Sunday, June 10, 2012


Change Management
A Teaching Story - Slow Death

I once read a teaching story called "Slow Death" which encapsulates the art of change management. 

Here is the story for you to read...

If you try to place a frog in a pot of boiling water the frog will immediately try to scramble out.

Now try this.

Gently place the frog in a pot of water which is at normal room temperature and don’t scare him.

The frog will stay put and remain in the water.

Now place the pot of water with the frog on a stove on a very slow fire so that the temperature of the water starts changing very very gradually so it’s hardly discernible.

You may observe something very interesting happening.

As the temperature rises slowly the frog will do nothing.

At first, the frog may show every sign of enjoying himself.

As the temperature gradually increases, the frog will start becoming groggier and groggier until he is unable to climb out of the pot.

Though there is nothing restraining him, the frog will sit there and peacefully boil to death in the water.


Because the frog’s internal apparatus for sensing threats to survival is geared up to react to sudden changes in his environment, not to slow, gradual change.

It’s the same with us, isn’t it?  

This story about boiling a frog is generally narrated to illustrate the concept that change management must be a slow gradual process.  

It tells us that the essence of change management is that you must bring in the change so slowly, gradually and seamlessly that the change is almost imperceptible. 

But there is a much more interesting inference from this story. 

Conventional wisdom says that one learns from experience. 

But this story debunks this theory and in fact highlights that the fact that the concept of learning from experience is in fact a delusion, a fallacy, and in some cases, relying too much on learning from experience may make you complacent.

In fact, sometimes it is better to "empty your cup" and start afresh. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like all the stories from my anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL - stories about relationships, comprising 27 short stories. 
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Lost and Found said...

So true! I actually practice this myself. Very nice Vikramji!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Lost and Found,
Hey, do you practice this on others or on yourself?
Try it at work (or at home).
PS - I hope you don't boil frogs...LOL

Lost and Found said...

On myself ofcourse :) will definitely try. And as intriguing as it sounds, I haven't tried boiling a frog...yet :P