FELIX THE FLYING FROG: A PARABLE ABOUT SCHEDULES, CYCLE TIMES, AND
SHAPING NEW BEHAVIORS.
Once upon a time, there lived a man named Clarence who had a pet frog
named Felix. Clarence lived a modestly comfortable existence on what
he earned working at the Wal-Mart, but he always dreamed of being
"Felix!" he exclaimed one day, "We're going to be rich! I'm going to
teach you how to fly!"
Felix, of course, was terrified at the prospect: "I can't fly, you
I'm a frog, not a canary!"
Clarence, disappointed at the initial reaction, told Felix: "That
negative attitude of yours could be a real problem. I'm sending you to
So Felix went to a three day class and learned about problem solving,
time management, and effective communication.... but nothing about
On the first day of "flying lessons", Clarence could barely control
his excitement (and Felix could barely control his bladder). Clarence
explained that their apartment had 15 floors, and each day Felix would
jump out of a window starting with the first floor eventually getting
to the top floor.
After each jump, Felix would analyze how well he flew, isolate on the
most effective flying techniques, and implement the improved process
for the next flight. By the time they reached the top floor, Felix
would surely be able to fly.
Felix pleaded for his life, but it fell on deaf ears. "He just
doesn't understand how important this is..." thought Clarence, "but I
won't let nay-sayers get in my way."
So, with that, Clarence opened the window and threw Felix out (who
landed with a thud).
Next day (poised for his second flying lesson) Felix again begged not
to be thrown out of the window. With that, Clarence opened his pocket
guide to Managing More Effectively and showed Felix the part about how
one must always expect resistance when implementing new programs.
And with that, he threw Felix out the window.(THUD)
On the third day (at the third floor) Felix tried a different ploy:
stalling, he asked for a delay in the "project" until better weather
would make flying conditions more favorable.
But Clarence was ready for him: he produced a timeline and pointed to
the third milestone and asked, "You don't want to slip the schedule do
From his training, Felix knew that not jumping today would mean that
he would have to jump TWICE tomorrow.... so he just said: "OK. Let's
go." And out the window he went.
Now this is not to say that Felix wasn't trying his best. On the
fifth day he flapped his feet madly in a vain attempt to fly. On the
day he tied a small red cape around his neck and tried to think
But try as he might, he couldn't fly.
By the seventh day, Felix (accepting his fate) no longer begged for
mercy.... he simply looked at Clarence and said: "You know you're
killing me, don't you?"
Clarence pointed out that Felix's performance so far had been less
than exemplary, failing to meet any of the milestone goals he had set
With that, Felix said quietly: "Shut up and open the window," and he
leaped out, taking careful aim on the large jagged rock by the corner
of the building.
And Felix went to that great lily pad in the sky.
Clarence was extremely upset, as his project had failed to meet a
single goal that he set out to accomplish. Felix had not only failed
to fly, he didn't even learn how to steer his flight as he fell like a
sack of cement.... nor did he improve his productivity when Clarence
had told him to "Fall smarter, not harder."
The only thing left for Clarence to do was to analyze the process and
try to determine where it had gone wrong.
After much thought, Clarence smiled and said:
"Next time...... I'm getting a smarter frog!"
p.s. Don't you think Clarence should have noticed the frog could