Organizational life can be as unpredictable as the weather, but it is somewhat predictable in stages of development. Like the human life cycle from birth to aging and death, some organizations have a comparable life cycle. Unlike the human life cycle, which moves for everyone through physical stages, the organization cycle is not inevitable. We use this metaphor to help leaders understand what can happen, usually as a result of inappropriate leadership.
To grasp the nature of an organizational cycle, imagine climbing a mountain. As you start at the bottom of the mountain, you begin to climb through the "Infant Stage" then you proceed to the "Growth Stage" and then to the "Prime Stage." As you descend on the other side, you find the "Aging Stage" and then "Dying."
Leaders who understand this potential sequence of change are in a good position to help the organization avoid deterioration. Describing typical stages and understanding how they develop helps leaders increase in confidence and effectiveness.
The Infant Stage.
This stage begins with a dream, vision and opportunity. Almost every church starts with a person, or group of persons, who has a vision. In their mind and spirit they see the potential, visualize plans, and the church is birthed.
The infant church is characterized by strong commitment and purpose. Although they may feel uncertain about the future, the attitudes of those involved are positive and supportive. The young church requires much nurture and attention. Members are interdependent, totally involved and willing to work together. Those who don't share the dream and aren't willing to get involved will leave. The infant organization is action-oriented, opportunity-driven, and vision-focused.
During the infant stage action is more important than opinions. Promotion and recognition comes to persons who produce. The higher the risk involved in starting the church the greater the commitment required. Conflicts may arise... [continues]
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