There are 3 phases of momentum where it either gains, drains or remains the same. If you watched sport on the weekend then you may have noticed the differences in energy to the team with momentum versus the team without.
Gaining momentum is generally considered as being good (and it usually is), but sometimes too much momentum can work against us because we’re unable to keep up. Think about how hard it is to slow down when you’re running down a hill, how overwhelmed you might feel if you have too much to do or how systems and processes lag in organisations experiencing rapid growth.
Draining momentum can be quite demoralising when we’re doing everything possible to revert the situation. This is said to happen to people who despite dieting find their weight is increasing or a new sales employee who’s working very hard but not making sales because of unfamiliarity with the customers they’re selling to, the products they’re selling and the market they’re selling into.
Momentum that remains the same works when the same results are desired but not if different outcomes are the objective. For instance, retailers might need to increase the amount of advertising to attract customers and stock levels to supply orders leading up to the busiest time of the year.
People, products and organisations can pass through all 3 phases of momentum. Let’s illustrate this with the smartphone.
In 2004 I was working for System Software Associates when I was given my first smartphone – a Blackberry. For someone who travelled for work it was fantastic to have a keyboard on a phone where I could view and respond to emails. It made a huge improvement to my productivity and I thought it was the best thing since “sliced bread”. It was also he most popular smartphone on the market.
In 2007 the smartphone world changed forever with the announcement of the iPhone. The Blackberry keyboard on the phone looked clunky compared to the new iPhone touchscreen keypad. Blackberry was left in the iPhone’s wake.
The iPhone open source concept of apps being innovated and built rapidly by a global user community and the design to combine a phone and music (iPod) were so clever that everyone wanted one – including me. Market share and sales growth went to unprecedented levels making the iPhone the most popular smartphone on the market. Then after 9 years of growth momentum started to drain in 2016.
You see the iPhone now has new competitors who build cheaper products with allegedly better technology. Plus, with so many smartphones available the population is voting with their wallets that they don’t need to replace their old smartphone at the same rate new smartphones are released onto the market. So something has to give and the iPhone is experiencing negative growth for the first time.
The moral to the story products, organisations and people need to align rhythm in relation to the phase of momentum. Three suggestions for individuals are:
Gaining momentum – establish a rhythm that enables you to sustain the pace of the increased activity
Draining momentum – focus your rhythm on the activities and initiatives that make the biggest impact
Momentum that remains the same – have a rhythm that is agile enough to adapt to not lose ground if market conditions change
To get the results you want to achieve, identify where you are, where you want to be and align your rhythm accordingly to get there.