Have you ever had a meeting in which you learned something that was more valuable if kept private than if you posted it on a social networking site? Or have you ever targeted a potential client because your competition publicized they were pursuing them? I admit it; I have. There are so many double-edged swords in life. All those status updates, tweets, and check-ins may get you Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and hell, even Foursquare badges, if you’re into that sort of thing. But it may also lose you a customer. It may be a tough choice, but it’s yours to make.
Business Is a “Contact” Sport
Business is a contact sport, and in just about any contest there is a winner and a loser. The tendency to over-share as it relates to those with whom you are engaging could cost your bottom line, and even give your opponent a preventable advantage. Peter Drucker, the father of Business Management, said that the only purpose to be in business is to serve a customer. But in order to succeed in its quest to serve its customer, it must survive. On the battlefield there aren’t second chances. Survival begets success.
“Loose lips sink ships” as the saying goes, and in the game of poker every twitch, eyebrow movement, and sideways glance is scrutinized. Whether you’re bluffing or holding a royal flush, your ability to play your cards close to your vest can make all the difference between winning and losing.
Share with Caution
Broadcasting your condition, strategy, plans, and actions can build an audience. Telling too much could cost a client. Be careful about what you let competitors know. Would you ignore a signal from a competitor that could advance your own efforts? I wouldn’t. And I don’t. I know that some of my competitors will read this very post. All I’m disclosing is that they aren’t going to get much insider information from me. Ever.
To the rest of you, I hope you will proceed with a different viewpoint about your social broadcasts and what they may be costing you. When I’ve got a hot hand, so-to-speak, I want to make the most of it. My efforts become even more confidential or purposely deflective to those observing me. But I love it when others carelessly give away their position, or show their hand.
Know What Not to Share
How well are you protecting and preserving, your competitive edge? Broadcasting messages that build your brand can help you reach new customers, strengthen relationships, and even meet the needs of those in your Orbits. But divulging what should be kept private can cost you more than one hand of cards. It could lose you your seat at the table.
You don’t have to heed my warning, though. Keep on telegraphing your every thought, intention, and move. Go ahead, show your hand. I’ll be watching.