Secrecy is a must for winning


In this article we are talking about the ‘secrecy’ not in the context of employees, tax matters or stake holders or stock holders. The secrecy we are mentioning pertain to new product development or new marketing strategy or new innovation implementation so that competitors do not get a whiff of what is developing and are caught unawares when the new product /innovation or strategy is implemented. In ancient days the secrecy about waging a battle or war or reinforcing army weaponry and fortifications were considered in ‘secrecy’ category and was the “winning weapon�.

Think before they think that is the rule of warfare. Even in the game of chess, every move of the opponent is studied, analyzed and carefully thought upon before making any move. If you are the first to move, have a plan.

And it is this plan that needs to be protected from prying eyes. It goes without saying that, for this, business men should be alert that too very alert. While taking up new projects or while executing projects in hand, high level of secrecy should be maintained.

Let us give 2 examples in this regards. That is of 2 reputed companies “Gillette� and “Mahindra & Mahindra�.

Gillette while developing its Mach 3 cartridge blades and razors has kept it highly confidential even within the organization. The designers, the technologists and the marketing personnel were not aware about the strategy, timing, what trials are going on etc. The whole thing was coordinated at the highest level and after satisfactory results the marketing set up was asked simply to launch the product.

Now we know the product is a success irrespective of its high price because the product is so smooth and enduring that the customers consider it ‘value for money’. None of the competitors are able to come out with an identical product, leave alone that they are not even able to copy it. That is how the ‘secrecy’ has helped ‘Gillette’.

Another case is that of “Mahindra & Mahindra� SUV model called ‘SCORPIO’. When long road trials for endurance were conducted the entire vehicle was covered by blackish Hessian cloth except windows and front glass. People who have seen the vehicle at that time could not even make out even the approximate size or shape of the model. Today the vehicle is on demand in urban and rural areas and is very popular among business men and youth. It is available from economy to deluxe variants with multiple attractive color choices. Here again the secrecy was the initial weapon.

Kautilya the ancient economist and administrator advised, “Others should not know about any work sought to be done by him and only those who undertake the work should know about it when it is begun or even when it gets actually completed�. The same logic is being followed even now in modern times as a marketing or organizational strategy leading to success.

What you are doing, what you are thinking, and all your moves should not be known to others. One needs to create an aura of secrecy around him self to move ahead, before the rest. The context of ‘secrecy’ is well explained by us in the aforesaid paragraphs.

In professional and powerful organizations like the army, the Central Bureau of Investigation, etc till the last moment, no one knows what the next order would be. Only a handful of people are there who work on a strictly enforced ‘need-to-know’ basis and it is these people who, in turn, call up others supposed to execute subsequent orders.

The call is made at the last moment and is quite sudden for those being asked to go action. Till the moment of passing on the orders, the seniors keep the plan entirely to themselves.

One may be surprised to know that prior to Indian Nuclear Implosion of 1974 the ‘Bomb’ and the ‘Trigger’ were carried separately and one of them in an ordinary truck by a couple of top scientists. The military personnel guarding the site were not even aware of the purpose and they were guessing it as a crude oil discovery.

A golden rule to remember in business is that there is a big difference between planning and execution. Make your plan perfect, then execute without delay. There is no point planning when the time has come to execute.

But let’s face it keeping secrets is a tough thing to do. However, there are some tips that can help one:


Whenever you feel like disclosing a plan to someone, remember to defer the same.

Give yourself at least a day. Once you have done that, you will improve your self-control. By practicing this, you will slowly but surely get the confidence to keep things to yourself. Also, learn to observe silence for at least half an hour every day to help your thought power rule over your talkative nature.

Implement and reveal

Do not speak and then execute. It should be the other way round. The biggest danger in revealing your plans is that you give the opponent an added advantage to think before you.

On achieving success in any endeavor, we feel like talking about the same to others. Rather, we feel like bragging! The best way to avoid this is to start new projects immediately. Always keep yourself busy with newer plans. A great Indian saint “The only way to keep yourself productive is by having at least a month’s work in front of you�.

Our conclusion cannot be better than the saint or Kautilya so let us all follow them.