In nature, phase shifts are dramatic. Think of water: ice is solid and rigid, water is fluid and adaptable, steam is expansive and high-energy. You can’t manage ice like water or steam. Each phase has very different characteristics which require different management models, insights, and skill sets.

The same applies to your business. As it grows, it too goes through predictable phase shifts, and the management models, insights, and skill sets that brought you to the current stage aren’t applicable to the next.

So how can you use this insight to your advantage?

The most important thing is to be able to recognize the shift between one phase and another.
The Organizational Physics Strategy Map is my favorite tool for doing this. It lays out where your business, markets, and products are at in their development now. In addition, it indicates if you are in step with your current phase or not.

Here’s the map. Can you use it to identify your business’ current stage and next phase shift?

Phase shifts are like the transformation of water. Each stage—Pilot It, Nail It, Scale It, Milk It—requires a different mindset, skill set, and approach. Recognize these shifts and adapt. Remember, you can’t manage water like you manage steam or ice. Each phase demands its own strategy.

To learn more about navigating business phase shifts, here are two good places to start:

  1. Read the Mastering Lifecycle Strategy white paper
  2. Complete a Top-Level OKRs Strategy Survey with your leadership team