A friend of mine and I were discussing how everyone we ever knew who worked at a big agency never stays put for longer than a year of so at a time. It’s a tough business, and one in which forming lasting relationships and finding “real” performers is tough to do.
One of the givens is that stellar performers will one day determine their true worth and will leave for greener pastures, or strike out on their own as a competitor. It’s the Agency equivalent of “The Circle of Life.”
What always seems humorous (at least to me) is when Agency principals take offense to this, or better yet, try to enforce a workplace atmosphere to keep this from happening.
What’s funny about it?
Because at one time, the very people who are trying to keep star talent from bailing and going out on their own were once just like the people they’re trying to thwart from doing the exact same thing.
What is so ironic, is that most agency styled consultancies tend to pump up the fact that their talent is what sets them apart… yet they don’t want their talent to become “too talented” – if you catch my drift.
Really, the only curative is that if you want to retain your All-Stars, is that at some point you’ve got to give them some real reasons to stay – stock, options, equity, skin.
Otherwise, you’re only fooling yourself that you’re gonna keep the talent “down on the farm.”
For a good example of how not to handle this scenario, I offer up this chestnut.