I have the good fortune to be a Member of the Institute of Directors, and often use its hallowed halls as a base when I’m working in London. It’s hard not to think inspiring thoughts under the ornate chandeliers, beneath the gaze of the portraits of distinguished Victorians.
I don’t mean to pry, but they’re four feet away and talking loudly. Why is it that people feel so free to discuss bids in public? Reading draft proposals on trains, calling colleagues from airport lounges, leaving laptops in full view in Starbucks. Crazy! I wrote an article a couple of years back in the APMP Journal with two associates who are experts in corporate security; they couldn’t believe how lax people are with such important commercial information.
It reminded me of a wonderful (yet poignant) paragraph that I clipped from The Sunday Times Magazine a few weeks back, discussing photographer Michael Ward’s forebears.
As news of the old man’s illness spread, his family gathered around his bedside. Gradually, his breathing grew more laboured. It could not be long before Theo Ward, a patriarch of the Victorian age, drew his last. His seven children watched as he slowly slipped away. With a great effort, he leant forward, beckoning them to come closer: “Can you all keep a secret?” he asked. They waited for their father to divulge news of an inheritance or family scandal. After a long silence he said, “So can I,” and died.