My best friend’s client (used to be mine)

Presentation2With the sole exception of the former CEO of the now defunct Brouillard Communications and my one-time boss, I refuse to hold a grudge against anyone who’s hurt me in my business career (Note: The exact opposite holds true in my personal life but, as I like to say, that’s a different blog for a different day).

I don’t hold business grudges for a seemingly obvious reason: They do neither party any good whatsoever.

And, so, I’ve learned to let go after I’ve been fired by a client, deserted by a key employee or, worse yet, lost a co-worker I considered a good friend who not only joined a key client, but subsequently played a lead role in having us replaced as AOR.

Make, no mistake, though, before I get to the point of burying the hatchet, I first experience all five stages of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief and grieving.

– Denial
– Anger
– Bargaining
– Depression
– Acceptance
Once I’ve purged finally myself of the pain, I make a point of reaching out to, and repairing bridges with, such erstwhile Peppercommers as:

– The one who left us on very good terms but, after reviewing his e-mails, discovered that he actually detested many of us (including yours truly). We’re having drinks in the immediate future, and I’m really looking forward to re-establishing a strong friendship.
– Another one who left, and immediately began recruiting some of our key employees to her new agency. I hugged her the last time we met because, hey, if those employees were going to leave anyway, so be it. I’m glad they’re now working with someone I still like.
– An original Peppercomm partner (and very close friend at the time) who not only departed, but decided to take three clients along with him. “But, Steve,” he said. “They approached me, not vice versa.” Yeah, sure, and Donald Trump thinks before speaking. Today, the one-time turncoat and I meet regularly for drinks and an intense game of squash.

I could cite other examples but, the point is, I’ve patched up my relationships with each individual and, indeed, now enjoy hanging out with them, reviewing the good, old days and discussing the future.

I believe that, when looking back on one’s career and evaluating successes and failures, it’s important to assess how you’ve reacted to serious slights and subsequently handled the situation.

I’m not perfect, but I’ve gotten well past the open wound that was my best friend’s client (who used to be mine). Burying the hatchet is a smart way to approach business, and is especially important for those of you who are new to the profession (Final note: A few, former, disgruntled employees have felt compelled to absolutely slam Peppercomm on Glass Door. In each instance, we’ve ignored the slights since, if we responded, we’d only raise awareness of such nonsense).

In building one’s brand over the years, keep this aphorism in mind: “To err is human. To forgive is divine.”


Your friend, the demi-god of blogging: Steve “Repman” Cody.

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