My daughter and I recently finished a two-month “24” marathon, watching Jack Bauer rescue the world. This led to our conversation while hiking in Colorado State Park about how often terrorist attacks are thwarted without our knowledge–for security reasons or simply to keep the public from being any more stressed out than we already are.
I shared with her my experience with JCOC (Joint Civilian Orientation Conference) that I was invited to participate in by Secretary Rumsfeld. We traveled to eight military bases, including the one in Cheyenne mountain, over a week’s time and got to speak to Four Star General Richard Myers (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time) and Four Star General Timothy Keating (Head of U.S. Northern Command). The impression I was left with was that we are often protected by a ring of security provided by our military that we know nothing about.
My daughter and I had very mixed feelings about this, but are glad we don’t have to think about these issues every day and appreciate the men and women who protect us in silence and secrecy. Perhaps if we really knew what is happening, we would celebrate 911 for being the only one out of 5,000 attacks that were not caught.
As a leader, what threats do you withhold from your coworkers? To what degree are you shielding them, the company, or yourself? How do you strike a balance between honesty and transparency vs. stress and fear?