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Can You Keep a Secret

August 25, 1999
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A few nights ago, I was speaking to a manager about his relationship with the human resources director. He told me he thought the human resources professional could not be trusted.

"Is he not doing a good job?" I asked. "Or does he not understand the business?"

"Neither," said the manager. "He understands everyone's business and everyone knows it."

The manager went on to explain that HR regularly gossiped about how the CEO viewed the performance of various managers.

The story is unfortunate, because HR clearly had access to the channels it needed in order to impact the organization. On the other hand, the HR director was shooting himself in the foot by leaking more secrets than a bribed spy.

It serves as a good reminder that keeping confidential matters confidential can be important not just for legal reasons but to maintain your own value and respect.

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