The Frog in the Pot

7 essential keys to self observation:

As mentioned in a previous post, Sears and Amazon taught us to question our environment. It always seems so obvious when observing others, but what about Changes within our own organisations?

Are you familiar with the classic parable about the frog in a pot of boiling water?

As the story goes, thee is a frog is sitting calmly in a cold pot of water. As we increase the temperature gradually, there they stay until their death. With each degree that is increased, the frog adapts, and that new temperature becomes a comfortable reality, right up until the moment that it turns over onto its back, dead, boiled to death.

Cruel, no?

Then why do so many businesses emulate the frog? Especially as the conditions Change in organizations everyday?

The answer is simple: If the frog could step out of the pot and look down on himself, they would see the danger of their predicament, the problem is that he just doesn’t observe.

Do you make this same mistake?

For us like the frog, the exercise of self-observation comes after experiencing great pain. The gradual increase of heat, while being a small pain, does not motivate us to question ourselves until it’s too late. Are you observing yourself, asking how you can Change, or are you the frog who isn’t aware of their surroundings and the peril that lies ahead?

Get out of the pot!

Here are 7 ways to self observe:

  1. Do you have a refreshed and modern vision for a winning future? Is your strategic vision revised annually for the next 5 years? Are you looking to address both current and future competition? Are you fully conscious of the strategic roadblocks ahead and the evolution of your current industry in the marketplace?
  2. Do you powerfully execute this plan? Too often great ideas and strategies fall flat when it comes to execution. The majority of organisations under estimate the resistance they will encounter when trying to implement that Change. Do you have the required resources to get a buy in from your team and translate that vision into concrete results? Does your team share your vision and need to Change? Will they succeed?
  3. Do you have a culture that fosters collaboration and innovation? Would you say that great ideas are communicated effectively in your organization? This is realized by having an Executive team that is attentive and open to the team’s input and leverages the team to create winning solutions. Having Executives that hold the team to incredibly high standards and continuous improvement initiatives will also promote innovation. Are your Continuous Improvement efforts well received by the team? Are they presented and recognized as the keys to a winning future? Or do the conservative voices hold you back?
  4. The vocabulary: Words are more powerful than we can imagine. Which statement more accurately reflects your team’s view, the conservative : “We’ve always done it like this” or progressive outlook “How can we adapt and get better.” A formula may have worked in the past, but is that formula eternally sound, or can it be adapted to Changing times to ensure success? Who speaks loudest in your organization? Innovators or the Negative Leaders? Do complaints dominate creativity?
  5. Efficient use of technology to optimise our time, everyday : Does your company effectively leverage technology? Is your staff trained on the basic tools that take up more than 30% of their day, or are they like so many businesses we see, occupying their time by getting lost in the pollution of emails, text messages, meeting requests and water cooler chit chat that zaps productivity? Does your company have a standard usage protocol that all follow to improve communication? The best and most performant organizations in the world recognize the need to leverage these tools effectively to free up their time and build that culture of innovation and collaboration. Those who do not spend hours in double data entry, overflowing email inboxes and CC email threads that touch every person in the company.
  6. Attract, develop and retain talent : What makes you stand out to the best and brightest candidates out there? Studies show that salary alone is not enough to attract and certainly not to retain great talent. Would you say you offer fertile culture for great talent to grow within your organization? Are you a magnetic Leader that values innovation, collaboration and creativity? With unemployment at historically low levels, the war for great talent has taken new heights. Employees no longer settle for their first job out of university only to find themselves invested in an organization they don’t believe in after 10 years. Employees today, much more in than in the past are willing to quit bad leaders and companies that don’t mesh with their values. Leaders that embrace this change in culture will surely surround themselves with the best and brightest as well as foster growth within their teams.
  7. How do you deal with discomfort? A, B or C?

Based on the statements below, in which category do you fall?

  1. Certain organizations are comfortable. Just like the frog, they say : “Why Change, things are good as they are,” and they eventually end up on their back.
  2. Other organizations are uncomfortable because they are living in pain caused by inaction in the face of past Changes. They realize they need to adapt….and FAST! They have a chance to succeed and need to work hard to develop solutions. It’s hard, but it is necessary.
  3. The most successful organizations are already having experience navigating Change but continue innovating and adapting to the flow of the current. These are going to be the winners of tomorrow because they understand that we never stop needing to grow our game.

A: Those that don’t pay the price of Changing now: Will die a slow death in the rolling boil.


B: Those that pay the cost late: Will have to pay a steep price to change direction for the future.


C: Those that pay the price in advance: Succeed and flow with the tides of Change as opposed to against them.


Speak with a teen, and you learn that growth is never comfortable. They experience pain everywhere, it’s normal as you grow! Your best protection against becoming the frog is the discomfort of Change!


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