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The Life Cycle of an Organization

The Growing Phases

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Dr. Gerry FaustDr. Gerry Faust

All organizations go through predictable phases of growth and decline. At each phase of this life cycle, organizations have predictable problems, strengths and weaknesses. In order to succeed over time, an organization must change and adapt. It must overcome the challenges of one phase and make the changes needed to move into the next phase.

These phases are similar, no matter what the industry or the type of organization. In fact, this model has been applied to understand the growth and development and decline of organizations of all kinds, including churches, non-profit organizations, industries and businesses, government agencies, states and countries.

An organization's life cycle has two major components... a series of Growing Phases and a series of Aging Phases. During the Growing Phases, the organization builds its strength, vitality and long-term potential. During the Aging Phases, it is progressively losing its strength, vitality and long-term potential.

Life Cycle of A Company

The Growing Phases

Courtship (paEi): The growing phases start before the organization exists. They start in the mind of the founder. They start as a little spark, which over time, is fed with more thought and a growing conviction that "this is what I should do." The founder is "courting" the idea, adding to it, planning and testing the idea in conversations with friends, relatives, colleagues and maybe some potential partners. In these discussions, there is a lot of convincing talk going on as the people who will be involved try to convince themselves that this is something they are willing to dedicate a major part of their life to.

Starting a new venture always involves risk... risk in terms of career, money and change. Some people are willing to take the risks. They generally have an Entrepreneurial (E) personality, and certainly, this new venture requires some "E" thinking. But, for a successful courtship, you also have to do some work (P), organize (A) and have some ability to integrate (I) a group of people who will make it all happen.

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