In the first part of this two part mini-series, I told you about the work of Larry Greiner, who mapped out five stages in the organizational life cycle. Here are a couple of resources to help fill you in on the idea: “Organizational Life Cycle” from Encyclopedia for Business, and “The Greiner Curve” from Mind Tools.
The idea is that social enterprises can go through phases of growth, as any organization may, and that the different phases of growth demand different types of leadership. In my first post, I focused on the start-up phases of a social enterprise. In this post, I’ll focus on the phases of growth of more established social enterprises and the leadership styles that are demanded in those organizations.
3- Growth through Delegation
So, your organization has survived the exciting, roller-coaster ride of its creativity phase. Your organization has found the sense of direction it needs. Now, it’s time for your organization to grow, by tapping the creativity and energy of all the good people who work with your social enterprise—paid and volunteer workers. Your social enterprise can grow by using what it learned from its direction phase, to share this sense of direction with all the people who work with you. Your organization will not be able to grow, if it does not tap the talent of these people, and that means using a leadership style that effectively delegates jobs and projects.
Crisis of Control
But, with all that delegation going on, your organization may experience a crisis of control. Who’s in charge? Who is delegating all these tasks? What is our goal? How can we get all of these delegatees to work together? To grow to the next phase, your organization needs to adopt a new leadership style…collaboration.
Phase 4- Growth through Collaboration
Your organization is growing again. You have lots of great employees and volunteers, you have a great sense of direction and mission. You need to integrate all of these powerful resources together to get them to collaborate. You need a leader who has a big picture view–who sees these resources and sees the connections that can be established, to place your social enterprise at the center of the network of these relationships.
Red Tape Crisis
Your social enterprise has reached new levels of growth….and complexity. You have new locations, new relationships, and you need new control systems. It seems like every problem in your organization is addressed with a new form–a new employee manual, a new policy handbook, a new set of rules. In fact, your organization is so “well-organized,” it starts to sink under the weight of all the red-tape. Finding a balance between creativity and bureaucracy can lead to even higher level of organization development–growth through coordination.
Phase 5- Growth through Coordination
You have a great sense of direction, your social enterprise is really well-organized, you are tapping into the wonderful resources of your people. Now, it’s time to reach out to other organizations…establish mergers, partnerships, and other coordinating relationships between your organization.
What’s in the future? Your organization could move to a whole new level of growth and possibility, based on what it has learned in the previous stages of growth.
For information on a simple, free assessment tool, to determine the stage of development your organization is in, or to contact the author, click on this link: email@example.com
Paul Hardt writes regularly for social earth.org and posts on his own blog: www.paulhardt.com
Image source: eastha