The Steele Theorem of Decline: How Good Things Often Go Bad

This is an introduction to the five phases of the Steele Theorem. The eBook, Monkeys in the Jungle, goes into greater detail with a complete parable.

Here are the cyclical phases of the Steele Theorem of Downfall:

Phase 1. Organic Health: Good, ordinary people develop good things, unofficially, and without central planning. They focus on intrinsic quality and are somewhat rough around the edges, but their products and ideas are sticky, catchy, and they last. In marketing, they gain momentum and longevity. These are original visionaries. Their “organization” can be a fellowship, business, charity, school, or even a nation.

Phase 2. Certified Validation: Once good things are established, it is suggested by someone that it is easier to institutionalize and centralize organizational structures for better “efficiency”. “Accreditation” and “certification” are also discussed. This new discussion often accompanies a general desire for “validation” and “to be important” and “to be recognized” for the good things one has done. This inward desire is often not acknowledged by the people who have it. Rather, the hidden attitude manifests itself with pious, calm, friendly comments such as, “It really is good, ya know. Doors will open this way. Everything needs to institutionalize. It’s a necessary evil.” While some structures may be valuable and necessary for any organization to progress, as requirements they are minimal and many times they are mere “artificial needs” created during an increase of regulation.

Phase 3. Smooth Momentum: The institutionalized structures attract new leaders* with no vision. Some or one of these latter managers usually emerges in Phase Two, unnoticed and usually praising the unofficial work of the original visionaries done in Phase One. These latter managers focus on aesthetics and smooth operations. Some qualities improve slightly, many things get polished. Growth continues, but it is difficult to distinguish whether the continued growth was caused by the early visionaries or the latter managers. During this phase, skeletons pile up in the closets that few people discover until near the end of Phase Four. Some key leaders may resign with no other indications that there is any problem.

Phase 4. Abandon Ship: The original visionaries leave, due to a variety of reasons and usually by scattering with the occasional organized exodus. The new, latter managers take over and manage the organization’s decline**. They focus on their emphases and what they manage continues to decline. In the transition to this phase, the original “drive” is absent and momentum eventually leads to a downhill roll that ends in a train wreck. The numbers are typically reported by the organization as being “good”. Accountants and researchers may begin to falsify reports or consider falsifying reports during this phase. Original founding members from phase one may begin to share stories through their informal grapevine as they are unofficially networked. The organization’s bad reputation emerges slowly and finally culminates in a public announcement of some legal action or negative report in the press, but the problems of the organization rarely surprise those who have a close connection to the organization’s history. The latter managers usually erect power structures in this phase, such as retirement packages, mergers and acquisitions, and outside contracts. These obligations are designed to remain in place even after the organization is no longer solvent since insolvency was foreseen by the latter managers. These are intended to help the latter managers survive as the organization flounders through either bankruptcy, liquidation, or acquisition.

Phase 5. Reassembly: The visionaries informally congregate and discuss philosophies about their situation and general life lessons learned. They share wisdom from their own lives and from the annals of history. They create a new, unofficial organization with devices in place to avoid the style and manner of the most recent takeover of the latter managers. They wrest much of the remaining power from the latter managers, but not all. Then the cycle repeats with their new, good work. In some cases, the original visionaries return to the organization and retake control, which resets the organization to “Phase One Prime” where the same cycle may repeat at a more dramatic level with the same, “retaken” organization.

*Often, the “latter managers” operate in some form of cooperation with evil spiritual forces. Many times, this cooperation comes from ordinary folk who desire the greatness described in Phase Two. Other times, Phase Two is implemented by an insurgent who pretends to be a founder, but secretly and literally worships demons and is involved in “white collar occult” that offers power and money to initiates. These “conscious cooperators” usually act under the direction of a respected and known “secret society” such as in collage fraternities, business clubs, or any of the many respected secret societies known throughout Europe. Conscious cooperators are not always involved and typically focus on influencing larger and more famous developments.

**There is usually general disgust with the latter managers, arising in Phase Four. However, there is rarely any acknowledgement that the problem originated with “subtle pride” desire for greatness and validation that emerged in Phase Two.

It should be noted that the power to create within the organization lies only with the original visionaries of Phase One. The latter managers are not able to begin new work, but only polish a pre-created work while the old momentum lasts. The latter managers, in this way, are somewhat of the “hermit crabs” of society. The original visionaries, however, are very strong and capable because they have creative power that latter managers lack. Though they are often informal, unrefined, and somewhat quirky and loony, they have every reason to be confident. Often times, insulting one’s “lack of manners” is an evil-spiritual attempt to make the original visionaries feel inferior when they should have every reason to remain confident.

This process is described in greater detail with a parable and more explanation in the book: Monkeys in the Jungle

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