Is it better to burn the bridge or scorch the earth?
The majority of my career has been spent in roles that combined sales, service, and management. I’ve transitioned through several positions in several organizations. Each time I have tried to part ways with as little damage as possible for all involved. Maybe I succeeded, maybe I didn’t, but that was the goal.
I received a voice mail from a previous client recently looking for help. They had no idea I was with a different organization, they just needed some help. Reaching out to my previous district manager I was able to connect the client with a live person to offer them a solution. No burned bridges. No scorched earth. Just an easy connection.
[push] “That was easy.” [push] “That was easy.” My kids can turn an Easy Button into a dance club remix with a quickness. Why shouldn’t it be easy for our customers? If we did business with them in a previous role, but they still think of us when they need help…isn’t that a good thing? I think it is. My wife keeps half-joking, “hey, times are tough.” In many ways she’s right. With this in mind I’ll ask again…why NOT make it easy for people to do business with us? With you as an individual and/or whatever organization you serve at the moment.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I know transitions are difficult. I also believe that burning an occasional bridge might be the healthy thing to do. Bridges can be rebuilt. But scorching the earth? Leaving nothing in your trail but ash and desolation? That permanently alters the landscape.
Have you scorched the earth? It may be worth extending a white flag. The landscape will still be changed, but in environments like this it may be worth the effort.
Have you burned any bridges? It may be time to rebuild.
Are you easy to do business with? It may be time to think this through for yourself as a professional and your organization.
Sometimes I actually feel like I’m putting that Psychology degree to work. And yes, I am still amused that I have a B.S. degree. (No really. It is. Bachelor of Science.)