Common Grounds: Threefold Cord to Address Product Adversity

May 12, 2014

Greatness in leadership comes from greatness overcoming obstacles. Every great leader lives through tenuous situations. As an executive, director, manager, you will have times in your product and service lines of inception, development, maturity and decline. Lead though these four with tenacity and focus. Each brings challenge. Meet them and beat them. Become stronger with each obstacle overcome.

Our management model of the Thrive Pyramid includes sides of Focus, Responsibility, and Thrive. Thrive is an attitude. Responsibility is a mandate. Focus is a direction. They are like a rope made of three cords. A rope of one string will break easily. A braided rope of three strings has synergistic strength under stress. The threefold cord of Focus, Responsibility, and Thrive works united to advance where we need to go. Under adverse circumstance combined strength encourages us to hold the line and develop with determination. Slipping backwards is not an option.

Examine your product and services lines against the four phases. Cultivate and reap a good harvest. Use each strand of the cord to move forward and maintain productivity.

“Adversity is the fertilizer of my future.”  Phil Larson

Inception: During this phase fear requires focus. You’ve done your homework on a new product offering, decided on support equipment, supplies, training, and people to assign. Your budget is approved and activated against demand and revenue not just expense. Energy comes from the excitement of the new. Thrive is in your heart. Customers are holding you responsible on a timeline.

Adversity can come from failure to launch. Don’t get embroiled in analysis. At some point you Inception   Maturity   Developmentmust use your intuitive sense of when to “cut and run”. Keep a strong sense of urgency.

Development: Once the product line is readied and orders are being filled, excitement rules.  This is an easy time as energy flows from daily operation. Focus will keep your product moving in an orderly manner. Make sure you don’t allow the excitement to get you off track from your plan. Make adjustments according to new discoveries of demand cycles and volumes and remember your plan. People are tiring because the inception required so much energy. Surprise everyone with lots of specific encouragement and bolster morale with celebrations of progress toward goal. Keep cultivating.

Adversity can come from distractions from other projects. It takes strong focus to ensure a product line develops balanced in sales, marketing, and operations and gives right return on efforts.

Maturity:  Product is experiencing regular order cycles and volumes. In fact, it is mundane. It is producing without effort. Each staff member has mastered their portion and process handoffs are smooth and consistent. Watch for attitude drift. Apathy can kill a good product and destroy quality for which your customers will hold you responsible. The threefold cord has to stay tight.

Adversity can come from attention deficit. Put attention on the product when everyone is ignoring. Don’t let it sour.

Decline: Every product has adverse moments of declining demand. It either needs to be less a portion of the full product line or eliminated or rejuvenated with modifications that bring it back to productive life. That means it enters inception phase again. You cannot leave a product line in this phase. Move it quickly into inception or back into development or eliminate. Be quick.

Adversity can come from loss of priority action. No one likes to beat a dead horse. Get it back to life. Get it into an acceptable phase. This is a not a phase as much as a disease.

Summary: You and your team must meet each adversity with decisive focus, responsible action, and thriving attitude. Every time you do this, you tighten the cords of your rope and make it stronger and stronger. Adversity met with right attention becomes wisdom for the next challenge.

Next blog will emphasize a different feature of high performance teams. Your customers deserve it.


COMMON GROUNDS: These tidbits come out of daily consternations, comments, and concerns of real managers doing what needs done. Executives gain insight.


This article focuses on the three sides of the operational pyramid.

Let’s talk: Phil Larson or Shepherd Consulting OK

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