The Line That you Don’t Step Over

The Line That you Don't Step Over

Look At The Line Carefully, Then Look At It Again

The Line

Have you ever had the opportunity to gain access to sensitive information?  Sure you have.  I’m not talking about reading a guest or attendee list upside down. I’m talking about gaining access to privileged information that belongs to another party that they don’t want you to have.  You know what I’m talking about.

I recall the time I received an actual RFP in an envelope, set to come out in another two weeks.  I didn’t look at the document until the next day so it was not like I could just turn around and give the document back, which I actually did.  There are times like this where the situation is so obvious that you tell yourself “Run Forest Run.” 

Treat The Line As A DMZ

As I consider “the line,” I think, how do you really know where the line is drawn?  The line is not a mark in the sand.  It is not a fence.  It is not a sign.  It is not tangible.  There are a legend of ethics classes on the topic but I have never found “the line” to be clearly defined.  As much as I call it a line, and likely always will as that is how everyone references it, it is really not a line, rather it is a DMZ or demilitarized zone as a business colleague once shared with me.  He gave me an example to drive the point home.  “I like to think we as a company are conservative in our practices.  But we got sued by the government for the way we handled a particular set of financial transactions.  I really believed, and still believe, that the way we handed those transactions was correct, not trying to get anything over on anybody.  But the government’s view was different.  Their interpretation was that we had done wrong believing our interpretation of our actions was incorrect.  As a consequence, the government brought suit against us.  What I came to realize is “the line” is not a line as there is the element of interpretation.  It is a DMZ.”  I will never forget those comments or the conviction in which my colleague shared them.  From that day on I have looked at “the line” in a much different manner.

Do not let down your guard.  Ever

Author, Bob Lam

Stay tuned for additional posts on essential skills/attributes of a Business Development Director provided by Bob Lam.

Bob is the principal and founder of Bob Lam Solutions and is affiliated with GovFlex.  Reference Bob’s book People Buy From People at his website or go straight to for a copy.

The views expressed in GovFlex blog postings are solely those of the author.

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