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Team Building Prevents Espionage

Dec 18, 2007
We've all seen the television shows where someone enters the office of a high profile businessman and uses a pocket camera to, through nefarious means, photograph some of their trade secrets or other insider information and then, under cover of darkness, escape undetected.

It all seems disreputable as we stare at the flickering screen. Invariably a janitor makes his way into the office just as the thief dives under the desk and hopes not to be noticed. The music is tense, but the unwitting janitor never discovers the thief while dumping so much potential evidence into the communal trash bin.

I don't know how you handle sensitive data in your company, but I do know that when you put team building principles in action you may be less likely to see company data stolen by your team members.

The principle is essentially that the team leader mentors his or her staff in such a way that there is very little any team member is interested in stealing. The implication is that the team leader trusts his or her team to such a degree that they have access to the common business brain trust.

In other words, if a team member wants to know how to perform a certain task or try a certain business procedure the team leader may, at their discretion, choose to train them knowing that if that team member leaves the team they also take all the training and knowledge with them when they go.

So how can this be good for business?

Look at the world of sports. The coach is always developing new plays and strategies for winning. Unless the team member always stays with the coach the only thing they can be certain of is that they knew what you were doing as a team when they left. As new players come into the team the dynamic will always change to some degree. In many cases former team members try not to intentionally duplicate the 'plays' of their former team.

By making your team fully aware of where they are going and supplying information along the way to get them there you continue to foster the common sense of teamwork. When a team member senses his or her importance on the team they are more likely to commit themselves to the team if for no other reason than a heightened sense of job satisfaction.

If your team really feels like they are learning the game plan they are more likely to stick with the team and will resist the urge to take the game plan with them if they leave.

The truth is there are still a lot of businesses that do not operate as a team. You often have a dictator and a vast host of underlings who do not even like their employer and would not bat an eye at taking information and using it to their advantage when they leave.

Perhaps your best security is a team building approach that incorporates an open door policy.
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