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  • Where are the Who Moved My Cheese People?

You know how we generally refer to the knowing-doing gap mostly in reference to how we respond to learning challenges or data?

We contend that even though we are currently facing some unbelievable challenges and uncertainty, we are better prepared than we might think to bravely face these unprecedented times.

“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”

― Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?

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In a recent interview, we were talking about change with Vernon Wright, @thewrightleader, and our good friend joked, “Where are all the who moved my cheese folks now?”

Who Moved My Cheese? is an extremely popular parable from Spencer Johnson that surfaces profound truths and a pathway for dealing with the uncertainties of change.

The goal of Who Moved My Cheese? is very clearly to help us to better anticipate, recognize, and embrace the changes we face in order to lead a more positive life and more confidently pursue our dreams.

It would be all so easy if you had a map to the Maze.

If the same old routines worked.

If they’d just stop moving “The Cheese.”

But things keep changing…

Vernon got on a roll and offered us some further cheese.

Here’s the interview:

Principals’ Seminar: Vernon, we love the book’s premise that old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese and especially, “He knew that when you change what you believe you change what you do.” How might you communicate this to the leaders you work with?

The Wright Leader: This isn’t all that difficult for us to take in. Just like the phones, tablets, and other devices we use daily, we must keep our operating systems updated. New levels require new ideas and new paradigms. It’s time for a software update.

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Principals’ Seminar: How would you respond to those who’ve become very attached to the way they’ve always done things? Their old cheese?

The Wright Leader: (Big smile!) There’s new cheese being made every day. There are new flavors, new varieties, and in many cases, it’s even better cheese than you’ve experienced before. ‘Level up’ your cheese. It’s time for Cheese 2.0.

Principals’ Seminar: All personal learning and leadership mindsets eventually have a collision with reality, right? So how might you cushion the anxiety that might accompany new cheese?

The Wright Leader: I think we need to have that discussion. It’s easier to deal with it if we own it. The change some may see as a source of anxiety is the very change that will propel them to the next level. That sense of anxiety is the gatekeeper between the status quo and true innovation. And sometimes you just have to step ahead. Like Bob Marley said, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

Principals’ Seminar: You are talking about individuals here. How might we help organizations embrace new cheese? Like seriously, aren’t there a lot of mission statements, vision statements and 5 year plans that might need to be kicked to the curb? Haven’t these new realities really exposed what we need to value as schools and districts?

The Wright Leader: The way I see it is that we still need to start with individuals. True organizational change and that of culture change start with each individual. Leaders have a great opportunity to help those they lead to see the cheese with new lenses. Those lenses allow each individual to see the convergence of what is of value in their own lives and what is of value to the organization. The two perspectives do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Principals’ Seminar: Hey, who moved my cheese folks and all those with leadership training, this is what you’ve been training for. We need you.

The Wright Leader: These are your Olympics!

Leaders have a great opportunity to help those they lead to see the cheese with new lenses. Who Moved My Cheese, An Interview with Vernon Wright and the Principals' Seminar.

Aubrey Patterson


I coach school and district leaders to create information peace of mind, so they can lead, teachers can teach, and students can learn.

  • One of the toughest parts about change right now is the lack of communication. Like, we’re okay with change, but we’re not okay not knowing what’s happening.

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