Slowly bring water to the boil with the slippery little amphibian in the water, and the frog, unaware of its pending demise, will slowly meet its death.
But throw the creepy croaker straight in to its tomb with the water already boiling, and it’ll sense danger in an instant and jump straight back out.
Why, you may ask, as a business coaches, would we care about the best way to bring a frog to a grisly end?
For us, the metaphor speaks nothing to our culinary ambitions, but rather our understanding of how some businesses succeed and some fail.
Recently, we’ve watched as a once proud organisation suddenly realised that two consecutive years of loss had meant the business was at a crossroads.
Like the frog, the business had began in a pot of cold water. Spot fires here, minor problems there as the water slowly began to heat up. As the issues with the company began to grow, the metaphorical water began to warm at an alarmingly rate.
But unlike the frog that gets thrown straight in, and thus aware of the danger around it, this business was in denial about the impending crisis around its operations.
What’s even more worrying is that we’ve found businesses that deal with these protracted crises are all similar: they’re in denial and have a short-term focus.
Suffice to say, the water reached boiling point and the organisation was faced with the arduous decision to remain in operations or sell up.
So how do organisations take off the blinkers and make sure they don’t stew themselves to an eventual death?
A constant introspection and acknowledgement of the circumstances that could cause failure is essential. By remaining vigilant, business owners can remain proactive and take decisive action that will benefit operations in the long run.
It might mean developing a product or it might mean entering a new market – or both. It might mean making the tough decision to close the doors and shut up shop.
Regardless of the manifestation, decisive action is essential and due diligence in assessing the circumstances around your business’ success or failure is imperative.
By ensuring you, as the business owner, take an active involvement in your operations, you always remain aware that your pot of tepid water doesn’t become a raging boiling broth of impending demise.