Phase I: The pioneering stage: high energy, wild growth

A phase one organization has an owner-director who is either a pioneer or a charismatic individual or both. The firm is oriented to a recently discovered niche in the market, is hugely promising and is typically directed towards quick wins and expansive growth. There are very few rules, everybody knows what to do and there is a strong commitment on the part of the (usually young) employees, who work long hours getting the business off the ground.

Formality is virtually non-existent, meetings take place on the run, decision-making is quick and thinking and acting are extremely externally oriented. The keyword for the organizational climate is ‘aggressive’. The communication structure is usually simple – ultimately the boss decides.

The duration of phase I should ideally be no more than three to five years. If change is overdue, firms run the risk of losing their impetus or over-expanding.


Phase II: The stage of Growth: think first, act flexibly

Phase III: The stage of Consolidation: solid survival and success

Phase IV: The stage of Decline: keeping up appearances