Boiled Frogs: Not a Delicacy in Business

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



Have you determined that you or your business has reached a fork in the road? You deduce that you are not situated at a crossroad. Crossroads present the option to continue down the same path. Your condition, however, mandates a change; and a fork in the road depicts forward movement. To incite advancement, you must veer right or left. The fork forces action – so what are you going to do now?

SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis is a strategic planning tool. It is a vital part of the strategic management process which encompasses strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and strategy evaluation. A full SWOT analysis enables an individual or an organization to consider specific internal and external factors in conjunction with charting strategic direction. SWOT examines your internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats. As you plan your ascension, seriously consider taking inventory of the following:

Internal Strengths
What positive attributes do we possess that are critical to reaching the defined destination? How may we leverage these attributes?

Internal Weaknesses
What negative attributes do we possess that could forestall reaching the defined destination? How may we neutralize these attributes?

External Opportunities
What external factors could benefit us and cultivate reaching the defined destination? How may we leverage these factors?

External Threats
What external factors could prevent us from reaching the defined destination? How can we contend with these factors?

Identify a list of at least five factors for each SWOT area of concentration. Once you have established your lists, apply the aforementioned strategic management process to address each of the four areas of SWOT. Focus on and maximize your strengths. Begin to view weaknesses as developmental opportunities and develop them. Become an opportunist and capitalize on the external opportunities by creating a defense plan to guard against external threats. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

It is important to address your dilemma. Doing nothing detains you on the curb of stagnation at the intersection of failure and limited options. Success requires a strategic compass. Since it takes application for knowledge to have power – SWOT are you going to do now?



How often have you heard the phrase, “art imitates life?” How often has art imitated life in your existential environment? Moreover, have you ever manipulated the manifestation of this concept? Truly successful professionals’ live life on purpose and have a pseudo methodical approach to everything. In fact, strategy is a part of their everyday lives. Art imitating life could presumably be summed up for this group of professionals in a single art form, Chess.

The game of Chess requires immense strategic prowess. Think of the Chess board as the office and the game pieces as your colleagues. Each game piece has its own cubicle or office space. Each piece has a title and a job description. They may only operate within the parameters of their intrinsic level of empowerment. For example, the Queen is positioned beside the King or, for the purposes of this article, the CEO. The Queen may move in any direction and in as many spaces as she deems necessary to protect the King. While the King may move in any direction that he deems necessary, he must be more calculative and therefore may only move one space at a time. The object of the game is to capture the King. Once the King is out of commission, the game is over. Thus, all game pieces have a role to play in protecting the mission and strategy of “the business” and the “CEO”.

For those who are not familiar with the game, allow me to present the theory of “art imitating life” in layman’s terms. In the game of Chess, you must know the functionality of each game piece. You need to have a complete understanding of how the game is played. You also must know your own winning strategy and be cognizant of your opponent’s game plan. Continually remove the emphasis on yourself, in order to look at the big picture. Anticipate the opponent’s moves and prepare for his or her response to yours. In this imitation of live, if you are not strategic, you will find yourself in check mate – game over.