We've heard a lot over the last couple of years about companies that are "too big to fail." What I'm concerned with is companies that are "too big to succeed."
A decade ago I did work for a small, rapidly growing internet company. The CEO told me a story. He said that when they were about 50 people, the coffee guy would come in, leave his cart and allow people to take their own coffee and donuts. At the end of the day the coffee guy usually had more money than he would have had had he monitored things. In other words, people were honest. They were accountable. They took something and they paid for it. Chances are if they hadn't enough money on Tuesday, they'd still take their danish and wind up paying double on Wednesday.
Now, he continued, when companies get larger than that, dishonesty creeps in. People say, someone will cover my arse. Or, it's not my problem. Or most likely, this business doesn't reflect me, I take what I need.
More and more I'm coming to the conclusion that the right size for an agency is about 200 people or so. More than that and there are departments that exist solely to monitor other departments. You have people who don't know the people in charge. You have loyalty to a fief not the whole. You also have entities like HR which destroy souls and lives because that's their job.
I look around at the holding companies. I don't wonder how such things are ostensibly good for stockholders, but for clients and people?
Of course I know I'm right. But I might as well talk to a brick.