Why Are Three-Legged Stools So Important?

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Animals float, swim, slither and stand on all fours.  The more developed of us can stand on our own two legs.  This two leg thing is more like a parlor trick because we can’t do it without a lot of mental resources and countless twitcher muscle contractions constantly working together to adjust our balance.  These adjustments are necessary because we are top heavy, and even “at rest” isn’t totally a thing, because with the movement of even the smallest appendage our center or gravity shifts and a muscle correction is necessary.

Inanimate objects like tables and chairs don’t have the luxury of having brains and muscles to make adjustments.  They rely on geometry and configuration to determine their stability.  An object with no legs has either a large flat surface that is permanently in a stable position or is round like a ball that is stable in that by definition it can’t fall over.  The ball, however, can’t stay in one place when acted upon by even the slightest side force.  A one-legged object is like a pogo stick.  It cannot stand still on its own but with forces acting on it directly through its axis can be maneuvered.  That’s right, it needs a smart operator to stay upright and must remain in motion. Three or more legs are required for an object to be stable at rest.  By deduction, the three-legged stool is the simplest of all stable fixed objects. 

Any one or two legs of the stool can be raised or lowered without destabilizing the stool until the center of gravity it moved outside the remaining one or two legs at which point it topples over.  This why organizations often create dynamics of responsibility centered around three legs at a minimum.

Manufacturing companies can best be explained by the three pillars of strength: sales, engineering, and production.  When these three points of view work together the organization is stable.  If Sales, for example, pushes too hard it can topple engineering and production by pushing the company beyond its natural stability base.  Engineering and production can do the same thing if they push the others beyond their existing limits.

The interconnectedness of the three legs is what is key.  There is a natural tension between them and they must always adjust to each other to stay in balance.  The tension in a manufacturing company can be seen in that Sales will always push for faster production times and lower costs to make it easier to sell while production will push back by claiming it needs to pay overtime to reach the sales expectations which in turn will raise the price.  Sales and Engineering will push against each other when sales wants features that have not already been engineered, and they want them at no additional cost, with no time delay, and guaranteed to work perfectly right out of the gate.  This tension is a good thing because it forces a mutual respect for the balance that is necessary for organizational success.

Even on a hilly or uneven surface, the three-legged stool is stable.  Unlike the tables at your local Italian restaurant, no folded napkins need to be stuffed under one of the legs to keep it from rocking. 2Fold® is a simple company built on this principle.  Our sales people have directed the engineering software that drives the company.  It will only allow options and sizes that have proven to work, and the contractors who cut the steel, make the glass and supply the hardware are all wired into this system.  We are built for success with the most streamlined process possible, but with each door customized to your specific needs.  Give us a call and kick the tires of this well-oiled machine . . . you’ll love the experience. 

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