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Why friendliness outperforms a firewall in trade secret protection

Erik Elgersma, author of The Strategic Analysis Cycle, shares his insight into trade secret leaks, and why the answer to security breaches might be more simple than it seems…

Revelation upon revelation hit the press this year. Leaks have always been there but today the frequency of secrets being spilled, especially in the Trump administration, looks to hit an all-time-high. Secrets may in principle be lost in two ways: inside-out or outside-in. I define outside-in as a party that sends a collector to illegally obtain another party’s secret. In some cases, however, secrets are lost not because some party was after them but because an insider aimed to hurt his own turf. This I would call an inside-out loss of secrets. Surprisingly perhaps, it is the latter form that is most common. 2014 research reveals that 60% of business trade secret losses, in spite of all outside-in cyber-crime, identify current or former employees as the most likely source of leaks. Hence, inside-out dominates outside-in.
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Taking Your Heartbeat …

Join Matt Stephens, author of the upcoming ‘Revolution in a Heartbeat‘ and Founder of Heartbeat this Thursday 14th September from 1pm-2pm for an exclusive webinar!

Heartbeat recognises that whilst clients are looking for a more real-time, transparent and simple to use pulse survey, they often use this alongside the annual engagement survey. What Matt describes below is a fictional thought provoking story based on real encounters he has had. This should help you think about how to best use your annual results for your business.

‘Jane called me up and said let’s go for coffee and talk about some ‘opportunities’ she had in her organisation. Over a latte, Jane described how following the annual engagement survey results she and the team had begun to put together a plan on how to respond to the results. In the action plan she had included a couple of workshops with employees and key HR colleagues to help understand what the results meant. This all sounded reasonable, except this conversation was taking place three months after Jane put the plan together and things had not gone how the team expected!

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The Value of Feeling Valued

Matt Stephens, author of Revolution in a Heartbeat- Using emotional insights to drive better business and Founder of Heartbeat and the Heartbeat app (a dynamic, real-time app which takes the pulse of an organisation), shares in this piece the importance of being valued.

‘Your call is highly valued by us… please wait for the next available colleague…’ We have all heard this or something similar when contacting call centres. Many of us will take it with a pinch of salt because our past dealings with the organisation concerned have suggested that we are not actually all that valued. We know that we feel valued as the result of actions over a period of time. Words on their own have little impact.

This has come to mind recently as we reviewed the most frequently expressed positive emotions in the Heartbeat surveys run by our clients. These have come from a range of survey types – engagement, pulse, events, consultation and one offs. The positive emotions were enthusiastic, inspired, empowered and valued. It was great that these had been selected – clearly leaders in these organisations are doing some good things. But it also got us wondering why being valued is so important, and what makes people feel it. To help answer, we spoke informally with people from the organisations concerned to find out what they thought. Read More


Today we’re sharing a blog by Matt Stephens, author of the upcoming Revolution in a Heartbeat and Founder of Quest Agency which includes Heartbeat, a real-time app that takes the pulse of an organisation at an event or in the workplace, during change or other business activities.

Purpose is key for organisations. Having a clear, and worthwhile purpose is frequently cited as the number one factor in attracting and retaining great people. That’s why more and more organisations are looking to be purpose-driven.

One of our clients, known for having a young, ‘millennial’ population, wanted to put greater focus on their purpose as an organisation. As part of this they devised a narrative that captured the spirit of the company and defined a clear path for their future.

To transform the narrative from another set of words to something real the client wanted to capture stories that illustrated what motivates their employees and how their work really matters to their customers and communities. Heartbeat was ideal to help people share these stories. Being quick, easy and enjoyable to use, it encouraged people to submit stories which they may otherwise have not done for fear of having to send in long bits of prose.

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Single’s Day Sale on Chinese Entrepreneur Books

This year, we’re joining in on Singles’ Day; a festival enjoyed among young people in China, to celebrate being single, as well as becoming one of the world’s biggest online shopping days – the East’s equivalent to our Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

We’re keeping it topical by slashing the prices of our Chinese Entrepreneur titles below:


The Wanda Way: The managerial philosophy and values of one of China’s largest companies – Jianlin Wang

This book, by its founder and Chairman, provides unprecedented insight into the ethos and activities that have created the extraordinary business success that is the Wanda empire. Wang describes his managerial philosophy and the essence of his business ideas to “make Wanda a brand like Walmart or IBM or Google – a brand known by everyone in the world”, and that led The Economist to call him “a man of Napoleonic ambition”. As China’s influence in the world economy grows led by companies such as Wanda, this book is both timely and relevant.















The Story: An e-commerce phenomenon – Li Zhigang is China’s second largest e-commerce company (behind its rival Alibaba) and leads the way in sales of consumer electronics and books. Through unprecedented access to the inner-workings of and its founder, Richard Liu, and other main players, this book offers the most detailed examination of the success behind one of China’s most successful companies of recent times.















Dedication: The Huawei philosophy of human resource management – Huang Weiwei

In 2012, the Chinese company Huawei Technologies overtook Ericsson to become the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, firmly establishing itself on the world business map. Today, it has over 170,000 employees worldwide and in 2014 the company generated a remarkable profit of $5.5 billion.

Whilst research and development and the technology that results from it are core drivers of Huawei’s success, the company’s amazing growth is also determined by its human resource strategy. This is based on a “customer-first” attitude, the belief that obtaining opportunities is through hard work and, above all, “a dedication to do the best in anything we do”. How Huawei promotes this dedication amongst its workforce is the subject of this important book. Through original incentive systems, employee ownership and the mentality to act like a boss, Huawei has managed to create a culture of dedication that has become the bedrock of its growth today.


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