Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7 Steps Toward a Drama Free Corporation

Drama can completely ruin a corporation. I’m not talking about the drama involved in the thrills of a corporation op gone well, or the drama of 15 corpmates getting on Ventrillo and getting a little rowdy while playing Eve.

I’m talking about negative drama—the kind that smears a corporation’s reputation, causes panic or 
dissatisfaction, and can cause members to flee in droves.

The first thing that CEOs and other corporate leaders need to first understand, is that drama is not usually the problem. Drama is a symptom, or a direct result of other problems within your corporation. These problems are usually fixable, and are usually not your fault. However, if you try cutting down the drama without 
addressing the issues behind it, it will keep coming back.

Weeding out the problem is usually easy. Taking action can be very hard for some leaders. In any case, you must be willing to do what you have to do to achieve the result that you want.

Step 1: Identify the source of the drama. I’m being frank when I say that 9 times out of 10, this involves a person. Someone being a loudmouth. Someone spreading rumors. Someone talking about something they know nothing about.

The source can also be related to a recent negative event, such as a huge pvp loss, corporate thievery, and spying. However, even these three event are usually tied, again, to a person.

Step 2: Evaluate the Life of the Drama. Sometimes, responding at all makes things worse. Once you know what the problem is, evaluate whether it is something that will fizzle out on its own, or something you need to handle. A one-time bad pvp op should have you a lot less concerned than an FC that is chronically leading your fleets into destruction.

Step 3: Make an Initial Response. (IE: Damage Control) Communicate! If something large is happening within your corporation and you, as a leader, remain silent, it can fuel the fires. You can be vague. You can offer no information at all. But by way of a corporate mail or a quick meeting on your voice coms, let your corpmates know that you understand stuff is going on, and you are currently working to solve the problem.

Step 4: Repeat Steps 1 and 2 with others. Bring other leaders and trusted corpmates into the loop. They may have perspectives, or information that you don’t have. Discuss the issue, but keep the conversation productive. Remember though, that this is mostly for their benefit. You may benefit as well, but the primary purpose of this step is making your ‘trusted’ members feel safe, valued, you get the picture. Make them feel like they have a say, a voice, a vote…without really giving them one. Sounds cruel and manipulative, but that’s life.

Step 5: Make your decision and communicate it to the corporation. There will be whining and complaining. You may have to kick someone out of corp, or multiple people. You may have to strip roles, or prohibit certain behaviors. Someone, somewhere wont like it. Do it anyway.

Step 6: Take action and sit back. If things blow up even more, you probably did something stupid or unnecessary. Or, people just need some time to digest things. Give it time to blow over.

Step 7: Do Cleanup Control. This may involve communicating to blues, writing a press release for the Eve Online forums, etc. If you are smaller and not as well known, it may involve just a short meeting with corpmates to see what everyone’s current attitude is. Be prepared to give your reasoning and details about what happened.

Step 8: (Yeah, I know the title says 7 steps. This one is an added bonus.) Do something fun. If you’re a pvp corporation, go on a big pvp op. Take out tech 1 frigates, or go pirate. Offer a distraction—don’t let people sit around dwelling on things.

Please notice that these steps can take place very quickly. Analyzing what’s going on, dragging a director down into a private channel for a quick meeting, making a decision and executing can happen very fast. Actually, I’d encourage you to perform these steps fast. Don’t let things drag on. It’s a game, after all, and people just want to have fun.

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