I don’t do groups. AA, Boy Scouts, Little League, large companies, speaker’s bureaus, networking groups, (there’s a waste of time for you) any type of committees, political movements or unions. Especially unions. You want to ruin something? Organize it. Add rules, hierarchy, more people, which will inevitably lead to politics, more rules, cliques, and the real killer, the quest for fairness. Fairness? Run Toto, run!
Then of course, inexorably, comes dissention. Throw a self possessed CEO on top with a blood thirsty board chewing on his ass for good measure, and there you have it, a clusterfuck of disorganized humanity. I’ve seen it up close and personal, I’ve witnessed it from a distance and anecdotally. Move along folks, nothing to see here.
I have watched small, beautifully run collaborations balloon into these unrecognizable bottom line lip service dispensers that even a hardened prison warden would pass on. It’s like that girl you had a crush on in high school. Back then you found the true meaning of lust. She had everything. You remember the obscene things you did to your pillow every night? Of course, she married young to some up and comer and you watched that ship sail into the sunset. Bye, bye, love.
Over the years though, you started to see her at the super market as the the inevitable poundage started to creep up distorting her figure, the way she walked, (you loved that walk) and her beautiful facial features started to melt into that third (and fourth) chin. What happened here? Growth. The wrong kind.
Hey, I’m no day at the beach either. I’m damn sure if I went to nudist camp there are parts of my anatomy that would never get sun burned, save for that Friar Tuck blowhole thing I got going on up there. But that’s girth, or sideways expansion, as I like to refer to it.
I work with very successful companies, some just coming into season and could come dangerously close to the above social experiments. Some are aware and cautious and others are giddy with IPO disease. The smart ones will survive and thrive by getting big and acting small while others will hit the lottery and will self destruct over time. Like congestive heart failure, it’s that gasping, painful, agonizing process that no one survives.
It’s that slow chipping away and loss of meaning, besides the drive to hit the bottom line, that do these companies in. I can usually tell it’s starting when some unhappy looking employee calls me in their office and says “close the door behind you.”