You Empower What You Fear

14 Apr

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.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 14, 2007 in Biz/Tech, Career, Links


One response to “You Empower What You Fear

  1. snand

    April 16, 2007 at 2:53 am

    a beautiful thought and can enrich organizations if practiced.The question is,who will take the responsibility of networking with those who left,when it is not much with those who are still with such companies.
    why not initiate initiatives for making associates own the orgn ,when they are there?In such a case,the organization will not have to make effort to keep in contact ,if the associate leaves for some valid reasons for betterment(and not resentfully),then they will make efforts to remain in touch.
    The best person to make it happen is not HR but the Manager ,who gets the associate to do everything for him.


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