How Top CEO Balances Public Transparency and Corporate Confidentiality

Business requires executives who know how to manage company secrets. Secrets are usually special, exclusive or interesting. They can even help train an executive team. As a top CEO, business executive or everyday person, we all want to be part of the special, exclusive or interesting. If you think about it, some of the things we enjoy today are best kept secrets. Everyone knows a mother, aunt, grandma, friend or relative who has a “secret sauce” for spaghetti. And if you can not think of someone, watch any family TV show. One of them probably has one.

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More popularly, the recipe for Coca Cola is one of the most well-known, best kept secrets on earth. Billions of people have enjoyed Coke, served by the international business enterprise located all over the globe. Yet, it is unknown how they actually “open happiness” with every bottle. The secret kept by their top business CEO is what makes the logistics and distribution giant successful over their competition. Without the company’s secret, they would not have a competitive advantage.

Top CEOs Keep Information Exclusive

And that is why business CEO secrets are so important. They keep information exclusive. As you can imagine, they can be used for good or bad. For example, you probably do not want a business credit card security breach to be kept secret. Like most people, you will want to have your credit card changed right away.

Secrets Create Value

On the other hand, strategic business secrets allow companies to create value and offer a variety of products and services. As companies develop their processes like business processes, supply chain management, decision making, office security and other process, they can render better services while gaining an edge over the competition.

Understand Who You Are Speaking With

Perhaps, that is why top CEOs in the world simply can not answer every question in interviews. They have to protect their business intelligence against the competition. This requires understanding who you are speaking with and where can the information be shared, more formally known as knowledge management. In a sense, we should think of our company secrets like assets that must be maintained, appreciated protected. To take this one step further, check out how brand protection is done by Adidas.

Some Secrets Are Better Out In The Open

The top CEO of the Harvard Business Review 2016 list, Lars Rebien Sorensen of Novo Nordisk, knows the importance of having your secrets while still being transparent about things that matter to the public. One of the reasons he topped the list for top CEOs is because of his transparency regarding the company’s political lobbying. In today’s society, many people are fed up with all the secrecy and under the table dealings of government and business. A top CEO, like Sorensen, should realize this and adjust their actions according. Learn from the best. Yes, as a CEO you should have secrets and be able to keep them. However, you should also recognize the importance of transparency with the public, and know when to speak up.

As a top CEO or business executive, once you have a working strategy for your business, keep it a secret. But, that does not mean you have to put a lock on the door and have everyone sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. It just means, have your team embrace confidentiality. If your company culture incorporates trust, loyalty and pride in your work, then you should be in good shape. In any case, the best kept secrets are the ones out in the open. If you are really curious, you can always learn by watching closely!

Image source: http://www.jayfoto.com/#/corporate/executive-portraits/equifaxceo

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