As is common for me, I started this morning by reading the profile of one of my friends on LinkedIn who had recently re-connected with me.
At first, it was a pretty standard read, a short summary and an introduction to what she was doing now with her life. And then it got really interesting as she started listing her various successes with her most recent employer. Which to her credit seemed quite grand.
The account that sent me reeling, however, was when I started reading about the various successes she had while working for a friend of mine, a business where I was not only a friend but a client.
Had I known previously, some of the information my friend revealed, I might not have been so quick to refer my friends and family to this business. Does the information, I now know, change the quality of advice or service that was given to my loved ones? Not likely, the business cited and its team is some of the most professional I know in their field. It’s just that now I do know, I’m liable to hesitate before referring anyone else to them.
Did they do something illegal or immoral? No, their only crime was that the GFC had impacted their ability to meet some of their commitments and were falling behind before my friend was able to remedy the situation with some of her skills.
That my friend listed her previous employer by name in LinkedIn will not cause me to stop using the services this business provides for I trust them implicitly in their field, but what if someone I refer isn’t so generous were they to find this information via a Google search.
Worse, what if they start to question the validity of my opinion and advice based on that referral. I might not stop using that business myself, but they may never get another referral from me, not because of something they did but because of my need to protect and manage my own reputation.
Have you checked what your staff, existing and former, are saying about you? Even the good ones might inadvertently be giving away all your secrets.