Thanks to Christiane Amanpour popping up on my Facebook wall, today I learned that Zalmay Khalilzad thinks the U.S. Embassy in Kabul needs new staff. This has as come about as a result of Wikileaks releasing important communiques it obtained that show how our international staff work and report, and how they communicate their opinions of their working relationships with others.
I'm not opining on the fact the information was leaked...
I'm talking about internal documents that expose the kind of work place communication that takes place in every organization, how they are managed and secured. We all know cases where a leaked email or memo has been instrumental in breaking down confidence, trust, rapport and relationships.
You have a dependent leader who needs you for his survival, he is the only leader you have. You don't discredit him, you don't undermine him, unless you have a better alternative. We haven't had a better alternative than Karzai, and yet some of our officials have made a sport of maligning him. ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski
Maligning... not a vocabulary word you hear all that often, but certainly one that carries a lot of weight. Then you have the issue of even very senior people leaking very sensitive stuff. Sometimes the leak is the secret recipe but often it's confidential employee information that leads to uncomfortable walks down the hall, unbearable appearances in the employee lounge, stress, sleepless nights, absenteeism, resignation, EEOC complaints.. Sometimes it's a hole in security.
The lessons currently being played out on center world stage are hard to swallow but beautiful and important.
Is your communication part of the problem not part of the solution?
Do you use disclaimers on sensitive communications that clearly indicate they are not to be shared with those not on the original distribution list?
Does your company handbook provide clear guidelines for the dissemination of communication?
Are there communications floating around about an individual that should be addressed with that person - in person?
Is transparency lacking in your organization, everyone tiptoes around issues and is there a lot of whispering going on?
Does every new hire sign a confidentiality agreement?
Consider learning from a super power and revisiting the communication and confidentiality policies in your organization before a leak occurs that sheds the light of poor protocol and unfortunate embarrassment on it and sends your corporate equivalent to Secretary of State reeling to apologize to your most valued working partners and employees.