We’ve all had documents shared with us that were for “your eyes only” and not to be shared. Harvard Business Review adds a new twist to their articles that are available exclusively to registered educators. Instead of the usual “confidential” stamp in the corner, Harvard puts the full name of the recipient, their institution and an expiration date on every page of the document.

Maybe it is to allow them to trace back to offenders, or maybe it gives that extra level of personalization that signals to the user that “this means YOU.” Either way, it is a more effective deterrent than just their “Do not copy or post” watermark that also is on each page.

Think of what you can do to add a level of definition to your products or downloads. How can you be clear on what is available for sharing and what is not. Do you need to take additional steps to label your financial documents or benchmark data that is shared with your board? Have you thought about ways to educate your internal users on what is public and what is proprietary information? Can you adopt some of Harvard’s labeling and be ultra-specific about with whom this document was first given?

In this electronic age when sharing is as easy as a keystroke, it may be worth the extra effort to give someone pause before they hit “send” with your data.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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