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April 2, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

Hey law firms, your cheese is moving!

This past week I read the bestselling book by Spencer Johnson, M.D. entitled “Who Moved My Cheese?”. It is a story about change and how we deal with it.

The book contains a short story following four characters; two mice named Sniff and Scurry along with two little people named Hem and Haw. The four characters travel through a maze everyday looking for cheese (cheese being a metaphor for whatever makes you happy in life).

One day they find what seems to be an unending supply of cheese and therefore stop looking because they think why keep looking if we have everything we need? Of course one day the cheese runs out which is when we find out how the characters deal with this immense change in their circumstances.

We see the two mice immediately react to go look for new cheese. Hem believes he is entitled to cheese and wonders “Who moved my cheese?!” refusing to believe the supply has run dry. He does nothing. Haw at first listens to Hem but eventually determines that he must venture out and find new cheese because this supply has simply gone dry.

There is a takeaway card in the book that provides us with what Haw learns throughout the story and I would like to share that with you. However I would still suggest that you read the story and take some time to reflect on how it applies to your life. The points are as follows:

  • Change Happens – They keep moving the cheese
  • Anticipate Change – get ready for the cheese to move
  • Monitor Change – Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old
  • Adapt to Change Quickly – The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese
  • Change – Move with the cheese
  • Enjoy Change – Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese
  • Be ready to Change quickly and enjoy it again and again – They keep moving the cheese

This book got me thinking about so many different things in my life and my work. One thing I could not get away from was the recent Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference I had attended and how seemingly every session focused on how law firms need to adapt to one change or another.

I had written a post leading up to the conference titled “2012 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference – The times the are a changin’” that hit on a few ways change is affecting the legal industry and in the age of the internet it is becoming more and more important that law firms learn to embrace change if they want to survive.

I would suggest that you read this wonderful book and encourage others in your firm to read it as well. Afterwards you can have a great discussion to determine things like “What is our cheese?” and “How are we making sure that we are ready when our cheese is moved?”.

If you have read the book I would love to hear your thoughts. What is your cheese? Who are you most like in the story; Sniff, Scurry, Hem or Haw? How do you react to change and how can you do it better?

If you have not read the book I hope you will take the time to do so and come back to this post and contribute your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.



  1. andreea iancu / Apr 5 2012 12:35 AM

    Hy Steve,

    I like your post. I am from Romania and I am lawyer in a business law firm. You are right, the cheese is moving and its up to us to move with it. I hope I will find the book to read it.

    So “Keep Moving”.


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