Working Vacation Day 1

I drove to Maine, yesterday. Just me and Magoo. (Elaine took her own car.) I made a few phone calls during the 2 hour drive, but that still left some time for my mind to wander and as often happens, come up with blog topics. So, in addition to the phone calls, the evaluation review, and review the Sales All Star applications that I have scheduled, it looks like I’ll have some posting to do during my vacation.

First up…….POACHING!

Dictionary.com gives these definitions, but I’m thinking much more specifically. I’m asking specifically about a person who would get involved with an organization, then start a competitive organization and steal members, customers, employees, ideas or anything else.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m a wicked capitalist. I’m very competitive even when it’s not apparent. I left a collection agency to start my own because I had a better idea. I didn’t solicit my former employers clients. When I meet salespeople and executives that are clients of other Objective Management Group Distributors, I tell them great choice and leave them alone.

I’m talking about a person who pretends to be one thing, but acts otherwise.

Am I trying to look at the world through rose colored glasses, or does this kind of two-faced behavior bother you, too?

Sorry for the vagueness. I don’t want to call anybody out. It just bugs me. I’m over it. Thanks.

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8 thoughts on “Working Vacation Day 1

  1. Rick.I can relate. I came across an opportunity a few months back where let’s call him “Charles Hurley” was working with them – since he was a distributor I backed off. Then just this week I find out from an opportunity that I had been working with that “Charles Hurley” is in there. I asked the client if they told him that we had been speaking for months – yes they said but it didn’t seem to bother him? Should I now wage war with CH?

  2. Frank, not many people have as high standards as you. My guess is that “Charles” needs the business more than you and will lower his ethical standards to get it. The answer to your question is actually in Guy Kawasaki’s book, How To Drive Your Competition Crazy. After you read the book, ask yourself, “Is he a worthy adversary?”

  3. …except that you’re not ‘over it’ or you wouldn’t be whining about it. Hmmm… “then start a competitive organization and steal members, customers, employees, ideas or anything else.” So – this is a pretty specific incident and not a general call to join in complaining about all the times a customer got ‘stolen’ but a call to join in whining about somebody who went out and started a competitive organization. I enjoy your blog tremendously when you offer insights and advice on what I can to to be a better business person. When you’re complaining about something that happened to you, or to an organization that you belong to, it’s just an invitation to all your readers to join in the whining, and that doesn’t give anything of any value to anybody. And when you give in to the impulse to trash someone, especially when you resort to the oh-so-juvenile tactic of giving enough details so lots of your readers know who you’re trashing but then you say, “I’m going to be a big person and not name names,” well, I can get this kind of stuff from any angry, pimply adolescent. Tell your whiny self to go and sit in the closet, and find your better self and let him speak – he’s the one I listen to and respect.

  4. Rick,Talk about amazing timing. Thank you for serving up this topic. I was recently accused of poaching talent. Of course the accusation wasn’t made to me personally but the grapevine clued me in on the gossipy details. Maybe “What Gossiping Says About You” would be a great topic for a future post. I think if a person is going to attack someone’s character they should at least be sure to do so face to face. Okay, enough of my venting and on to my thoughts on poaching.Poaching, I believe, is an emotional defense mechanism that the person who sees himself as a victim claims for a perceived violation of trust. Unfortunately it is almost always a misplaced and fallacious response. We live in a free market and free agency economy where ideas, talent, customers and capital flow to where they are best served. In the case of talent moving to a competitor the perception of poaching carries with it the insistence that the supposedly “poached” employer was infallible and serving all the employee’s needs. The poaching argument completely ignores the employee’s right to choose his employer in favor of a scenario akin to indentured servitude and eternal loyalty to his current firm. In most cases the employee was already eager for a new opportunity and happenstance rather than maliciousness intervened. The lesson here, stay in tune with your most valuable talent and be sure you are providing opportunities for him to grow with your firm.The same can be said of poaching clients. (Note: Let’s be clear that industrial espionage such as stealing client lists or other confidential information should and is in many cases treated as criminal behavior. And rightly so.) You have no divine right to your clients. Your clients give you money in exchange for a good or service that meets their needs. If you should fail to meet their needs they will leave you. If someone comes along and meets their needs better, faster, cheaper than you do…guess what? That’s right your customers will leave you.The emotional defense mechanism of calling this phenomenon “poaching” comes in when the new firm in town has had some level of intimate knowledge of your business. Maybe a former employee left in search of his entrepreneurial dream and decides to capitalize on the skill set he developed over the years in your industry. Isn’t it natural that he will market his product or service to a similar customer population? If your customers respond to his new offering doesn’t this say more about you and your business than the new competitor’s integrity?

  5. Rick,I think that there’s poaching, and there’s poaching paranoia. The indentured servitude Mike refers to is cemented by non-disclosures, non-competes, etc. Case in point:A recruiting company decided to start a sales outsourcing organization. I met with the owner to let him pick my brain since I have some experience in this area. A couple of months later I decided I should start my own sales outsourcing business – it’s not the same focus that they have, because like you, Rick, I have a better idea. Long story short, I have some red tape delays with my local government, get a call from the recruiter who has just signed their first client, and decide I’ll do temp sales for them for three months while I work through things on my end. I show up to get going and there’s a stack of documents and the Sales VP holding his pen out to me: an offer letter saying I need to return any documents from former employers I have (weird), a non-compete saying I can’t even work in sectors they might think about entering sometime in the future, fines of $300 per day for not wiping properly… oy vey. I know more about their business than they do, and I’m going to sign these? No thanks, next!Maybe recruiters are just paranoid, or constantly getting burned? Oh wait, I never mentioned to them that I was planning to start a “competing” business – I can hear the gossip already…

  6. Rick..If people would consider how the “Golden Rule” applies to life…they might not have to worry about poachng and/or whining….Besides, I don’t think your blog was so much about whining as about stating facts for comments and input from which anyone can learn or get ideas from…..

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