Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Who Moved My Cheddar? The Psychology of Financial Self Awareness

Before you can bring your team together in a common goal of profit, it’s essential that you become self-aware of your own current financial assumptions. The best teachers speak from an inner knowing- not from books or here say, but from the doing and failing that defines all the best lessons and the best laid plans. Think about it – when you bring your team together to discuss how to increase monthly revenue, what you’re actually asking is that they CHANGE. Change their behavior, in order to change their level of productivity, in order to change everyone’s level of profit. CHANGE assumes they must give something up, in order to take on something new.

The message in ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Dr. Spencer Johnson, is that if your team can come to see the change you’re asking from them, it is actually a blessing, but only if they come to realize the role that ‘cheese’, or in this case cheddar ($) plays in their lives. In this parable, there are four beings in a maze: two mice named Sniff and Scurry. And two little people named Hem and Haw. Sniff and Scurry are not big thinkers, they just want cheese and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Hem and Haw, on the other hand, have an entirely different relationship with cheese. It’s not just food for them- it’s their entire self image! Their entire lives and belief systems are built around all the cheese they’ve found, eaten, hidden, and hoarded. Readers of this parable can ascribe any part of life to cheese – jobs, relationships, kids whatever. But what if it is actually cheddar -($) Mula, bling, cash, bank, profit?

We have to be alert to changes in our cheddar ($), and be prepared to go running off in search of new sources of it when our original sources runs out. And conversely, be prepared to dig in and stay put when a cheddar ($) source runs deep and rich. After consulting with business managers Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw for many years, I’ve found the following list of biggest myths to have infected every industry, every age group, education level, success level, in every region in the U.S.:

· Having more cheddar ($) will make me more happy.
· Only small amounts of cheddar ($) stinks with age. Large quantities have a longer shelf life, therefore I don’t need to check/manage it that often.
· Finding more cheddar ($) depends on how well I can drag my old cheddar ($) along with me. I need a bigger purse!
· Fear of never having enough cheddar ($) is my best motivator.
· I really don’t have time to enjoy any of my cheddar ($). If I did take the time, it might distract me from my hunt for more cheddar ($).
· I should look for cheddar ($) only in my maze.
· However I found this cheddar ($) is the best way to find my next cheddar ($).

If you’ve fallen victim to any of these dangerous cheddar ($) myths, slow down and taste the gouda ($)! Reflect on what perspective might actually be the best motivator to your team, and develop a meeting around that. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but risk and honesty usually are when it comes to financial self-awareness. Good luck.

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