Over the past two months, I have written about firing and hiring your IT Guy. Whether your business has an on-staff IT department or simply calls a friend when there’s a technology problem, you know who I’m talking about when I refer to “the IT Guy.” We depend on the people who step into this role… not only do they keep everything with a cord operational, but they may hold the keys to the kingdom when it comes to technology resources such as passwords and cloud-driven email systems. Both columns I recently wrote encouraged caution, over-communication, and patience. Technology plays a vital role in our businesses, and making a change in who cares for it is a delicate process.

This month I wanted to steer away from the technicalities of IT Guys, get back to the heart of the matter, and write about burning bridges.

I see only two real reasons to burn a bridge – either we never want to be able to retreat back over in the future, or we want to prevent someone else from following us over it. Either way, bridge burning is a serious and often life-altering decision. It seems that we are often all too hasty to forcefully end relationships because of much more trivial reasons – we can’t stand someone’s attitude, a project failed, or a commitment made wasn’t kept. 

These issues are serious, no doubt, but are they worth the cost of cutting a relationship off at its knees? Are we perhaps taking the easy way out by firing a vendor, terminating an employee, or breaking a contract just to get away from conflict?

Over the course of the past two months, I’ve received more feedback on my articles than ever before. We didn’t suddenly get a dozen new clients or get fired by any, but it did start some conversations about the hassle and pain that we retrospectively feel after making hasty decisions around business relationships. I’ve been digging into my own connections as well. While I don’t have any vendors worth firing or clients I need to cut off from my business, there are some things from the past that I’d be better off leaving there than dragging around with me and my business for years to come. There are also some “difficult” relationships that I’ve been avoiding that are probably worth salvaging, even if some hard talks will need to be had.

What about you? Are you too quick to burn bridges, or do you perhaps need to burn a few in order to leave some things from the past where they belong. I’d enjoy hearing your story.

Written by Chet Cromer for publication in the Business Leader