1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations.  On Friday, I share something we are doing at PCI in our quest to earn a spot on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

The last several Fridays, we’ve been exploring PCI’s “New Frontiers” theme for 2022.  “Dream Big” is the first action required on our call to adventure.  And to succeed on this quest into these new frontiers will also require a second mindset: “Play Hard.”

2: Which brings us to the concept of an “S Curve.”  

Here we see a typical product life cycle.  As you can see, we move from innovation to growth, to maturity, and ultimately to decline.  It is a hump.  

What then is an S Curve?  The idea here is that to avoid the inevitable decline, we must “jump” onto a new S curve before we hit maturity.

Intel provides a great example of this idea in action.  In the 1970s and early 1980s, Intel was a leading manufacturer of semiconductors.  However, by the mid-1980s, increased competition from Japanese semiconductor manufacturers dramatically reduced profitability in the market.

So, what did Intel do?  They shifted their focus to microprocessors.  Intel got into the CPU business.  Not only that, but they feverishly innovated new and better microprocessors every year or two.  Before each chip hit maturity, the firm had already invested in and would launch the next chip: the X86, then the 386, then the 486, and eventually the Pentium chip.  

Intel became known for the mantra of its CEO Andy Grove: “Only the paranoid survive.”

To survive, the paradox we must grapple with is we have to envision the death of who we are now.  We must “let go,” shed our skin and seek a new identity.  This mindset of embracing death and rebirth is what the S curve is all about.  It is the secret to prolonged success.  

3: Looking at lines on a graph, we may think it looks easy.  The reality is, it’s anything BUT easy.  It requires us to leave our “known world” behind and venture into the unknown.  We must answer the call to adventure.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  It’s what “playing hard” is all about.  

More next week!


Reflection: Consider how the “S Curve” applies to my organization.  To my life.  What is required of me right now?

Action: Journal about my answers to the questions above.

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