What Does Choking the Alligator Mean?

Learn what ‘choking the alligator’ means and how it can help in overcoming challenges and achieving success. Find out the origins of the phrase, examples of its application, and statistics on proactive problem-solving.

The Origins of the Phrase

The expression ‘choking the alligator’ is often used in discussions about managing workloads or overcoming challenges. It refers to tackling a problem head-on, usually in a quick and forceful manner. The imagery of an alligator evokes a sense of danger and urgency, requiring immediate action to prevent harm.

Examples of Choking the Alligator

Imagine a business facing a financial crisis. The CEO decides to ‘choke the alligator’ by cutting costs, renegotiating contracts, and seeking new markets. This proactive approach helps the company survive the crisis and emerge stronger.

Case Studies

One famous example of ‘choking the alligator’ is Apple’s turnaround in the late 1990s. Facing near bankruptcy, Steve Jobs returned to the company and made bold decisions to streamline product lines, focus on innovation, and revamp marketing efforts. This aggressive strategy saved Apple from collapse and transformed it into a tech giant.

Statistics on Proactive Problem-Solving

A study by Harvard Business Review found that companies that adopt a proactive problem-solving approach are more likely to thrive in challenging environments. These organizations invest in innovation, empower employees to take risks, and prioritize agility in decision-making.


‘Choking the alligator’ is not just a catchy phrase—it represents a mindset of resilience, agility, and bold action. Whether in business, personal life, or any endeavor, facing challenges head-on and taking decisive steps is key to success.

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