I was chatting with long standing mate the other day over a beer. A few months ago he left a company and was looking for some career advice and to vent about some difficult circumstances he had faced since leaving. He left his former company on his own accord. His reasons were entirely centred around how the company was conducting their business; their increasing lack of integrity. Whilst there were a number of contributing factors, but he left with his head held high. He worked in Business Development and in his position he dealt with a number of customers. Of course, he was bound by non-compete clauses.
Despite plenty of ammunition, when my mate left he made a conscious decision to take the higher ground, he did not badmouth his former employer (when believe me he could have taken them through the courts for any number of inappropriate actions). When he left he made some courtesy calls to his clients, informed them that he had left, thanked them for their business, and hoped that one day their paths would cross again. Of course, he was very good at what he did and the clients insisted that they learn of where he was moving to. He thanked them for their well wishes, and informed them that he was bound by non-compete clauses and despite “their increasing difference of opinions” , was thankful to his former employer for giving him the opportunity to enter his now chosen industry. He wanted to respect this clause. He was going to take some time, refresh and then make a decision as to what to do and where to go. Quite an honorable position I thought.
But how do you think the former employer acted? No surprise they were shit scared and acted in some of the most unprofessional & appalling manner. In fact there were some instances that were outright illegal. This included calling all his clients and lying (not untruth’s, flat out lies).
His former employer clearly forgot, that Owners of Businesses are Owners because they are resourceful. They could not believe what they were hearing and tracked down my mate and asked for his explanation. He informed them of the actual (not fictional) order of events and thanked them for letting him know. Again he pulled his punches and did not badmouth his former employer.
The obvious follow up from the clients was, “Where are you working now?”
“Still just working things out”.
A long story short this same scenario happened no less than 5 times with some pretty important and influential clients in his industry.
A few months have passed now since my mate is getting ready to re-enter his industry. He is refreshed and excited and glad that he was not been dragged into an unnecessary and unproductive “he said she said argument”. And what about his ex-employer? 5 out of those 6 clients have flatly refused to take another call from the company he used to work for. Simply because their actions lacked integrity.
I’m not overly familiar with the industry that he works in but I’m guessing two things are going to happen. My mate will pick up where he left off, relationships intact, actually strengthened due to his professionalism. His former employer will probably have a big chunk of their bottom line missing, lost forever and a significantly tarnished reputation. All because of a little thing called INTEGRITY.