consulting to small business usine SEAM method

Principle of Surrender & Art of Listening

How to Create Growth Spiral out of Death Spiral

© David M. Boje, Ph.D.

June 20, 2018

A great program to use to draw your spirals

This course is about reversing the 'death spiral' of family and small business. The death spiral is not knowing where you are, and not adjusting your course. "What you really need to know is that about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, and 50% of small businesses fail in their fifth year" (source). Forbes gives 5 reasons for business failure. In accounting, "the term death spiral refers to the repeated elimination of products resulting from spreading costs on the basis of volume instead of their root causes.

Figure 1 - The death spiral from accounting view

The small business 'death spiral' is also known as the downward demand spiral" (source). I have been studying the ways to reverse the death serial of family business with Ivan and Mariana. I recommend their new book (stay tuned). They got me started on intergenerational family business success spirals to offset the business death spiral.

Death Spiral with dimensions © Boje 2017

Figure 2 -Death Spiral in dimensions of Landscape (space), Timescape, and Materialscape © Boje, 2017

The Death Spiral needs to be understood in its Landscape (spatializing of geography & market), Timescape (futures arriving & stuck in past), and its Materialscape (all that stuff).

Economic Death Spiral: More American Businesses Dying Than Starting (source). See Lindsley, D. H., Brass, D. J., & Thomas, J. B. (1995). Efficacy-performing spirals: A multilevel perspective. Academy of management review, 20(3), 645-678. Click here for pdf (See Figure 2).

Boje, D. M., Baca-Greif, H., Intindola, M., & Elias, S. (2017). The episodic spiral model: a new approach to organizational processes. Journal of Organizational Change Management, (just-accepted), 00-00.

There are also upward spirals, and you can create them at anytime.

Spirals within Spirals

Figure 3- Spirals within spirals at change points (source); see Levin, P. (1988). Cycles of power. Health Communications, Deerfield Beach, USA. (more)

OK, so as a student consultant your mission is to diagnose whatever downward spiral (d