Blog Post

​ Organizational Lifecycle - It All Starts Off Good!

Updated on

June 27, 2019



Christine Luttrell

At my most recent Texas SHRM state council meeting in El Paso earlier this month, I had the pleasure of learning from a remarkable, enthusiastic, full of life woman named Aliana Apodaca with Positive Directions Co. Aliana was our morning keynote and started our meeting off by inspiring the group to really evaluate how we live our life, whether at work or at home. According to the website, Aliana’s company Positive Directions Co. “facilitates inspiration which leads to effective change and transformation.” And she is not kidding about that!

I was so impressed by Aliana’s message, I am breaking it in to several blogs and highlighting the points that really struck a chord with me. The first blog in the series focuses on the various stages in an organizations lifecycle.

Aliana spoke about the this lifecycle and the various stages that EVERY organization, or relationship for that matter, goes through. Of course, it all begins with the courtship. This is where all is perfect. This is referred to as the formative stage. There is a lot of trial and error to get it right. The atmosphere is chaotic, but oh so much fun. You have lots of vision and your work is “on purpose”. Growth is fast, easy and comes naturally. This is where patterns will begin to emerge.

After a while, you ease in to the normative stage. The normative stage is where your organizational structure solidifies with policies, procedures and standards. You will notice an increase in efficiency. Controls set in and standards are enforced. Upper management is focused on the future and planning to meet the outlined goals.

The normative stage is often times where you will be when a crisis point sets in. A crisis point can happen for many reasons.

  • Perhaps the environment changes.
  • People are working harder, but results are slipping.
  • The group runs out of steam, loses vitality
  • Creativity is lacking
  • Things are being done in the same old way, tried and true operations

As with any crisis, if you continue on the same path with no course adjustment, it is a prescription for death. You have two choices – change, evolve and grow OR face decline and possible demise.

For an organization to thrive, you must embrace the integrative stage. This stage is where you can choose to “break the mold” and reinvent yourself. It is an opportunity to examine the organizational culture and build on your strengths. You should revisit your mission, vision and values. Maybe you will determine it is time to redefine and question what you are doing or reconnect with your customers.

This is an opportunity to forge new directions if you choose to.

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