Just as individuals have personality types, so do companies. As groups and companies progress through life, their type changes…or rather, each type’s strengths and weaknesses create the situation the company makes for itself.
Being an institution has many benefits – you are respected, you are looked to, you have a client base, you can charge higher prices – but its drawback is that rigidity and sitting on your laurels means your efficiency goes hand in hand with a lack of development.
To stay alive, at some point you or your offshoots will need to go in new directions, experiment, dream again, and be inefficient.
William Bridges writes in The Character of Organizations about personality types of organizations, combining the Myers-Briggs’ I/E, S/N, T/F, and J/P:
- “The Dream: IN-P.” Inward-focused, open and aware of possibilities.
- “The Venture: E—J.” Customer-focused, judging what’s best to grow.
- “Getting Organized: IST-.” Inward-focused on reality and facts.
- “Making It: ENF-.” Customer-focused, open to the future, making the most of each unique opportunity.
- “Becoming an Institution: ISTJ.” Inward-focused on reality and facts and judging what’s best.
- “Closing In: ISTJ.” Deepening the institutionalism.