While frog legs may provide a heightened dining experience for some, boiled frogs would not be considered a delicacy in business. The “boiled frog phenomenon” refers to a parable which suggests that if a frog is placed in a pot of boiling water it will react immediately and attempt to jump out. However, if the same frog is placed in a pot of water that is room temperature, it will not react. In fact, the frog will do nothing and become complacent. As the heat is gradually increased the frog will eventually grow weary and boil to death (Senge, 2002).

This concept, when applied to business, mandates that leaders evaluate their level of readiness to react. As a leader – are you nimble? How long does it take for you to make a decision? Are your skills up to date? How marketable are you? All of these considerations and more, should continuously be on the forefront of a leader’s mind. The following tips will help leaders successfully avoid the boiled frog phenomenon in business:

Know the direction of your company. When you are knowledgeable about your company’s strategic plan you are poised with the ability to ascertain whether or not the business seems off track. If the business is off kilter, then perhaps it is time to reassess and recalibrate.

Be aware of your surroundings
Read the handwriting on the wall. The evidence is readily available if you are attentive. Leaders who are unaware of their surroundings and who have fallen into complacency are oftentimes dead in the water. They are blind to signs that are indicative of a much-needed lane shift long before the fatal accident occurs.

Conduct regular environmental scans
Know your organization’s sustainable competitive advantage. Conduct regular evaluations through SWOT analysis to make certain that your organization is well aligned within the marketplace. If you are not operating on fertile soil, take immediate action and adjust accordingly.

In retrospect, it doesn’t matter if you are a corporate business leader or the business owner. The only boiled frogs associated with your business, should be menu related.

Senge, Peter M. (2002). Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Random House Audio


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