I intended to post on a different topic today, but many of people that read blog posts do not read the comments and unfortunately, many of the best thoughts are in the comments and therefore go unnoticed. Such is the case with yesterday’s post. Frank, Catie, Mike and Tom made great points that would be missed if nobody read them.
Do appearances matter? Does reputation matter? Do business owners have any obligation to their brethren? I used to work for a furniture store. I knew several co-workers who had come from other furniture store jobs and frankly, I watched a few co-workers go to work at other stores. I don’t consider any of that poaching. However, one of my more respected co-workers left to start his own store. If he had approached me or any of my co-workers to go with him, I’d have considered that poaching. Here’s where we might diverge. If I had approached him about going with him, and he allowed me to come, I’d consider that poaching. Some might consider it free market, but in reality we probably wouldn’t know each other if not for our former employer. If my potential employer were to mention it to my current employer, notice all the good that happens. My former employer has the opportunity to see if he can satisfy my needs. He has the opportunity to replace me if he agrees that I should go. More importantly, how does the second approach affect our former employer’s opinion of my potential employer? Wherever I wind up, doesn’t it appear that my potential employer wants to ‘play nice in the sandbox’? Does that matter? If the former employer has the opportunity to announce both of us leaving to the rest of the salespeople, doesn’t that eliminate any possibility of a misunderstanding? Wouldn’t that forestall any rumors and gossip?
There’s those rose colored glasses again! I opine that employers and owners should answer to higher standards than their employees, thus setting the example and the bar.
Incidentally, Mike suggested that I post about gossip. I think that somebody should, perhaps NLE, but I’m not sure that I should. My one liner might be, “Is gossip a signal that you’re being misunderstood?”
Finally, many of you know that I spent 20 years as a bill collector. You may not know that I felt that it was a sin that that industry should exist. People (and companies) should just pay their bills, but more importantly, sellers should sell what they can deliver, deliver what they sell, not sell to prospects that shouldn’t buy and make sure that EVERYBODY UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING BEFORE THE DEAL IS DONE. Then make sure the paperwork mirrors the deal. If buyers and sellers bought and sold thoroughly, lawyers would have a lot less to do.
So, in closing, Tom, you probably did the right thing by not taking that job. The documents shouldn’t have been a surprise. You should have known what was in them before you showed up to work, but what would have happened if you had called the owner that you met with and said, “Hey, Mr. Owner. I’m gonna be a competitor, but my local government has some red tape and I need to eat. Would you like me to help you on a temporary basis for a few months until I get set up?” Would he have refused immediately or would you have had a discussion about what happens after? Either way, wouldn’t that be cleaner?
Thank you ALL for reading and playing.