Every Thanksgiving for the past few years, my husband and I have vacationed in Kona, Hawaii, (a great place to reflect on your blessings!)  Each year our plans included a brief stay-over at the Honolulu airport that requires a short bus ride, from one side of the airport to the other, to make our connection home.

In past visits, I hadn’t paid much attention to the name of the bus.  It’s the Wiki Wiki.  That’s Hawaiian for “quick, quick” or very quick.  It was the WikiLeaks story that made me notice the Wiki Wiki signs.

In 1995, a man named Ward Cunningham also noticed the signs at the Honolulu airport and adopted “wiki wiki” as the name for his new invention.  He was working on a computer collaboration tool that allowed people to work concurrently on a project.  It was so fast, compared to previous ways of collaboration, that he called it a “wiki”.  Probably the most famous wiki, until WikiLeaks hit the front page, is Wikipedia.

This new “wiki world” is fast.  The WikiLeaks recent dump of confidential documents really has me thinking.  It raises all kinds of ethical conundrums.  Where is the line between what the public needs to know and the right of individual privacy?  When is it OK to tell something confidential?  Are the WikiLeaks guys luminaries or lunatics?

I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning about now.  However in a “wiki wiki” world, I think there are several things that you can do to stay grounded.

The first thing is to know your bottom line.  Establish a list of rock solid, not negotiable, values that you use to measure your own actions and the actions of others.  When you sort through the laundry list of possible values, you realize that not everything is relative.  There are absolutes and you need to know what they are.

The second thing is to remember “there is no such thing as a secret.”  I had a pastor who used to preach about this several times a year, but apparently he didn’t listen.  His ministry came crashing down when his personal secrets were revealed.  Everything you do has the potential to be made public…very public!  Make sure that what you say, do, and write conforms to the set a values you have defined for yourself.

When you live a values-centered, transparent life, I believe you can withstand the whirlwind around you.  As the world’s ability to share information continues to accelerate, living an open and honest life may be your only salvation. 

As Bette Davis said in the movie All About Eve… “Fast your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

 Here’s to your success,

Linda K Sommer, MBA