Would you want your plans to take over the world to be discussed openly in a public place?

by | Apr 3, 2019 | All Blogs, Consulting Skills, Thoughts and Rants

We have all been in conflicts. But it’s important to regain perspective and control.

In a world where technology allows us to work anywhere in the world; remote workers like me try to find ways to do admin while we’re on the way to or from client meetings.

In my case, rather than watch the latest box-set on Netflix or reading the BBC News app about how Brexit is becoming an omnibus soap opera, I try to use time wisely within my working day to complete emails or do project related admin.

As a cardinal rule, I never take or schedule a call with a client when I am travelling using public transport. Why I hear you cry? For me, its about protecting my customers success by ensuring their plans remain private and confidential.

I live in Reading and I regularly commute on the trains to visit customers in London. As a trusted consultant, I am privy to master-plans on how my customers will take over the world. Therefore, I feel that speaking about these plans in public place openly is not only unprofessional – but a breach of their trust in me as a consultant.

To give you a recent example: this morning I was on a train to London visiting another of my fantastic customers and at 07:00-ish in the morning I hear a group, of what I can only describe as financial bankers (and no this is not a euphemism for profanity). They were talking openly about the financial profile of one of their clients and what the plans were for getting them to invest in a particular market. Now, I am not a financial adviser or a stock market guru. But I am pretty sure that if I was, the information I just heard could help me get ahead if I had a customer who was a competitor.

Last week, whilst once again I was train jockeying back from another customer, I heard another consultant bad-mouth their customers plan to a colleague on the phone. Apparently, this customer “…had not a clue about what they were doing…” and the project was “…doomed to fail if they don’t start listening to my advice…”. To make this worse, not only were they speaking about intimate details openly, they divulged the name of a well-known customer as I know them from working a previous project!

Unprofessional? Yes it is. So why do we do it?

Today, we are more empowered to talk openly about our feelings, opinions, and emotions on a range of social platforms. It’s acceptable to write status’ on how we feel, good or bad, to our personal or professional connections. We’re also being told to ‘be careful about privacy’, ‘don’t share stuff you wouldn’t want your mum/dad/partner to see’, and ‘always ensure you have the people you trust following you’.

However, we always forget to secure the oldest and biggest social network in the world. Yup, you guessed it – I am talking about speaking to people either face-to-face or by phone in a public place.

What is the point of my ad-hoc rant?

If you need to talk or vent about topics regarding your customers, do it in private. By saving it for when you are not in a public ear-shot, you are protecting your customers success/business plans, and perhaps more importantly – your professionalism and dignity.

Perhaps you disagree? Or maybe I am just over-cautious or zealous about this topic. Feel free to comment your opinions and thoughts. 🙂

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Copyright © Kris McCabe 2019 | The Legal Stuff

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