Charles Green talks eloquently about why Non-compete agreements are bad. Along the way, he makes a particularly strong point:
People live up—or down—to expectations. You see it in kids. You see it when you approach a dog—if you fear the dog, it will growl and bark; if you approach in a friendly manner, you get the tail-wag response. In this regard, ich bin ein canine, and so are most other people.
What’s the alternative? Simple.
- If you really care about the employee who left, then be happy for him/her. If you’re not happy for them, then cut out the crap in your website where it says you believe in people development, because you don’t—you believe in the development of “human capital,” an oxymoron. People know the difference. Capital doesn’t.
- If you’re happy for them but wish they hadn’t left, then find out why they left and fix it before the next one leaves. If you don’t want to fix it, then go buy a lottery ticket. The odds of effectiveness are about the same.
- Make alumni of the people who leave. Your college didn’t go all resentful on you when you graduated; they didn’t make you sign a non-compete about getting a master’s from another university. And when your college phones you to contribute to the fund years later, you still do! (And if you don’t, it’s because your college needs to read this blog). Think of people who leave as graduating advocates of your company—not as disloyal double agents.
- Let everyone know that you run the company on the basis of rules 1 through 3 above. And tear up the non-compete forms.
There are of course some valid exceptions, mainly in the hard sciences and tech businesses. But the rest? Marketing execs? Consultants? Bankers? Please.
Read the full thing here.