A young and successful businessman grew more wealthy year after year. But eventually his small business hit a downturn. He tried hiring and firing in the staff positions he suspected of causing him trouble. He brought in a consultant for advice but he didn't agree with the results. Finally, he went his his religious leader, a Quaker clerk, for advice.
His clerk happened to be a patron of his business. That meant the Quaker leader was in a good position to understand the problems. She had no financial interest either, so she could be counted on to remain impartial.
“Why have you come to me?” the clerk asked as they were introduced that morning. She motioned for her parishioner to join her in sitting in wooden chairs, both on the same side of the clerk's desk.
The businessman took a seat. He made himself comfortable and considered his words before he spoke.
“I'm worried about my best manager, Emily,” he said.
“That's a surprise.” The clerk nodded for the speaker to continue. She picked up a teapot that had been sitting on a warmer on the desk. “I've heard nothing but good about Emily.”
“Well, I'm worried about my other manager, too.”
“Really?” The clerk poured a cup of tea. “I have only good reports of him as well.”
“But they talk. They may say bad things about what I've been doing.”
“Are you ready for my advice?” The clerk set down her tea untouched.
“I haven't told you my problem yet.”
“You have told me that you're worried to have good, sweet people work for you because they may say bad things. That tells me enough to give you advice.”