S2 EP17 The Chrysalis Effect: How to Survive a Mass Employee Exodus

October 22, 2019

What is The Chrysalis Effect?

Over this season, Remington and Dan have talked about an event in the history of Impulse Creative referred to as The Chrysalis Effect. 

Let's start with what a chrysalis is:

A quiescent insect pupa, especially of a butterfly or moth.

  • the hard outer case enclosing a chrysalis
  • a transitional state

Remington uses the transitional state as his North Star in this story. Impulse went through a severely transitional state in 2014. A team of 9 (including the co-founders Rachel and Remington) was whittled down to 3. 

That fall, Remington had put a person into leadership, who promptly went on vacation and never came back. This person went to a competing agency. Soon after another member of the team "was poached, then incentivized to bring others with them."

At the time, Rachel was expecting their first child, so both leaders at Impulse were beginning to wear parental hats and priorities began to shift. New leadership was meant to ease that transition for the co-founders, while keeping the business moving forward for its clients and incoming clients. 

"We put people in roles just to fit them somewhere," Remington said of the time. "We had people who weren't clear in their communication. We were focused on output, not on how people felt."

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Triggered: Learn Lessons Through History

It's important to learn from history. It's why history classes are critical in school. But it's also why self-reflection is critical to business owners and leaders. 

For Remington, this self-awareness and situational awareness has helped keep the triggers away. The pieces are currently in place just as they were before The Chrysalis Effect. 

  • We're growing - new clients and more revenue
  • We just hired a leadership position - Director of Inbound Juli Durante
  • The Begg family is expanding
  • It's the same time of year

Without keeping their eyes on the past while moving forward in knowledge, Rachel and Remington could easily feel the familiar anxiety or negativity of the situation, caving into triggers and shutting down. 

Instead, they're charging forward with wisdom and compassion, and working to keep communication open among the crew. 

"The people you hire shouldn't have to earn your trust. You hire them because you trust them. But they need to keep your trust. You're hiring people to do a job. You need to trust that they will." - Remington

You're Going to Skin Your Knees Along the Entrepreneurial Journey

Be Careful What You Wish For

Growth. It's the goal of any business. But sometimes the growth we hope for isn't the growth we plan for. Remington reflected on aggressive growth tracks for businesses, including the track Impulse Creative was on just prior to The Chrysalis Effect. 

HubSpot's case study on Impulse Creative lays out the history well. 3X increase in revenue in 2 years. 6X increase in retainer client revenue in 2 years. 5.3X increase in monthly leads year over year. 

"This sounds exciting for anyone who doesn't do it," Remington said. "Six-X growth is really uncontrollable in a lot of cases." 

The growth Impulse experienced push the team and the leadership to its limits. Remington believes a large part of The Chrysalis Effect came directly from this growth chapter in Impulse's story.

The lesson: Be careful what you wish for. Controlled growth is better than chaos.

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