Transparent when transparency wasn’t cool

Here at Imagine, we like to say we’re a different kind of company. Saturn (the car folks, not the planet) used to say that, too. But they’re not around anymore, so we co-opted their tagline. I hope it’s not bad luck.

Of course, when you say things like that, you need to back it up. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard or people will be quick to point out our shortcomings. Recently, we were given yet another opportunity to walk the walk. Ehsan Kaveh, a loyal and valuable team member for more than eight years, resigned a couple of weeks ago to make his way in the world. He handled it in a very professional manner, giving us two week’s notice to ensure a smooth and orderly transition. Most companies, upon getting that kind of news, fire the employee on the spot. My wife worked for a place where a security guard escorted her ex-coworker to her desk and watched while she cleaned it out, making sure she didn’t steal any paper clips or rubber bands. I’ve never understood this kind of thinking. It’s bad for morale and bad for business.

In the past, when I’ve called companies to ask for a particular individual, I’ve been told that person “is no longer with us.” Makes it sound like he or she is dead. Even worse, they never tell you where that person went (whether it’s heaven or a competitor). So I’m left wondering what happened and how it will affect my dealings with the company. It’s also prime breeding ground for rumors. Not a smart way to handle things.

We don’t want to be those guys. We’re more transparent than that. In fact, we were transparent when transparency wasn’t cool (with apologies to Barbara Mandrell). So here’s what happened. Ehsan decided to move on. No hard feelings on either side. We’ll miss him. We wish him well. And the door’s always open for him to come back and visit – especially if he wants to show up with a couple of pizzas around lunchtime.

Brian Rouff is the managing partner at Imagine Marketing.
Contact Brian at

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