Guest Commentary - Dick Cross: Some Frogs Never Die - aftermarketNews

Guest Commentary – Dick Cross: Some Frogs Never Die

The product lifecycle concept hit business in the 1970s with the up-force of an atomic bomb. Bruce Henderson's application of biological reality to competitive commerce - that businesses, like organisms including frogs, proceed from embryos through growth to maturity then age and die - skyrocketed into the stratosphere of "natural law." But today we're seeing more frequent exceptions. Businesses don't follow the inevitability of the cycle. Frogs continually defy the dynamic of biology, leaving others weakening on their lily pads while they spring ahead.

The product lifecycle concept hit business in the 1970s with the up-force of an atomic bomb. Bruce Henderson’s application of biological reality to competitive commerce – that businesses, like organisms including frogs, proceed from embryos through growth to maturity then age and die – skyrocketed into the stratosphere of “natural law.”
 
But today we’re seeing more frequent exceptions. Businesses don’t follow the inevitability of the cycle. Frogs continually defy the dynamic of biology, leaving others weakening on their lily pads while they spring ahead.
 
And furrowing the brows of their rivals’ Jobs At The Top … about why their own organizations can’t do the same thing.
 
Twenty years ago, I began preaching an alternative to the lifecycle. And particularly, to its inevitable ending.
 
In my model, growth frogs aren’t predestined to slow down, slip off the lily pad and settle to the bottom as detritus. Here, growth frogs leap across a gray zone into new spots on the lower range of a new cycles, move up, then leap again. Which is exactly what the most vibrant businesses now do. Yet, few of us understand whether it’s an option for us.
 
Because we don’t have the passion to figure it out.
 
It takes huge courage even to consider leaving a solid ship. Even if it’s slowing down. To venture off in a whaleboat to find a better land. For a riveting account of just such an experience, read about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated sail across the South Pole in the book, "Endeavor."
 
So, what does it take to be a Shackleton, versus a deteriorating frog in your Job at the Top?
 
Dissatisfaction. Not to be confused with unhappiness. Just the opposite. To be consumed with positive energy that comes from seeing the opportunity to do something better. Never beguiled into satisfaction with the status quo. Never on cruise control. But driving your organization at speeds considered reckless by others.
 
Carrying the best of what got you to where you are, but striving to molt it into something better. And amazing people with what you become next. Continuously.
 
How do you do this?
 
By getting back to the basics. By seeing your position in your Job At The Top as head thinker. And by the pandemic you release with your zeal for what just might lie around the next corner.
 
Add another five minutes to your 30 minutes alone, three times a week … just to imagine what your business could be. And it just might happen!
 

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