new cheese and visit the new cheese locations when he needed to, but Hem kept going back to what he had been comfortable with and missed the opportunity to enjoy the cheese."Although changes can be scary, they are going to happen whether we want it or not. It is up to us to determine what we are going to do about it."
Pretty much every business follows this same pattern. Change is going to happen, and the "cheese" will be moved. Although changes can be scary, they are going to happen whether we want it or not. It is up to us to determine what we are going to do about it. We can run off like the mice and move with the change, we can watch for changes and move as Haw did, or we can dig in our heels and wait for things to go back to the way they were.
How do we know what to do?
- Constantly watch for changes around you.
- Be willing to measure what you are doing to see if your old practices are continuing to meet the needs of those you work with, your team, the company, customers, etc. These are often measured through metrics.
- When things start to change, be willing to move.
- Look ahead to what is happening in the world around you and make changes before “the cheese” is already gone.
Change is going to happen. There is nothing we can do about it. Either we recognize that we need to move along and even control the change, or we get left behind. Some major businesses have held on to the idea that they were beyond the impact of changes around them. Kodak is one of the best examples of the results of resisting change. They were once one of the largest companies in the country and now no longer exist.
If you are hanging on to old ideals, including processes, policies, practices, or outdated software, you will most likely find yourself left behind while others embrace the new opportunities and capabilities that change brings.
To quote Larry Stevens (Med One President/Chief Executive Officer) during the Med One 2019 National Sales meetings, "Change is not your enemy."
Embrace the opportunities to change, so you are not left exclaiming, "What the what?"