Loose Lips Sink Ships


By Doug Seville,

Loose Lips Sink Ships!

DSML Executive Search treats confidentiality, with both our clients and our candidates, with extreme care.  We wouldn’t be able to maintain trust of our relationships otherwise.  (This phrase comes from World War Two where shipping routes were held under strictest confidentiality to avoid enemy attack … today it could be renamed as Loose Tweets Sink Fleets) 

Consider the situation, (true story), where a large American pharmaceutical company decided to close one of their two Canadian manufacturing plants and move production over to the remaining facility.  It’s an example of how a confidential situation, owing to a little slip up, was not handled properly.

The plans had been in motion for several months and, for the benefit of business productivity and product safety, the entire project was prepared with the utmost secrecy.  In fact, nobody in either of the two Canadian plants was informed of the decision until the day before the announcement.  On this day, the Senior Manager of the plant that was being closed was advised, for logistic purposes, that there would be an announcement, regarding the closure, to all employees the next day.  He was notified that the news was confidential as the company, being a major employer in town, wanted to be in control of the message to both the union and the press.

That afternoon, the Plant Manager called his brother who was vacationing in Florida and shared the information of the plant closure.  He failed, however, to mention that the news was confidential.  Well, we know where this is going … later that day the manager’s brother was in the Galleria shopping mall and coincidentally bumped into the Union Steward for the plant.  As can be expected, the announcement did not go as planned and the following morning the building was surrounded with press vehicles and senior Business Managers from the Union.

In the case above, the company wished to follow a process that included confidentiality, in order to manage the public relations as well as to minimize the risk of product contamination and equipment vandalism.  In the executive search world, there may be other business reasons for maintaining confidentiality, such as:

  • Replacing a non-performing individual
  • Bringing on a new manager who will be over an individual who was hoping to be promoted
  • To avoid any customer concern associated with an organizational change
  • To dodge alerting the competition of the new direction the company is taking

DSML Executive Search requires candidates to sign a non-disclosure document whenever our client engages us to conduct a “confidential search”.  We have experienced many instances in searches at the CEO, President, or Vice-President level where we have a non-disclosure agreement was a necessity.

If you’d like to discuss your current or future hiring needs, please feel free to call, chat or write to us today.