Who Moved My Cheese By Spencer JOHNSON

Who moved my cheese?


A short comment for a little book. It reads in an hour. Tops.

Little but useful.

Not useful because you will discover many new things; you should not learn great lessons in its pages. Rather, you should come to realize during your reading that this book is about you. Me. Any of us.

By telling the story of 2 mice and 2 little people who live in a maze and whose ultimate goal is to find Cheese in order to be fulfilled (literally for the mice and even figuratively for the little people), Dr Johnson shows us how we think and reacts. How we sniff change, how we rush to adopt it, how we complain and freeze because of it, how we consciously can adapt over time.

The story told before and after the parable of mice and little people tends to show that all of us are one of the mice or of the little people. But I think we are all 4 of them. It all depends on the situation. What is clear is that we, as humans, have a tendency to overthink and overcomplicate issues. But we can use our brains to adapt to change smartly.

Because what the parable shows is that nobody is entitled to any thing for ever and that change is bound to happen.

The lesson we all need to take from this is that since change will happen you need to anticipate it, monitor it and adapt to it quickly. To really change you have to enjoy changing by picturing yourself changing and always be ready for this never-ending cycle.

Lessons for work, of course: it’s hopeless to expect your work will forever be the same, even if you work in national railways…

But it also applies to your personal life: you won’t probably be good at raising your kids if you don’t change over time: your interaction with them should be different whether they are 2 or 25 years old!

And I believe it applies to us as a whole, as a society: I believe it is useless to resist the winds of change, whether about new technology and AI or to the flow of refugees who knock at the door of Europe…

Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan

By Cyril OGEE

This books provides an incredible method to executives on how to use groups or circles of employees – called corporate tribes – for maximizing productivity and profit. It is based on a 10-year long rigorous research study.

Sheryl Sandberg leadership quote

Have you heard of: Sheryl SANDBERG, Indra NOOYI, Elon MUSK, Satya NADELLA, Meg WHITMAN, Tony HSIEH, Richard BRANSON, Anne MULCAHY, Howard SCHULTZ, Larry PAGE, Jack MA, Jeff BEZOS, Kazuo INAMORI… They are a benchmark to many business leaders worldwide.

Their management method is often based on connecting people and establishing a strong culture in the company.

Besides, these leaders have a vision, a goal to achieve with a commitment to change the world. For instance, Elon MUSK says he will help Mankind’s survival through establishing the 1st human colony on planet Mars by 2030! All activities and strategy run by his companies are thriving toward this outstanding objective. Most of the employees who don’t share this vision have left the company because they were simply not part of the tribe.

Elon Musk quote

What is a tribe? We all are members of one or several tribes actually. A tribe is a group with 20 to 100 or even 150 people maximum. They share the same culture and know each other well enough to stop and start chatting as and when they meet outside the company. The culture of a tribe is determined by language, relationships and interactions between members. So as to improve the culture of a tribe, great leaders will have an influence on the language used by member. Let’s take the example of the culture of ZAPPOS. It is based on delivering happiness to customers, having fun, being different and wild. Someone not feeling comfortable in that environment would not be part of the tribe and the firm would give them $ 4000 to leave the company!

Zappos philisophy by Tony HSIEH

The reason behind this offer is the fact the person would cost much more should they stay, because they are not in line with other members and they are affecting the efficiency and results of the group. But tribes are not all the same. They can be at different stages. What makes a tribe more effective than others is its culture for sure. A survey submitted to 24 000 people from many organizations allowed the 3 authors of that book to categorize the kind of tribes and their stage, by listening to the people and the way they speak. The words they use give a clear picture of the tribe’s degree of maturity. Culture is a combination of people’s language people and behaviors. The words used define the tribe people are part of.

Stages : Five major stages are categorized. The leaders’ job is mainly to help their teams progress from one stage to the next one. Stage 1: This stage is very scarce with only 2% of tribes. The tribes falling into this stage can either be in jail (like for the “Orange is the new black” TV Series) or form gangs ruled by violence (like for the “Breaking bad”TV Series). People are desperately hostile, steal the company assets, and may even threaten with violence. ‘Life Sucks’ is what they say. Most people would do whatever it takes to survive. Actually, in a work environment, tribes falling under this stage are rare. Stage 2: This stage represents the current situation of one tribe out of 4 at work, which is quite huge actually. People say ‘My Life Sucks’ and are strongly resistant to new initiatives. They work as little as they can and are aggressive. Stage 3: Almost half of the people evolving in a work environment are at this stage! People seem to be very motivated but they talk mostly about themselves. People at this stage complain that people around them are not as competent or as committed as they are. Even if they say they care for the team’s targets, their actions serve mainly their own interest. It is difficult to build real teams as members usually form a two-person relationship and rarely share information. ‘I’m Great (and you’re not)’ is what they say: winning is all that matters, and winning is personal. Stage 4: “I’m great” becomes “We’re great” and tribe members are excited to work together. Teams are focused on a common purpose and work for the benefit of the entire company. The organization really becomes efficient at this stage. The language focuses on “we,” not “me”. Information flows throughout the group. People’s relationships are built on shared values. Stage 5: Last but not least, this stage is the greatest of all. But it accounts for only 2% of workplace tribes. It is thus very rare to meet such a tribe. In this kind of tribes, team members are on a mission to change history and convey in their talking, that having a global impact on the world is their priority. In these tribes people can find a way to work with almost everyone, provided their commitment to values is as intense as their own. There is almost no fear, stress, or workplace conflict. This stage is generally when people shine and say “Life’s great!”. When you are at the final stage, you ask yourself: what impact on the world does my tribe have? Will my tribe change the world? In order to go from stage 4 to 5, people really need to have gone through stage 3 before to be ready for genuine partnerships. Understanding the interest of connecting with another stage 3 tribe member (“dyads” or series of one-to-one relationships) they are then able to gather in triads.

Tribal Leadership Dave LOGAN

Tribal Leadership Dave LOGAN

Conclusion : As I completed the reading of “tribal Leadership” I was amazed by the findings of this book. I understood how I could build a better organization, where great people want to work and make an impact, not only as professionals, but as members of an organization they are proud of. Organizations can only deliver outstanding results by shifting their members focus from individual success to collective goals and a culture with shared values and a transformative impact. The goal of Tribal Leadership is to learn how to get these people to change language and behaviors, so they can be less stressful and have more fun, which brings of course higher-performance results! Tribal Leadership is not about gaining knowledge but about changing language and relationships. Thus, great tribal leaders focus their efforts on improving the tribal culture; they spend time to connect people and guide members through each stage. How? By getting them to talk about the things they really care about..

Those who are interested to know more and discover tribal leadership can watch this TEDx video:


The One Minute Manager from Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

The New One Minute Manager by Ken BLANCHARD


I recommend this book to most of the individuals I support into becoming a manager for the first time. And to a big chunk of those who are already experienced. My mistake: I should impose its reading to all of them.

Since it is short and tells a simple story, it can even be read by people who have not opened a book since school. It doesn’t take 90 minutes to read it from cover to cover. And don’t be fooled by its dated early-80’s American flavor; its content is universal and does not get old. Every person who reads it invariably comes to the conclusion that everything in it is pretty obvious, almost too simple, too logical. Not really HBR-glamorous… I couldn’t agree more!

Management is not rocket science. A lot of it is common sense. It must be said, repeatedly.

So let’s apply it! In the world of business the simpler an idea is, the bigger its chances to work.

I have never tried measuring it, but my guess is that not 20% of the managers I meet really apply the principles stated in this book; although they are but 3: one-minute goals, one-minute praising  and one-minute re-direct.

OK it wont make you the best manager of all times.

But apply the rules of it will put you on the path of excellence.

This books tells you how:

  1. to truly empower the people in your team by delegating accountabilities and means, and therefore developing them,
  2. not to fall into the trap of micro-managing,
  3. to become a manager and not a senior expert,
  4. manage your priorities, control your time.

It gives a lesson on the basis of Non-Violent Communication, without naming it so as not to scare you… and gives you ways to cooperate in a manner that generates happiness at work.

For an 112-page-long book written in 1980, that’s not bad.


fish-book Lundin

A boring, repetitive, non-rewarding job just for a living and surrounded by bad mood colleagues, who has not once lived this kind of situation?

Facing this you can adopt two kinds of behavior:

  • resignation “I am happy enough to have a job; I have loans and I’m not sure to find an equivalent salary elsewhere, etc. ”
  • react: ”the job itself I cannot change it but how can I change the way to do it as well as the environment in which it is done?”.

In the book ”FISH”, a collective of authors proposes ways to carry out the reaction mentioned above. Using as an example a fish market the authors encourage us to reflect on a number of themes:

  • I can choose my attitude: being optimistic or pessimistic relies only on me
  • whatever it is, you can always practice your job more or less playfully by being attentive to others and available to exchanges and conviviality etc.

If FISH is not a book of ” recipes ” it gives tracks that allow you to regain control of how you want to live your professional life.

Have you read ‘Our iceberg is melting’ by John KOTTER & Holger RATHGEBER

Here is a short fable (120 pages, illustrations included) that we encourage you all to read.
At AC Mentoring we love fables, because we believe that thousands of years of community history cannot be wrong: fables are a great way to convey important lessons and messages.

Read more