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"Thursday Thinking"

©2019 by Weaving Futures. 

  • Carolyn Stuart

Are you Boiling Frogs?

Updated: Sep 5, 2019

Recently we acquired a new internet provider. Ironically, I hadn’t gone looking for one, what I had actually done was gone to the website whatsmynumber? and discovered that by switching power and gas companies we could make substantial savings on what we were currently paying for energy. So why not I thought? As I switched our gas across to Nova the help desk agent asked if I was interested in looking at their fibre connectivity deal. Once again I thought why not? So we looked at their fibre connection offer, compared it to our current provider and what else was on offer and lo and behold we now have a trifecta (electricity, gas and internet) of new utility suppliers!

The Nova modem arrived and I connected it up. I logged in to change our SSID to a cool wifi name (believe me when your grown up children have the wifi names ‘Pretty Fly for a WiFi’ and ‘Dora the internet explorer’ you HAVE to have a cool wifi name as well - not that I am competitive mind…) but unfortunately Nova have yet to enable this functionality for their customers and so I ended up having to call the helpdesk.

During the course of my conversation with the Nova help desk agent I began to tell him about our very long and painful experience with our previous internet provider - how we’d had to restart our modem once or twice a day because it was only capable of having six devices attached to it at any one time and the only way to connect a different device was to restart it; how it kicked devices off randomly, and how I’d spent hours with the previous company’s help desk agents trying to fix a problem that as it turned out was unfixable etc etc.

“So why did you put up with it for so long?” asked the Nova help desk agent. His question stopped me in my tracks. Why indeed? Long after my wifi name had been changed to “No More Mr WIfi’ (Cool eh?) I continued to ponder his question. Why indeed had I put up with a dreadful wifi experience for so long. Some of the reasons I came up with were:

  • I didn’t know what the process was to change internet providers

  • Whenever I reached the end of my tether about the wifi dropping it was easier to call the helpdesk than to figure out how to get a new provider

  • The problem became worse when we had visitors (more people trying to get on the wifi) and with visitors I was always busy looking after them rather than thinking about how to fix the wifi (apart from restarting the modem ad nauseum)

  • I was loyal to the internet provider - they were the first to connect us to the internet

In summary, the reason why I put up with dysfunctional wifi for so long was that I perceived that the process to change would be harder than managing the current reality. And after a week of “No More Mr Wifi” I have to admit I could not have been more wrong.

Our dysfunctional wifi was a ‘Boiling Frog’ - remember the ‘Boiling Frog’ theory we were taught in school - that if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out but if you put it in tepid water and slowly increase the heat it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. (As I was writing this post I did a little research on Wikipedia and it turns out that it is a fable because ‘thermoregulation is a fundamentally necessary survival strategy”)... but not to let a myth get in the way of good analogy here is my question:

"What are your boiling frogs?"

What are the things that really annoy you, but you put up with them because the effort to change them feels far larger than managing the problem.

A boiling frog might be the colleague who always leaves dirty coffee cups on the table for others to put away, or the person in the meeting who continuously interrupts and cuts across others. A boiling frog might be the weekly meeting that is more about gossip than productivity, or the ‘boys will be boys’ type behaviour that is still common in many workplaces. A boiling frog might be seeing a colleague being bullied or picked on but choosing not to do anything about it for fear that it will come back at you negatively.

A boiling frog is anything at all that is getting under you skin, or is counter to what an organisation stands for, but that people choose to ignore or put up with, rather than address.

“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept” ~ David Hurley

What is it that you are choosing to ‘walk past’? What might you do that would make a difference not only to your life but to the experience of others. Sometimes making the effort is worth the effort.

Good luck chasing down your ‘Boiling Frogs’ this week you’ll be glad you did.

Till next time,


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