Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fight Back or Move On - What's an Association Executive to Do?

The city fired the general manager of its convention center a week or so ago. It puzzled lots of folks, especially the local paper. There has been all kinds of media speculation about the cause.

Now, the media reports that the general manager has filed a grievance with the city. The letter says the general manager was not given an opportunity to address the claims made against her. And, according to the paper, the letter states the firing has damaged her reputation, her career and her employment prospects.

Based on personal experience, my advice to the general manager would be “let it go.”

CEOs or top executives getting fired happens fairly frequently in the association and nonprofit world. A successful CEO gets fired. Some people grumble. Others wonder why. Life goes on.

When a large international association fired my boss and I back in 1992, I was really angry. 

The day I was fired happened to be the same as my daughter’s high school graduation so we had family and friends at home. At graduation that night, I spotted a former colleague, went over to him and shared the news of the firing and how I certainly wouldn’t forget this day. He let me talk. When I finished, he looked at me and said, “My dad died this morning.” Talk about a wake up call. I least I could find another job; he couldn’t get another father.

It was then I realized that I had to get through bitter to get better. So, I put my focus on searching for a new job and not focusing on why I was fired.

About that same time I read – I think it was in Built from Scratch that Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus (co-founders) – about the lesson of the destructive results of suing your former employer. 

Your time is a nonrenewable resource.

You can use your time to move forward or fight backward.

Which do you feel is more productive?

In addition to “wasting time” when you get lawyers involved and fight back, such actions also create a reputation that follows you for years ... and could impact your future employment.

I don’t know this general manager but if I did, I would share this advice. Focus on what’s next.

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