FELIX THE FLYING FROG – A Parable about Transformation
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 rich.
“Felix!” he said one day, hit by sudden inspiration, “We’re going to be
rich! I will teach you to fly!”
Felix, of course, was terrified at the prospect. “I can’t fly, you twit!
I’m a frog, not a canary!” Clarence, disappointed at the initial
response, told Felix: “That negative attitude of yours could be a real
problem. I’m sending you to class.”
So Felix went to a three-day course and learned about problem solving,
time management, and effective communication — but nothing about
flying. On the first day of the “flying lessons,” Clarence could barely
control his excitement (and Felix could barely control his bladder).
Clarence explained that their apartment building had 15 floors, and each
day Felix would jump out of a window, starting with the first floor and
eventually getting to the top floor.
After each jump, Felix would analyze how well he flew, isolate 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 his pleas fell on deaf ears. “He just
doesn’t understand how important this is,” thought Clarence. “He can’t
see the big picture.”
So, with that, Clarence opened the window and threw Felix out. He landed
with a thud.
The next day, poised for his second flying lesson, Felix again begged
not to be thrown out of the window. Clarence opened his pocket guide to
“Managing More Effectively,” and showed Felix the part about how one
must always expect resistance when introducing new, innovative programs.
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 favourable. But Clarence was ready for
him: He produced a timeline and pointed to the third Milestone and
asked. “You don’t want to slip up the schedule, do you?”
From his training, Felix knew that not jumping today would only mean
that he would have to jump TWICE tomorrow. So he just muttered, “OK,
yee-haw, 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 legs madly in a vain attempt at flying. On the sixth
day, he tied a small red cape around his neck and tried to think
It didn’t help.
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 for
him. With that, Felix said quietly, “Shut up and open the window,” and
he leaped out, taking careful aim at 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
objective that he had set out to accomplish. Felix had not only failed
to fly, he hadn’t even learned to steer his fall as he dropped like a
sack of cement, nor had he heeded Clarence’s advice to “Fall smarter,
The only thing left for Clarence to do was to analyse 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!”