There was once a frog that lived in a well. He was a very contented frog. Each midday, he would peer up to see the sun shining into the well, and each night he would peer out to see the stars in the sky. The water in the well attracted flies and mosquitoes and he had enough to eat and drink and be merry. All in all, life was a blast!
Each day, the frog’s friends would come to the well and invite him to come out of it to enjoy life outside of it. But the frog refused, saying that he was happy where he was. He would chastise his “friends” for creating disharmony within him; and soon these “friends” decided not ignore the frog.
As days passed, there were less and less “friends” coming to see him, but the frog was not bothered.
One day, a bird came to the well and started telling him about the wide-open spaces, the majestic mountains, the vast ocean, and invited the frog to come up. As usual, the frog refused, chastising the bird. But the bird refused to take no for an answer. So, after what seemed to be an eternity of no’s, the bird flew down into the well, picked up the frog on its back and flew out of the well.
For the first time, the frog saw the magnificence of the world outside the well! He took in the fresh air, drank the cool waters from the flowing streams, experienced the moist grass in the early morning, saw the sunrise and sunset for the first time, and took in the majestic view of the ocean. Life, indeed, was much better than it was in the well.
The frog then felt ashamed of himself for chastising his friends, those that came before the bird and invited him out of his comfort zone. He vowed never to return to the well and lived a much richer life outside of it!
Many of us know this story; it is a famous Chinese tale. Yet the story is very much a reflection of many of us who are hunkered down in our own little silo, doing the work demanded of that silo. We fail to see the world outside our cubicle, preferring to eat the flies and mosquitoes that buzzed around us. We never catch the magnificence of sunrise, nor the kaleidoscope of sunset because we are contented in our own little world. And we chastise those who come and welcome us to see the bigger world.
We are the frog, and strategic thinking is the bird. We can function and live in our own little well, but in order to be more effective, become bigger than who we are, we need to take wing on a bird to show us just what we are missing. Strategic thinking affords us all that the bird afforded the frog. There is one difference, though. Our bird will not swoop down and pick us up on its back. We must will ourselves to come out of our well. But when we get there, what a panoramic vista we will see! And what greater impact we can bring both to our life and to our organisation!