The brouhaha about the most recent WikiLeaks release of State Department cables and the secrets they reveal has been in all the news, recently.
What would happen if the same thing happened with your company?
What if every internal email among your executive officers were published for everyone in the company to read?
Would it be a secret that IT had no respect for the endusers throughout the company?
Or that Customer Service thought Finance was too restrictive, ok anal, about their customer credit criteria?
Or would anyone be shocked, shocked they'd say to hear that the CFO thought the CMO clueless and his most recent marketing ideas would generate no ROI.
And everyone thought the Board of Directors were what and did what?
Would you be really surprised at the infighting, name-calling and childish positioning?
How many would be shocked, shocked they say to hear that key decisions were made based on politics and whose buddy you are. Everyone seemed to data, results, logic and feedback from those implement the policies and those who suffer under them?
No one, really.
Now, wouldn't those same executives or their minions claim corporate secrets were revealed and their ability to negotiate with vendors hampered by these revelations of what everyone knew but no one could acknowledge?
These secrets and the unspoken, unwritten rule in the employee manual that everyone play along pretendng they are secrets are like the child's tale: The Emperor's New Clothes. In that tale, everyone told the king his non-existent cloak is gorgeous and he is handsome while wearing it. That's what the king wanted to hear. And telling the king what he wanted to hear was how you curried favor. Finally, a child pointed out there was no cloak; the king was nekid. N-E-K-I-D. Nekid.
Guy Kawasaki had a list of 10 ways to create employee evangelists. One way was to open the kimono; show everyone the reality. My point here is there is no kimono there. The company's culture is already transparent, nekid. Everyone already sees. Everyone sees clearly. Everyone already knows and discusses it. Only a few select people demand the illusion be maintained.
That's where employee dis-engagement begins. It's the source of cynicism and distrust. It's where the passion and motivation are lost. It's the starting point for people to actively undermine a company's brand.
So, now let's acknowledge what's seen. And what it does or doesn't do. And what it could do if everyone joined in. We're all adults.
It will be a bumpy ride. Like the faux fainting spells, and the and the senatorial grandstanding with the WikiLeaks there will be those in your company who want to keep secrets, whose career and influence are built on maneuvering those secrets like chairs on the Titanic. Help them understand they are capable and talented and you are there to help. Show them what's possible when everyone works together. It's change and the lack of control they fear.
And if they can't understand it then...rescue yourselves. Man the lifeboats and let them stay with the sinking ship and their precious chairs.
I guess my point is that the 'secrets' revealed in WikiLeaks are not secrets if you just read the news on a regular basis.