Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you a Cheese Lover?

By Michael Vogt, CGCS

I believe the best selling book Who Moved My Cheese? to be one of the great books to identify with the new normal we are now experiencing in the golf business today. The book is a quick read and really illustrates with a magnifying glass what’s happening in our economy and our lives today.
The analogies of Sniff and Scurry the two mice that just blindly went after new cheese the moment they discovered their supply was gone begins the story. The story also has two little people, Hem and Haw (we all know that people have reasoning power far superior to mice). When the warehouse full of cheese was empty Hem and Haw (with their reasoning power) deliberated, got angry and generally didn’t want to believe their cheese stockpile had been depleted. Initially reluctant to change, after a long wait, Haw acknowledged that new cheese would not be forthcoming. Hem would not accept the fact that someone would not replenish the cheese and refused to look for more cheese, blaming, criticizing and waiting. Hem remain resolute and saying that he always liked the comfort of the cheese station the way it was and it will return to normal with abundant cheese varieties that he grew to love, someday soon.

Haw left behind Hem and started out in the vast maze looking for more cheese. As Haw moved though the maze looking for cheese he wrote on the wall of the maze some teachable facts:

“The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it.”
“If you do not change you become extinct.”
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
“Smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old.”
“Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.”
“When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.”
“Imagining myself enjoying new cheese even before I find it, leads me to it.”
“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”
“It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.”
“Old beliefs do lead you to new cheese.”
“When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course.”
“Noticing small changes early helps you to adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.”

Business is like cheese! I look at our industry, the business of golf, as one not unlike the story of these two mice and two little people. There are those that embrace the fact that someone will replenish the cheese supply if we just wait, things will get back to normal. Then there are the people that will seek out the new supplies of cheese. Looking for new cheese is not easy, but a more bountiful stash of cheese may be your reward.

If you’re wondering what happened in the end, Hem joined his two mouse friends at a new pile of cheese though much searching and determination. Haw finally saw the writing on the wall and followed Hem’s trail through the maze to the new and delicious stash of cheese. And finally we leave these cheese eaters feasting on cheese but secure in the knowledge that we need to smell and be aware of changing cheese conditions because when the cheese starts changing it is a call to look for replacement cheese.

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