Updated Mon, Jul 12, 2010 by Space Junkie
Sometimes a player steps away from EVE Online for a little bit, only to return and find that his corporation or alliance is not faring as well as when he left. At times like this, it is important to step back and assess whether the corporation can be saved. If it cannot, best move on. If it can, read on in this guide to rehabilitating ailing corporations.
A broken corporation tends to get into a negative feedback loop. When some people are motivated, the other rest are not. People leave, sinking tax revenues and PvP force projection. Others see the sinking numbers, perhaps on a site like Dotlan, and figure they should get out while the getting is good. Maybe some corporation assets stick to their hands on the way out, too, making things worse for the people that stay behind. The leadership, in whatever form it takes, sees all of this. And gets burned out on it. He (or they) start to blame the membership for not participating, and do less things as a result.
It is easiest for a corporation to succeed when it is already succeeding, but the reverse is equally true. All of the above trends are self-reinforcing, with plenty of other negative trends developing as side effects. A corporation in a nose dive is in trouble. When a corporation is going down the tubes, what is to be done?
Fixing Broken Leadership
Leadership is the crux of any corporate crisis in EVE Online.
A floundering corporation tends to have the root of its problems in leadership. If members are uninspired, it can usually be traced to absentee leadership, or incompetent leadership. An active CEO that works with his members and is on a first-name basis with his members is going to get a lot more leeway and effort from members than one that only talks to his inner circle, and makes periodic, angry EVE mails to his corporation.
If something goes wrong, people want to see rational accountability. They want to hear why a problem will not happen again. What EVE players do not want to see is finger pointing, paranoia, or pointless invective.
For most corporations, the fix for this is a bitter pill: replace the broken leadership with people that are active and involved. Because running a corporation is usually motivated by ego, this doesn't happen as often as it should. The solution is a compromise: an inactive CEO that is too busy with real life or too burned out to do much with his corporation in EVE can appoint a "temporary acting CEO." This way, the CEO role is being filled, and the old CEO can sate his ego and retrieve the reins of power if he returns. Well, unless the corporation members really, really like the acting CEO. A power struggle between an acting CEO and returning CEO is generally better than the corporation disintegrating due to neglect, believe it or not. Assets disappear and tempers flare, either way. Best to ensure the continuation of effective leadership in order that the corporation can continue to function and exist, even if some milk gets spilt.
Your corporation needs shared assets. Things like starbases, shared blueprints, or loaner mining ships. Whatever. But it needs those assets to not come at the expense of the members, or people will leave for corporations with less greedy revenue models. It may be best to de facto bribe corporation members to be happy.
If part of your problems as a corporation are military or PvP in nature, then subsidizing ships and modules, or producing them and handing them out, are both good ways to remind people why they like their corporation.
If any of this is fiscally impossible, asking for donations, holding mining ops, or wormhole ops (if you have the expertise), are all good ways to garner income for direct use to bolster your players' flagging confidence. A functioning corporation should be spending most of what it takes in taxes on the membership, anyway. Just watch out for freeloaders.