The Two Predictable Chaotic Transition Zones in the Growth of Your Enterprise
There are two types of Transition Zones that occur between each of the 7 stages of growth. These Transition Zones are phases of chaos you must understand because you cannot ignore them. Instead, by knowing when they will occur, you can prepare for them.
These chaotic transition zones are evident also in nature. For example, the caterpillar on its journey to becoming a beautiful Monarch butterfly will have to go through the chrysalis stage of change. If something interrupts that change, the transition will not happen, and the butterfly will die before it is able to emerge from the cocoon.
The same thing happens in companies as they move through these chaos zones. As a company grows there is usually a high level of confusion because employees are often caught by surprise by the change. The leaders of organizations tend to understand and accept change because they are creating it and may be unaware of the impact on the employees.
Flood Zones and Wind Tunnels: The Two Chaotic Transition Zones
A Flood Zone is a transition zone that shows up when the level of activity in an organization increases – literally the employees tend to feel like they are drowning in a flood of activity. This can quickly cause overwhelm because of more projects, more money, more confusion which can cause erosion in performance and productivity. This situation may cause a knee-jerk reaction by the leadership to hire more people. This may be the worst action to take because hiring more people simply creates more activity and may literally increase the flood level.
Flood Zones occur between Stages 1 and 2, Stages 3 and 4, and Stages 5 and 6. When a company enters any of these stages of growth, the most appropriate action is to slow everything down and have people evaluate what exactly is going on. Instead of hiring more people which adds to the complexity of the organization, the company should look at what it is doing, how it is doing it, and ask everyone involved if there are other systems or processes that can be put in place to reduce the level of confusion and overwhelm.
A Wind Tunnel is much different than a Flood Zone.
A Wind Tunnel requires the organization to let go of methodologies that no longer work and create new ones that do. The leadership of organizations frequently have difficulty recognizing that what worked before is not working now. Because of increased complexity, the leader must re-evaluate how they are managing the different aspects of the company and find new ways that will work better. To believe that “what worked before will continue to work” can create high levels of frustration among employees.
A Wind Tunnel occurs between Stages 2 and 3, Stages 4 and 5, and Stages 6 and 7. It is essential to recognize the demands that will be created because of the complexity that comes from adding more employees. When a company is about to enter a Wind Tunnel the appropriate action is to “tap into the intelligence” of your staff and encourage them to innovate new ways of operating that will be more effective for the size of the organization.
Both types of transition zones are a normal part of enterprise growth. You cannot ignore these chaos zones, but you can begin to understand them. Then, you can prepare by creating a language of growth that will help employees understand what is going to happen.
The nine-step Growth Accelerator Roadmap process addresses this in
Step 6 : Managing Growth (See diagram below).
The two previous steps can help you prepare to effectively manage the complexities of growth.
Step 4: Talent Management, can help assure an ideal job-talent fit for all key positions.
Step 5: Team Effectiveness, can help turn your good people (from Step 4) into teams of fully engaged top talent.
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