The 5 Levels of Growth for YOU in an Organization

Based on my personal experience in the corporate world, observations and interactions with individuals at various levels in the organization hierarchy, I have identified that there are 5 distinct levels for any individual in an organization.

These levels are characterized by whether YOU are qualified, competent and empowered to make decisions along the following dimensions:
1) What you should do?
2) When you should do?
3) How you should do?
4) Who should be involved?
5) Why you should do what you do?

The key distinguishing trait is whether you decide for yourself or others decide for you on each of the above dimensions. And others can be your team, your peers, your boss, your customers, your partners, your management, etc. In many cases, it may be a team who finally decides by consensus, but the question is “Do YOU have the ability to influence the final decision?”

In the table below, I have depicted the differences between the various levels

Who decides

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

What you should do? Others Others Others, You You You
When you should do? Others Others Others, You You You
How you should do? Others Others, You Others, You You You
Who should be involved? Others Others, You Others, You You You
Why you should do what you do? Others Others Others Others You

So, as an example let me illustrate how you should interpret this table. At Level 3 the decision makers for each of the questions are below

1) What you should do? – Others and You. So you have an influence in this decision
2) When you should do? – Others and You. So you have an influence in this decision
3) How you should do? – Others and You. So you have an influence in this decision
4) Who should be involved? – Others and You. So you have an influence in this decision
5) Why you should do what you do? – Others. So you have NO influence in this decison and it is made purely by others for you.

Points to Note:

1) Your presence in a particular level is completely independent of your experience or tenure in a company. So for e.g.: An entrepreneur who has just set-up a new venture will be at Level 5 & an employee who has spent 2 decades in an organization may be at Level 3

2) Choosing to be at a specific level or planning to move to the next level is determined by a variety of factors – Its usually a function of individual competence, ambition, opportunity and organization ecosystem support

3) Your personal and professional growth is directly linked to the level you are currently in

Pause of Reflect
Which Level are you currently in?
Which Level do you want to be in?
How do you plan to get there?

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2 comments on “The 5 Levels of Growth for YOU in an Organization

  1. For once I did not understand exactly how to interpret your table. But I believe its good to listen as much as advise. It is good to dictate as much as work in a team. Unless you are your own company just being 5 may not necessarily work.

  2. Meeta – I have added an example below the table – Trust that brings the required clarity. The point I’ve tried to make is that there are 5 distinct levels in any organization. One’s growth, stake & responsibilities is definitely linked to which level you are in… Also, an entrepreneur in a new start-up and a CEO in an multi-billion $ enterprise need to be at Level 5.

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