Anyone would think that the more reserved and sensitive members of Asda staff would be ruing the day that Spencer Johnson, MD, signed a publishing deal for his latest bestseller “Who Moved My Cheese?,” but the supermarket bosses are keen to stress that, in actual fact, since the firm followed the advice of the US business management guide, everyone is as happy as a cat who got the cream.

The latest staff training policy, from the retailer that seems to have developed an obsession with inspiring management strategies to increase productivity, is the forest jaunt for 100,000 “colleagues” who need to be inculcated with the more favourable of animal characteristics.

Under the guidance of Andy Longclaw, who learnt his art from his American Indian grandfather, demoralised employees are apparently thrilled at the chance to spend one-and-a-half days developing the team-encouraging skills of the chattering geese, appreciation of work importance from the industrious squirrel and skills for goal achievement from the quietly confident beaver.

Even Johnson’s touching (or touched?) mice, at first distraught at the loss of their cheese (it wasn’t where they left it) soon discover techniques to cope with change and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The main message being that if the mice can do it without too much squeaking, so too can supermarket employees.

To be fair, it is probably the more tangible aspects of Asda’s motivational strategy, such as the share scheme, that are keeping employees happy. But then a pleasant forest walk is certainly a more favourable option to shelf stacking or checkout duties. And when morning huddles and stand-up meetings are the other whimsical alternatives to inspire staff motivation, it is little wonder that many are purring their approval.