Friday, August 23, 2013

Just between us...


"Mum's the word."
At some point each of us must decide whether we're trustworthy or not. Who isn't guilty of an occasional white lie? Trust is a different matter. The simplest
test to prove if one is trustworthy is whether one can keep a secret. Whether privy to an intimate personal confidence
or proprietary business fact, we all know something others don't. The question is... what do we do with it?

"Your secret is safe."
As we all take on responsibilities in life and work, along comes the gravitas of knowing more than others. Whether it's a confession shared by a dear friend or some negotiation in process at the office, all require that we keep them confidential. And yet, who can't resist the thrill that proprietary information gives you? Being "in the know" gives one the competitive edge and therefore makes it very difficult to NOT share some tidbit. 
"Does it really matter?"
We've all made excuses for errors in judgement. After all, does it really make a difference if one shares a teeny, tiny bit of the story? The fact is probably YES. One never knows who you're going to run into. Nor who might be sitting near you in a bar or in front of you on a plane. Suddenly a casual conversation amongst friends or colleagues becomes a powerful source of data for somebody you don't even know.
"I had no idea."
Often in my effort to to help someone 
I care about, I've blabbed something 
that I had no right to share. Confidences 
are part of some one's journey towards 
truth. While one might bitterly divulge a
secret today, most move quickly on to 
a better place. Sharing their moment in 
time with anybody else may adversely
impact the ultimate outcome. So, if you
don't want to cause a divorce, shut up.
"Who knew?"
The fact is you don't know who knows what. So even sharing a small bit of the story with a colleague may be inappropriate. Where many of us err is e-mail! For whatever reason most seem to think it's a temporal rather than very permanent venue. Time for a wake up call - ALL of your e-mails are company property. ALL are archived and ready to be read, reviewed, and subpoenaed by others.
So do yourself a favor - think before you write and remember... the less said the better!