Question: What do you think about employment contracts and non-compete agreements?
Answer: My perspective on this subject has changed over the years. Earlier in my career I believed in these documents and what they represent. I also looked for ways to create “golden handcuffs” for employees and associates which are basically incentives for keeping people from leaving. No longer.
I have now adopted the philosophy that I don’t want to coerce anyone to work in our various companies. They either want to be there or they don’t. No longer do I obsess over whether people come and go. I decided that I need to do everything possible to create value for our team – so much value that team members can’t go anywhere else and receive as much. Gone are the employment contracts and non-competes. We do use employment letters and independent contractor agreements to simply provide a written record of compensation and other important elements that need to be clearly understood. Non-disclosure agreements also seem reasonable if there is highly proprietary information at stake.
The whole premise of creating value for the team has produced a high-wire act for me – one which I wholeheartedly embrace. I can’t spend one minute resting on my laurels or kicking into a coasting mode. Instead, I must constantly be creative and innovative. I have to constantly be a coach and a mentor. I have to be strategic and visionary on a daily basis. Doesn’t this create unbelievable pressure? NO! It pushes me to be better every minute of every day. If I fail to perform, my teammates will look to see if there is a better value proposition elsewhere. And I don’t blame them.
I’ve been asked what prevents someone from coming on board with the intent to ultimately leave and start his or her own business. And my response is . . . so what? I revert to my initial statement. I’m passionate about providing more value for our team than they can get in another venue – including their own. Perhaps we can accommodate someone who has a goal of owning/running their own business; after all we have eight companies under our umbrella. We’ll happily partner with a budding entrepreneur in our midst that has a good solid idea for a business venture. And if someone has his or her heart set on striking out on their own, we have made a great friend; received value from that individual during their tenure, and may have an opportunity to cross paths again.
The high-wire act requires a great deal of confidence and a complete lack of fear. It has taken me years to get there, but I can testify to the amazing results that are being produced from this mindset.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.