I was recently approached by a client, who asked to speak to me in confidence. I agreed—and then wished I hadn't. He told me he's launching a new animal-related business and wants me to join his team. I told him I was flattered but declined. I know he's going to approach other team members at our practice with job offers, which could leave us shorthanded. But I promised I wouldn't speak about the new business venture to my practice owner or manager. What should I do?
—SUFFERING IN SILENCE
Jim Collins, author of the Good to Great series, says that one of the keys to business—and personal—success is knowing which once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to seize—and which to let go. While being wanted is always flattering, asking you to simultaneously hide the offer is a moral dilemma. If this were a potential date who claimed to want you but then begged you not to tell your current partner, what would you do? I think the answer is clear. Inform your suitor that you're not interested. Let him know you won't talk about his offer blatantly, but you won't lie if asked—or if his new venture poses a threat to your current position. This has sleazy written all over it. An ethical person would not sneak in as a competitor. If he wants to go elsewhere for pet care, so be it. It's a small consequence for keeping your integrity.—SHAWN