Start-Up, Ramp Up, Delegation, Professional, Integration, Strategic, Visionary ……. When I first started learning the concepts underneath Fischer’s research, I didn’t pay much attention to the names that he assigned to each stage of growth.

Only later did I learn that was a mistake. I was so caught up in understanding the Three Gates of Focus, the Modalities, the Challenges, Leadership Styles, Competencies, etc. that I simply neglected to go to school on why he named the stages as he did.

One of my techniques today, as I train individuals on the model, is to encourage them to always START with understanding the Names of Each Stage of Growth. Let me walk you through how the name directs you to better understanding the Hidden Agents.

I’ll cover Stage 1, 2 and 3 in this email, and 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the next email.

Start-Up: Obvious. A start-up has to be CEO-centric. Not showing up with enough Confidence (the Builder/Protector of 4:1 Ratio), and not focusing on Profit will create huge obstacles for someone trying to start up a business. The People Gate follows and the emphasis is on hiring for fit not skill because roles and responsibilities are not defined. The Specialist face is 50% because it’s usually the entrepreneur’s idea, expertise, passion and vision that drive those first couple of years, not to mention the reality of focusing on Cash and managing Cash Flow as the top challenge.

In this start-up phase, that entrepreneur has to use the Visionary Leadership Style to get people to work for peanuts, show up on weekends, stay late every night in order to provide the fuel the new company needs to bring an idea to life. The influence of that entrepreneur, their presence in the small, growing organization must be Dominant because ….. take a moment and answer that one yourself.  And remember the impact of that Flood Zone (an increase in the quantity of activity) approaching as the company moves into Stage 2.

Ramp Up: No longer in survival mode, right? A product or service has been defined and is selling to a target audience. Profit is still the top gate of focus but the need for establishing a few processes to keep the chaos under control is critical, so the Process Gate is worth paying attention to.

To add more people as the company grows requires a focus on Hiring Quality People because now roles have appeared and it’s not about fit but figuring out what skills you need to add to the company to stay on top of your product or service quality. Feel that impact of the Flood Zone? The Face of the Leader is shifting to more Manager and the ‘family-like’ atmosphere has to be replaced by strong values in order to drive the behaviors that has taken the company to this point. While the company is still CEO-centric, a not-so-subtle shift must start occurring. Because of the increase in people, and the need to develop more talent, Coaching becomes the top leadership style and as the company prepares for more growth, there is a hint of a Wind Tunnel (letting go of methodologies that no longer work and acquiring new ones that do) coming around the corner.

Delegation: Because I had run an organization, this one hit home. The phrase ‘let it go to let it grow’ has become my mantra when I work with Stage 3 leaders. No possible way a CEO can stay on top of everything that is happening at this stage of growth. They will try, of course. They do that because they don’t think anyone else will do things the way he/she has done them. Or because they have no patience with training and teaching others. Or they are just scared. Unfamiliar with what managing is all about. Threatened, intimidated, nervous about putting their ‘baby’ and its success in the hands of others. I understand the thinking.

Helping a Stage 3 CEO deal with these issues, very challenging. You start by better understanding what they are nervous about. Why they are struggling to delegate specific duties and responsibilities. If they are taking on a Dominant presence in the organization, the staff read this signal as ‘stay back, don’t step up, Laurie (put your CEO’s name here) has this’. If the CEO is managing with a Commanding or Pacesetting leadership style, or the Builder/Protector Mindset is too heavy Builder OR too heavy Protector, the message is clear. ‘Since I can’t do anything right, I’ll just sit back and wait for Laurie (again, put your CEO’s name here) to handle it’. I made all these mistakes as a Stage 3 leader and we lost some really good people because they wanted to step up, they wanted to show us what they could do. Staff buy-in is another word for disengaged employees.

The reason the Three Faces of a Leader show 60% of the CEOs time must reflect their Manager face is because people want direction, they appreciate an effective manager and the company is too large for the CEO to simply expect ‘people to just step up and get it’. Remember, the company is now Enterprise-centric. This simple term could be a valuable exercise a CEO could do with his/her team as they approach Stage 3. The conversation could explore the difference between CEO-centric and Enterprise-centric. The staff could learn about the Modalities and why Dominant Modality is so critical for the staff to understand. Their influence or presence in the organization needs to be felt and the CEO’s Facilitative Modality must make it ‘easier’ for those staff members to exert that Dominant Modality.

I know there is a lot of information to absorb as you learn the different aspects of the 7 Stages of Growth. My opinion is that as soon as you start talking about the stages of growth to any and all audiences, small or large, the more confident you will become. And the sooner you actually deliver your first X-Ray, you’ll be on fire about the process and the results!


If we HEAR something, we only remember 25% of it.
If we WRITE about something, we remember 50% of it.
If we TALK about something, we remember 75% of it.
If we DO IT, USE IT, APPLY IT, we remember 80+% of it.

Thank you for being a part of my Growth Curve Community and for actively learning more about the 7 Stages of Growth.

Your success. My passion.
Laurie Taylor, FlashPoint!