The litany of departing White House officials and their tell - all books made me ask why do people leak secrets? This week we will examine that question and see that it is not just politicians who leak. The term is different in the private and business domain but it still packs an emotional punch.
Friends and Family
I vividly remember the first lie I told my parents. I was terrified that they would find out, but as time passed my anxiety declined. Eventually my parents caught me and lectured me on telling the truth and I would nod and say I’m sorry. Lesson learned – lie/leak and just apologize. Life goes on.
Secrets are a euphemism for little white lies. We kid ourselves that broken secrets are not as bad as lies. I would ask the people that trusted us with their secrets if they agree. Listen to how people rationalize telling secrets. They usually start their statement with don’t tell anyone but XYZ person told me they did X. Gossip/white lies feel good for the gossiper but they hurt the subject of the gossip. We need to be aware of this impact and realize that an apology is not enough.
The financial press has reported numerous stories about data breaches at retail and financial firms. The stories make good copy and they concern us all. Is the problem technology and Russian trolls or is it our fixation with creating systems that allow us to make more money? Our experience shows that the problems are a combination of making money and our struggles with the truth. The SEC identified insider - trading claims before there were Internet trolls and social media.
I meet with many financial advisors who want to tell me about their largest clients. It ’s a badge of honor for the advisor but I’m certain their clients would feel differently. My advice is to treat client names and data like the CIA treats its cases using the CIA Triad.
At the end of the day the only person we can trust is our self. We should get that right first and apply it to other areas of our life and business to plug the leaks. Sorry only goes so far.