From the desk of Joanne Linden
Keeping a Company Secret
Nearly Cost Me My Marriage!
I discuss certain confidential matters with my manager daily, and he relies on my discretion in not divulging them. Over the years my career as an Executive Assistant has led me to be part of “ behind closed doors” discussions; some which included letting employees go, tough sales negotiations, company purchases and sales of companies. I take pride in the fact that I am a trusted confidante, a person that can keep a secret and understand the ethical boundaries needed to be in the inner circle of trust. It’s been hard at times, especially when co-workers and friends are caught up in a downsizing, but one secret I kept nearly cost me my marriage.
At the time I was the EA to the CEO of a telecommunications company back in the 80’s, and was privy to confidential information related to the sale of our company. I remember being both excited and nervous as to what was going to happen to my job and the sales transaction which brought teams of executives and analysts through our office. I recall daily being asked “Joanne, what’s going on? Are we selling the company? Is there a layoff coming?” Being my managers’ confidante, I took my role seriously, to the point that I didn’t even tell my husband what was going on.
As life would have it, my husband was between jobs, and 30 days before the announcement of our company being sold, our van broke down and needed repairs totaling over $4500. Timing was terrible, and it was money we did not have or could borrow. My husband suggested we sell some of my company stock to cover the repairs, but being an insider I could not sell nor could I tell him why I could not. My husband was so mad at me because he thought I was just being stubborn. It took a lot of courage to say no to my husband, but I couldn’t tell him as it was part of my commitment to my manager that I be discrete. And even though he seemed ready to divorce me, he understood after the facts were made public why I could not say a word. He was proud of me for my integrity and my core values which at times seem so hard to maintain.
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” W. Clement Stone, Author
Star Achievement Series® – Level l Workshop
Starts August 30th, Registration Ends August 24th. (Click here for details)
In my upcoming workshop for the Star Achievement Series® Level l, fall program, module 3 by example (one of four workshop modules in the series) will cover building a partnership with your manager. Managers rely on their staff for everything from project follow-through to ensuring internal and external customers are served appropriately. A manager’s daily effectiveness is increased or decreased depending on the staffs’ skill, knowledge and ability. Employees are dependent on managers to provide clear, specific direction. They need managers to communicate the expectations so they can meet those expectations. Star teams don’t just happen overnight. They are created. Most often, the responsibility for building a stellar team is placed upon the administrative professional. You Will Learn To:
• Embrace the qualities of good team players
• Be a good team player
• Clarify your manager’s expectations and perceptions
• Communicate accurate, timely and relevant information
• Initiate conversation with your manager
• Explore hidden communication and the effects on the team relationship
• Give positive feedback to your manager
• Listen, not just hear
Can you keep a secret?
Here are 5 ideas for keeping your trust bond intack:
1. Don’t gossip. If you are around co-workers who like to tell stories, remember they are probably including you in the rumor mill too. Be polite, but walk away.
2. When someone asks you for information that is considered confidential, be polite and answer “I’m sorry, but my manager relies on my discretion on activities surrounding this office.”
3. When a friend or coworker is involved in a layoff or downsizing which you know about, but can’t tell them; and they approach you, don’t lie, but do say if true “your friendship means a great deal to me, but my duties require me to be discrete regarding company matters.” You could go on to say “Just keep your eyes and ears open for the next 30 days.” And if your friend is smart, they will get your answer.
4. When out to lunch with coworkers, and talk turns to “what’s going on at the office,” remember you don’t know who is sitting around you. Keep company information to areas that aren’t public.
5. If you are using a company laptop at home or for travel, make sure you password protect your files and if possible encrypt them to protect from prying eyes. It’s a good idea too to have a paper shredder next to your office desk, and shred material not needed later.
You can share this secret with a friend…
…Save $25.00 by registering now or by August 24, 2012 for the fall Level l, Star Achievement® Workshop, starting August 30th. Discount Code: apire
Rated number #1 by thousands of EA’s, this program is will enhance your skills and give you information you can put to use immediately. Early bird discount ends August 13th, registration deadline is August 20th. (Click here for details) The workshops are designed with your busy schedule in mind, and are presented in one day workshops, over a four month period. Class registration deadline is August 24, 2012. Ask us about Star Certification and College Credentials.
Please do share this information with your friends, and I look forward to seeing you at this next workshop. I keep the seating limited to just 15 people, enabling better one to one training, and this next workshop is filling fast.
Joanne Linden, CAP, CEAP
President, Master Trainer
©2012 AdminUniverse and is a trademark of AdminUniverse. Star Achievement Series and Module names are trademarks of Office Dynamics International. All rights reserved.