Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cone of silence

I used to enjoy watching the 60s TV show "Get Smart", a spoof on secret agents. While there were many gags that stood out, one enduring one was the "Cone of Silence". Taking many physical forms, often absurd, the device's purpose was to keep the conversation private.

A technology manager needs to keep certain conversations private. You need a cone of silence with your team, where they know they can trust you to keep their confidence. This is truly important, as you'll want your reports to share all information with you, regardless of how difficult or sensitive. Sometimes its as a group, sometimes its 1-on-1.

This cone of silence also applies to networking groups, where trusted relationships allow group members to share sensitive information with each other. You only need one member to carelessly share information with a vendor to break this trust. While I belong to a number of social networks, its the trusted ones that I most rely on. I can share real concerns without fear of disclosure or reprocussions.

While Maxwell Smart's cone of silence seemed always to fail, you'll need to make sure your teams and contacts have a working cone of silence with you.

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