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Black Swan Events Don’t Kill Companies; Boiling Frogs Do

Black Swan Events Don’t Kill Companies; Boiling Frogs Do

Last week, I saw an interesting graph about the history and impact of Black Swan events on the financial markets (the infographic is here). Black Swan events are those rare, unexpected events that bring disruption and uncertainty. In case you hadn’t noticed, we are in the middle of one RIGHT now.

Everyone is feeling the pandemic’s commercial and personal impact and the creation of all sorts of opportunities and problems. The only thing that is predictable about black swan events is:

They Do Happen.

The impact of Black Swan events on your company (and your life) is dependent on 

  • how well prepared, organised, and adaptable the company is to deal with and absorb the impacts.
  • the breadth, depth, and duration of the disruption.
  • your teams, ability to clearly understand what is happening and to rapid, high-calibre, commercial decisions.

What I want you to do this week will require a degree of honesty on your part.

As you look at how your company is organised right now, what are the things you have been thinking about for a long time that you wish you had dealt with?

These are the things that are on the ‘someday’ list.

Maybe they made you uncomfortable, you didn’t know how to do them, or you have been too busy on the hamster wheel to attend to them.

Someday you will

· deal with the problematic relationship with your business partner.

· start reporting and scrutinising your margins.

· get control of cash flow and begin to build a financial buffer.

· launch a new product suite to keep up to date with the market.

· build stronger relationships with your customers.

· find time to think about your long-term strategy.

· invest in some personal development and transformation.

· deal with problematic employees.

· invest in systems and automation.

and the list goes on and on.

These are your boiling frogs.

It is said (and I haven’t put the theory to practice) that if you put a frog in a saucepan of water and gradually bring it to a boil, the frog doesn’t become alert to its predicament until it is way too late. 

You know all the boiling frog issues. You’ve probably told someone like me that you would sort them out before declining my services. But you also KNOW that if you had already dealt with them, you would be in a more powerful position to deal with the current reality. 

That is why boiling frogs kill companies.

But the good news is it is never too late to jump out of the pan (now that you’ve realised that is where you are). In fact, this is, for many of you, the perfect time to get this stuff done. You have the time to focus on how you show up, what you actually want and what needs to happen to move to a more resilient, adaptable and performant company structure. 


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