Sins of a Solar Spymaster #45 - Advice for a New CEO
It's been an interesting couple of weeks for me. I'm on the verge of
retiring from law at the ripe old age of 31, leaving Washington, DC for
Madison, WI, and have bought a house there in preparation for the
end-of-July move. Perhaps sensing this abrupt and radical upward tick
in my aggregate amount of free time, Darius JOHNSON, long-time CEO of
Goonfleet/Goonwaffe (and leader of [LODRA] alliance) has decided to
step down, leaving me officially in the Hot Seat, in charge of
thousands of Goons.
Many years ago, Remedial, the founder of Goonfleet, stepped down and
left me as the CEO during an era when I was not only lacking the time
to play the game, but when I actively didn't want the job. Then there
were the revelations of CCP corruption surrounding the T20 scandal
which utterly soured me on the spot; after launching a couple of media
'threadnaughts' I resigned in disgust and went on hiatus, returning to
the shadows to guide the alliance without an official title. Given my
previous performance, the bar for 'success' as CEO amounts to 'Don't
flame out inside of a month'. Start the countdown!
Regardless of the past, watching CEOs and other
(either friendly leaders, or by reading the mail of my enemies) has
left me with a surprising wealth of 'other people's experience' to draw
from. The essence of wisdom, I've always said, is learning from the
mistakes of others; I've already been able to put that to good use in
Week One of the Reign of Mittens. Here's what I've figured out thus far:
Generously: Also known as
'Bribe Everyone'. Many alliances are sitting upon substantial sums of
isk; even for those that aren't, there are a number of inexpensive yet
popular programs which you, as CEO, can implement. Free ships for
newbies, increasing reimbursements, logistics services; as a new CEO,
it's important to demonstrate that you are immediately working towards
the benefits of your members.
Stern, not Arbitrary: A new
CEO always has enemies and detractors. Crush them, but not arbitrarily;
set rules and guidelines for behavior. Mine is simple: don't fuck with
the CEO. A corollary of this is never to make an idle threat; if you
promise you will do a thing, do it. EVE corporations are essentially
dictatorships, and you cannot afford to be weak, waffling, or erratic.
Similarly, if there are any manifestly unpopular decisions
you need to
make, do them immediately upon taking office, just as Machiavelli
Teams of Directors: A small
directorate is a moribund directorate. Often, organizations have a
single director of logistics; I hired five. Instead of merely having a
director of in charge of a budget, I hired four people to work on a
'Finance Team'. This minimizes single-person dependencies, and when you
have teams there's enough group excitement that they can produce
results without micromanagement from the CEO.
Democracy Sparingly: There
are times when you need to show that you are willing to listen to the
membership, and times when you need to not even put a decision to
discussion. Too many CEOs get bogged down in democracy, losing their
powers as an autocrat; worse, some issues are simply too divisive to be
put to a vote. Call the occasional poll, but don't let a fetish for
elections dissuade you from direct action. That said, polls can be an
excellent cover to ram through a mostly-popular issue that has a
vehement but small opposition; rather than being the 'Oppressive CEO'
overturning the minority's wishes, you are simply a vehicle of popular
will. A good guideline, however, is to never call a poll you don't
already know the outcome of.
Assets: No CEO should be
without a Wallet Corp for securing financial assets and locking down
critical bpos. There's absolutely no reason to have vast sums of isk
floating around with more than one person having access to it.
the Flag: As a CEO, your job
is to wave the flag of the organization. You must inspire enthusiasm
and loyalty, and that means both going on ops regularly and being a
visible presence, as well as posting updates and frequent
communications to the membership (usually on forums). An active CEO
results in an engaged membership, without
which nothing can be
Emotional Reactions: EVE
Online is full of strong personalities, and nowhere is this more
obvious than the field of diplomacy. Wars can start over injured pride
or an emotional reaction; whenever you find yourself enraged, take a
moment and think - or a few hours. Usually it's better to talk and sort
conflicts out through conversation, because when wars start, it can
take years to end the feud.
Relocation: Every time you
force your alliance or corp to relocate, members will go inactive
simply because moving is a tremendous pain in the ass in EVE. Goonswarm
has suffered from this recently, with three moves in four months; every
time the move is called, a third of the organization goes inactive.
Stay put whenever possible, ideally for at least two months before
moving on again.
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? We'll see if I end up screwing it up
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