Genesis Hubris Nemesis – Which Stage Are You At?

Multiple Reflections in water

In this article we thought we’d share with you an overview of a new way of looking at business maturity, taken from some very wise, old ideas. We have identified three key stages, each with its own distinctive attributes.

This is the most important stage, not because it is responsible for beginning the journey (although that’s pretty significant), but because leaving it means you move into very dangerous territory.

A Genesis mind-set is entrepreneurial, creative and hungry to learn. It contains the spark that started things off and it’s the flame that powers your development. The challenge is to maintain the Genesis phase indefinitely. Andy Grove, ex boss and co-founder of Intel, talked very compellingly about remaining paranoid, not allowing complacency to settle in, and never believing your own publicity. Paranoia that your success could end at any moment is a very healthy fear to have. Maintaining a dynamic position in the Genesis phase is harder than it looks.

The problem is some people don’t find this challenge exciting, they find it debilitating, they want to move into a more comfortable phase, where Hubris awaits.

Literally, pride before a fall. Hubris is very seductive lulling you into a false sense of security, making your success feel permanent and your competitive position secure. And for a while this remains true. You will be at your most successful just before your success declines. The rate of decline will have a lot to do with the amount of Hubris imbibed. You will be able to indentify organisations, business people, sports people, celebrities who are in the Hubris phase. It’s tantalising to watch because they are the least aware of the oncoming third phase, Nemesis.

Retribution follows Hubris, and for many the fall is very painful. This is when the unsustainability becomes clear, its obvious (now) things couldn’t last; the career stutters, even collapses, the organisation fails, all the chickens come home to roost.

As you will see this journey’s arc can apply to individuals and organisations. It applies to business people, sports people, politicians and entertainers.

The challenge is to firstly become conscious of the dangers and then to work hard to stay in the Genesis phase. It may be challenging, but it will certainly deliver a more future proofed outcome.