Thu 29 Mar 2007
It is not easy to spot the moment when an organization looses its focus. But it is surprisingly obvious once it dawns on you. It can be likened to a knife loosing its sharpness. It is hard to spot the exact moment, but it is obvious once it stops to cut as it once did.
But putting allegories aside – in a startup I think it is the moment when it is not obvious anymore to everyone what their collective purpose it. It is the moment when business looses touch with reality and forgets about the basic product or service it provides turning its attention in a disproportional way to add-ons. It is the moment when the internal communication fails and the management team ceases to be just that – a team.
As I wrote already: communication is a crucial element here. In a startup it is, I think, always good at the beginning, when it is a small group of founders and first hires. Once a company develops past certain size – and especially if it becomes spread geographically – a dedicated, careful effort is necessary to prevent it from deteriorating.
Lack of this effort can be dangerous.