Chapter 8. Right Is Right: Taking the High Road behind the Scenes
It's easy to claim to have integrity; however, it's far more difficult to shore up your integrity when there's a lot on the line. And like so many things in life, terrible circumstances can split your being into two hemispheres: that of emotion, and that of intellect.
Eric Bartow is a lovely young man who worked for us as an assistant golf pro at the Longaberger Golf Club in his early 30s. He's an athletic, blond-haired, blue-eyed father of a darling little boy; a great guy whose rapport with customers was fantastic, helping to garner the affections of legions of golfing guests. We love him and know that, while with us, Longaberger benefited from his hard work, cheerful attitude, and determination to put the customer first.
But like so many U.S. businesses in the economic downturn of those years, dipping revenues meant it was imperative for us to streamline our operations. We needed to trim down, and we knew it would be painful. In the offices and boardrooms of our corporate headquarters, decisions to slash operating expenses were being made, and sadly, Eric's position was on the list.
Knowing he had a wife and young child at home—and that he was truly an asset to the company—I didn't want to let him go. I hedged and procrastinated the inevitable for several reasons, not the least of which was that Eric had great customer service skills; he was a valuable member of our extended family, making his release knotty and troublesome. ...