Chip Shots: NDA’s, Boomerang Employees, and Smart Watches

It’s a beautiful Sunday here in New Hampshire. No rain and no heat wave. Not quite as nice as fall, but I’ll take it for August.

Judging from my Facebook feed, lots of my friends are on vacation. And judging from the out-of-office messages in my inbox, lots of folks I do business with have found time to escape, too.

Me? I’m tied up with my day job as COO of CARMA … as well as with a couple of side projects (more on that in the weeks ahead).

Before I dive in to a few thoughts for the week, I’d like to invite anyone who has job openings or is seeking a job to let me know and I’ll aim to include them in the next Chip Shots newsletter. I know this was a popular feature of this space in the past, so I’d like to continue to help making these connections. In the meantime, feel free to check out the latest PR & Communications job list from Media Bullseye.

NDA OVERUSE. I don’t think we have ever seen as much public discussion around NDA’s as we have in recent months. There’s no doubt that NDA’s have a time and place, but they seem to be overused these days. And I’m not just talking about the “hush money” agreements we have heard about in the #MeToo movement and the political world.

It boggles my mind just how common NDA’s have become. Most of the entrepreneurs I talk to (for the purpose of sharing free advice, at their request, or to solicit my participation in their venture) want me to sign an NDA first. Um, no. If your elevator pitch is so valuable that you can’t have an initial conversation about it, then you must have really hit the mother lode. Ultimately, just about every business rises or falls on execution, not the idea, anyway.

But perhaps the silliest is getting asked to sign an NDA in the lobby of a building when you’re simply headed to a meeting — with no regard to what the content of that meeting might be. Seriously? If your corporate crown jewels are on display in the hallway, you have bigger problems than visitors without NDA’s.

BOOMERANG EMPLOYEES. A colleague of mine pointed out a PR Weekarticle that discussed a UK agency that will allow departing employees to return to the firm within the first two months of leaving. This so-called “boomerang” provision is designed to allow anyone below the level of senior manager to have greater freedom of movement.

There are all sorts of interesting questions about how this concept works in the real world, but what really struck me was this quote from Talker Tailor co-founder Gary Wheeldon: “It is the responsibility of me, as business-owner, to show people why they should stay, not to discourage them from leaving or trying something new.”

Now that’s advice to live by for any leader.

A WATCH IS A WATCH. OR IS IT? I really, really want a smart watch to be useful. But no matter how much I try to love the Apple Watch I have had for years, I keep abandoning it. Sure, it’s relatively stylish and comfortable. And yes, it is nice to have when I’m out running since it shows my Runkeeper stats.

But mostly it just annoys me every time it buzzes. So I turned off most notifications, and that helped. But then I realized it wasn’t much more than an expensive digital watch that doesn’t even last 24 hours on a single charge.

And then I go back to an old-fashioned watch.

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