How Do You Build A Large Company When Your Top Employees Are Leaving?

Have you ever heard the story of “The Traitorous Eight?” You can read about The Traitorous Eight here.

I’ll give you a quick overview to save you some time.

Back in the mid 1950’s, a brilliant scientist and Nobel Prize winner named William Shockley started a company called Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories. The company was based in the Silicon Valley.

Shockley’s goal was to develop new semiconductor devices, so he recruited a very talented team to help with his work. The team included:

  • Julius Blank
  • Victor Grinich
  • Jean Hoerni
  • Eugene Kleiner
  • Jay Last
  • Gordon Moore
  • Robert Noyce
  • Sheldon Roberts

Shockley may have been a brilliant scientist, but he apparently was a horrible manager. The eight men (Blank, Grinich, Hoerni, Kleiner, Last, Moore, Noyce, and Roberts) quit Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories in 1957 to found a new company.

The name of the company they founded was Fairchild Semiconductor. Moore (Yes, that Moore of Moore’s law) and Noyce went on to found Intel. Kleiner went on to found venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

So why are your employees leaving to form competitive companies?

There are a couple of possibilities. Both of which brings us back to The Traitorous Eight:

A. Maybe you’re not a good manager? There’s a reason people leave a company, and one of the reasons is bad management.

I would start by taking a long hard look at your company culture. A bad company culture is a major reason companies fail and people leave.

What else could cause people to leave?

B. Maybe your company isn’t doing well in the marketplace. Your employees will eventually leave if the business is failing in the market. you can be a great manager, but, eventually people will leave if you’re not executing.

Shockley was, by all accounts, a poor manager. Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories was failing.

So get introspective. Take a really good at yourself. Hopefully the problem is your company culture because you can fix your culture.

And the best news of all is fixing your company culture starts with fixing yourself. So get to work.

For more, read: Why Your Startup Culture Is The Key To Your Company's Success 

Is your company stuck?  Maybe I can help.

View original answer on Quora.