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They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will leap out right away to escape the danger.

But, if you put a frog in a pot of cool water, and then gradually heat the kettle to a boil, the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.

The frog’s survival instincts are geared towards detecting – and reacting to – sudden changes.

This story, although pretty disturbing, is a reminder that we all must pay attention to even the smallest changes around us.

Notice All Changes, Even the Smallest Ones

If you are a C-level executive, you absolutely MUST pay attention to the disruptors in your industry that have or will seemingly come out of nowhere. We saw it happen to bookstores like Borders that didn’t see Amazon coming, or Blockbuster that didn’t see Netflix taking hold, and all those music sources that were crushed by iTunes. The list goes on and on.

If we are not thinking 12-24 months ahead of where we are today and we allow complacency to settle into our every day, we are no different than the frog who enjoyed the pleasant water that eventually caused his demise.

So, the question is, in our busy days, months and years, how do we find the time to get ahead of this curve instead of behind it? Take a few moments to ask yourself questions like these every week:

  1. What will my industry look like in 1, 2, 3 years?
  2. How has technology changed my business in the last 12-24 months?
  3. How will technology change my business in the next 12-24 months?
  4. How do I manage my current team more effectively? What are their wants and needs?
  5. How do I manage the millennials that are active in the economy and in the workforce today?
  6. What is my marketing and branding strategy as I move forward? How will I distinguish my company from every other company in my space? How will I distinguish my company from those that people view as my competition?

Involve Everyone Around You

It is critical that you take just 20 minutes of executive time every week (minimum!) to reflect and answer these questions with yourself, your team, your board of directors, your mentor, your advisor, your coach.

Why involve so many different people? In order to make the most educated decisions and understand the future course of your business, you need to be open to the thoughts and suggestions of many people.

You spent a lifetime building your business. Your competition is watching every move you make and strategizing how to take your market share and your mind share and, frankly, put you out of business. Don’t let them (or anyone) do that to you. Know how to recognize the rising temperature of the water and choose to stay in it or jump out of it before it is too late. Be in tune with changes happening to you and around you. Preventative action today will prevent your demise tomorrow.

Think BIG!

Jon