Someone has moved my cheese penguin

Part of my work is all about working alongside people, teams, and whole organisations, to develop resilience and wellbeing. I love it, I love the work, I love the people I meet, I love to see the positive impact, I love to watch people grow through often adverse situations to become stronger, wiser, and kinder. Love isn’t too strong  a word for it either, when I am exploring what is at the ‘best self’ of my clients my questions are all about exposing the passion, the motivation and meaning they find in the work they do. Loving the work I choose means that while I am doing it I am giving it my full attention, and when I am not working I can be 100% absorbed in riding my bike, or growing my garden..or wandering about and nosing in the rockpools on the beaches near to where I live.Sometimes my work requires me to be an ‘anchor’ for people who are experiencing changes at work, occassionally the changes are so overwhelming that they talk of being in a tsunami of competing priorities and expectations, at other times they have gone through the ‘change mangle’ so many times they are experiencing ‘change fatigue’, in these circumstances they don’t need an anchor, they need wings to lift them back to a sense of positive self regard.

Some years ago I read a book I think was called ‘Someone moved my cheese’, this was followed by another which was all about penguins and melting ice caps…they were both about change and the metaphoric messages have now become melded into my brain as the ‘cheese penguin’.

So the first story’s message was…if your cheese has stopped arriving then you had better stop waiting for it to turn up because it isn’t going to, the second book’s message was if your piece of ice is shrinking then you had better shift and find somewhere else to live as…..well you get the idea.  So what if in organisational terms you cheese has stopped being delivered and your ice- platform is shrinking….and you haven’t quite realised it because the change tsunami stops you from seeing this? Well my understanding is that while you are in the thick of it you don’t see the emerging pattern, and unless you take even a small amount of time to step back and see what is playing out, you won’t be able to locate the new cheese source and the big ice flow on which to flourish. This is true for people who work at exec level right down to junior staff, while everybody at every level is caught up and contributing to the tsunami of change then nobody has realised that the cheese penguin has left the building.

Part of our resilience building includes taking that step back, taking a breath, and then behaving with adaptive intelligence. Tomorrow when you are in work, whatever you do, if you are feeling the burden of change then take a moment and look for the pattern in what is happening, when you do that you will catch a sight of the cheese penguin and be able to follow her…she will more than likely be a coach too…I like that…the cheese penguin coach…