It’s a problem most start-ups would love to have: “mid-flight fatigue.” It’s a fairly common ailment.
A startup captures the world by storm, enjoys a rapid rise, and instead of crashing and burning, simply stalls out. The firm doesn’t hemorrhage money, but the customers are no longer flooding in. It doesn’t lay off employees, but it doesn’t hire a bunch of new ones either.
In other words, the aircraft reaches a comfortable – albeit boring – cruising altitude.
A recent example comes to us via Foursquare via Fast Company. Foursquare, as you may know, allows you to tell your friends where you are on social networks. As a start up, it’s not doing too bad. There’s just one problem: the mavericks who were instrumental in the company’s initial success are, well, bored. For example, one of its first employees, business development head Tristian Walker, is leaving the company for more exciting pastures.
Which is what brings us to a fact of life that should be a must-read clause to any piece of startup advice: startups tend to attract adrenaline junkies. Many are in it for that immediate thrill ride, and once they’ve peaked, it’s on to the next rush.
And while that may spell good news in terms of short-term profitability, it may not bode well for long-term sustainability. The takeaway? Intelligent, forward-looking strategic planning, succession management programs that can absorb the loss of “rock star” employees, and career management plans that incentivize existing employees to stick around for the long, turbulent-free ride.