There’s an old anecdote about a frog and boiling water, stating the frog will jump out if put in boiling water, but stay and eventually die if placed in the water while cold and slowly heated, as the frog will not see the danger

I’ve used this story many times to illustrate the danger of being (too) comfortable with what your doing and thus not seeing the world change around you – if you feel your company has a strong competitive position, you might get overconfident and not pay the necessary attention to what the competitors are doing – and how the world around you is evolving

(scientists have later proven the anecdote to be false – the frog will jump up from the boiling water when it gets too hot :)

While the anecdote being false is good news for the frogs of the world, the afterthought of the story still holds true – it’s a serious risk that market-leading companies are being overconfident in what they’re doing and in their market position so they do not see the competition coming

That’s one of the reasons disruption happens

Companies are fighting daily to keep competitive, to keep cost-effective and to keep customer and employee satisfaction as high as possible – and when a certain satisfactory position has been achieved, they relax a little

It’s very human and fully understandable – after a job well done, you’ll want to relax and enjoy the success – just think about yourself; I’m sure you often think in the lines of “when this project is done, I can relax for a while”

‘When this is over’ never happens

Unfortunately, this is no longer possible – there is no ‘when this is over…’ anymore

You have to change your mindset to the fact that our business world is ever-changing, ever-evolving and constantly on the move – project are never done, they just reach a state of readiness for launch and then they need to be adjusted for the market conditions right away again

(which is why I swear to agile business development – check out some amazing reads in my resource section here)

What it means for you and your company is that you constantly have to monitor what's going on around you in your industry, amongst your competitors and even more important, in related industries and outside your home turf

Revisiting the old masters

It's actually not difficult to do this regularly - yes, it takes time, but it's something you have to do for the sake of your company's survival (seriously)

The simplest and fastest way to create a framework for this market and competitor monitoring is to use the Two Great Tools; the SWOT analysis and Porter's Five Forces

Re-read about how to use the tools and make it a monthly habit to do this with your team - it's important, though, that you every time start with a blank piece of paper and not just looking at what you did last month 

Looking at your old work will not allow you to critically question the industry, company and competitor development which is the number one reason for doing this!

Based on your findings you'll be able to see if you're still as great as you think you are(!) and identify areas where you need to change or improve in order to keep the cutting edge you've been working so hard to achieve - sometimes it's minor adjustments and sometimes you really have to redefine what you're doing

But if not... you'll die as the water starts to boil ;)

Good luck!