Can You Create an Organization that Will Support Your Mission?
Today I’m going to talk about the life cycle of your business and how to get the most out of each cycle while also extended the lifespan of your mission and purpose.
The four different stages of an organization are what Michael Gerber calls:
• Growing Pains
We’ll talk a little about what each of these stages means and how they can each help expand your organization’s lifespan.
This is generally considered the technician’s phase, which is the owner/founder. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is that of a parent and a new baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your organization will follow. This is where your vision is blooming, where you can see the impact you will make, and you are perhaps starting to do good work. This phase is identified by the hustle. You are doing everything. You are selling. You are delivering services, you are doing the books.. You are awake at night in the wee hours of the morning wondering, “is this worth it and can I make it work”?
You ask yourself, “If I add value or services or more clients, can I handle it”? It can be tempting to stop here. And it is perfectly OK to do so. I know lots of organizations that are a lifestyle brand. They allow their owner to make enough money to be comfortable. So, they don’t want to expand.
But if you are driven by your purpose and your passion you have to recognize that your organization must grow in order to flourish. You cannot stay in this stage forever.
In this stage, you need to start bringing on support staff and you want to delegate to this staff and allow them to grow into their positions of service. The first hire is probably another technical person, with the skills to deliver. So that you can step back and out to work on your business. This cycle really belongs to the manager. The manager is the professional that brings order and systems into play to sustain the operation. This is where policies begin to come into play, a business model; (how will we raise money and deliver value for our donors, advocates, and clientele?) This is also where you create operating procedures that can be rreplicated.
There’s a point in every successful organization when business explodes and becomes chaotic. This is referred to as growing pains. It’s a good problem to have, but a challenge, nonetheless. You are often faced with several decisions:
• Avoid growth and stay small
• Go broke
• Push forward into the next cycle
The last cycle is maturity, though this doesn’t mean the end of your business. Your passion for growth must continue in order for your business to succeed and continue to serve your noble mission. You want to continually assess where you are, evaluate the impact you are having, and recalibrate for the times and for where the organization is going. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward. This is the perspective of vision, of where is our need growing and where is it contracting? How do we need to change? All too often the leaders (the Technicians and Managers) get stuck in how things are or worse how they used to be. The entrepreneurial leader is looking at the horizon and identifying what needs to be done between now and then to continue to be of service 5 – 10 – 100 years down the road.
You see how all three of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation for each one of them for your business to be, and continue to be, successful. All three of your key roles (the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur) must also work together to work through these cycles.
Almost every business owner or founder that I have met is doing this for something beyond money. They are driven by a sense of purpose, passion, and desire for a better world. Do not let that light or vision flounder. Step into your vision. Work through the various stages of growth with all of the excitement, fear, and frustrations. The work you are doing is literally changing the world.
John Gies is a Coach and Business Growth Strategist. He lives in Denver Colorado with his wife of almost 30-years. You can learn more about John at
Originally Published in SynerVision Magazine