Five Stages of Organizational Flow
Here is another excerpt from The Shift from Me to Team, which will be published this year. As you read about the Five Stages of Organizational Flow, think about your own organization’s stage on this path.
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Like any group of individuals coming together to achieve a goal, organizations go through five stages of culture alignment to reach sustainable flow for success. At the start, for each member, it’s just about themselves and what they want. Then, as trust builds over time, the members begin to think about the needs of others in the organization. As the organization evolves, the members think about the sustainability of the community they are building. Ultimately, it’s no longer just about individual wants, it is about the needs of the community.
As you read about the Five Stages of Organizational Flow, where do you think your organization is? What would it take to move to the next stage?
Stage I – Functioning Like Independent Contractors
The organization has a name, and that may be all the employees share. They do not need each other to succeed; there is no working together. They are under the same umbrella, but do not interact in service of each other.
Stage II – Stated Shared Purpose, but No Change in Practices
The team members have a shared name and have clarified a shared Purpose for being, but they continue to work independently. They work in isolated silos, some serving the identified purpose.
Stage III – Deeper Clarity of Purpose and How We Work Best Together
Now there is a name, a Purpose, and an understanding of how the members of the organization work at their best together. However, some continue to operate as independent contractors in their silos, doing their own thing their own way.
Stage IV – Aligned, but Working Individually
All on the team are seeking the same goals but doing so individually. They are keeping score—who is winning inside the organization?
Stage V – Organizational Alignment
All on the team are seeking the same goals, collaboratively supporting each other, enabling energizing flow for sustainable success. The goal is for the team to win, regardless of the role each plays to make that possible.
Can you see your organization or communities in these stages?