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It has been all over the news in the last week, Sony Pictures has suffered a momentous  hack, which has been claimed by a group calling itself ‘Guardians of Democracy’. This hack has revealed all manner of secrets and exposed the executives, the company and the film and TV industry at large to the kind of scrutiny that they have never been used to. It has exposed: shady business practices, appalling conversations about people and so much more that the revelations and ramifications will be a permanent scar on those involved at all levels.

From our perspective, we wanted to show the key lessons that can be learned for all business across the world that this Sony hack has highlighted.


1 – Manners and Consideration maketh Business Success

Emotional intelligence, soft skills, manners, or whatever phrase you wish to use to describe them, the skills to interact with others in a meaningful way and develop both yourself and those you work are vital to the success of yourself and business. However, unless these skills come from a genuine place they are doomed to failure.

You might climb the ladder by being mean, aggressive and standing on others to get to the next rung, but there will be a time when you will need someone to support you and you will have knocked out all the supporting rungs below. It is always best to be lifted up to the next rung by those below you, as that will mean you will climb higher for longer.


2 – Behave in Public as you behave in Private

I remember watching a documentary with Warren Buffet and him being asked what he expected of his executives, paraphrasing his words, he said he expected them to behave as if they would appear on the front cover of the newspaper everyday and they had to make their grandmother proud each day. It struck a chord with me.

You need to be consistent, you need to be thinking all the time how you are perceived and how your actions are perceived. Yes, you can fake it, we only have to look at most politicians to understand how that works. If you are being genuine and acting from an internal drive of passion, honesty, consideration and success for all, your light will shine through.

People are consistently failing to understand that the truth will come out eventually, especially in today’s world of openness and transparency.  So be careful or you will be appearing on the front page of the world’s newspapers for all the wrong reasons.


3- Take Time to Think

We have written about this before, we are in such a fast paced world with information coming at us from all angles and in droves. We are almost forced to respond quickly and without thought to the bombardment that onslaughts us.

STOP! You don’t have to respond quickly to anything, especially in business where decisions need to be made and can affect many elements. Take some time to think about what you are writing, what you are saying and the implications of it.

An email written in haste can mean you will be repenting on social media forever.


4 – Pick Up the Phone or Meet

A top lawyer friend said to me many years ago, people will forget that email is just electronic mail and therefore mail. It is a legal document in business, and what you say can be used in court in any number of ways.  Secondly, the written word can be easily misconstrued in its tone and meaning.

Therefore, if you want a private conversation or you want to make sure that your meaning is not misinterpreted, pick up the phone or, if you can, meet people. You will get things done much quicker, more pleasantly and develop relationships faster.


5 – Honesty and Transparency are the New Currency

One of the major cultural factors of the modern world of technology is the desire and appreciation of honesty and transparency.

For example, whether you like their opinions or not, people like Russell Brand and Nigel Farage (here in the UK) are known for their honest points of view, which is why people are drawn to them in numbers. They do not use the ‘spin’ of major politicians.

We admire the openness of Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Hiddleston, they don’t hide behind PR and soft platitudes.

We need to embrace this currency in business, we need to show that we are who we say we are both as the corporate brand and as people within that corporation. So be as honest and transparent as you can, within legal limits, in all your dealings and you will find a legion of fans.


In conclusion, there will always be those in business who seek to get ahead by being underhand, ruthless and rude. In some cases they will succeed, but increasingly they are becoming the exception rather than the rule. The world is changing thanks to technology, it exposes the cracks behind the mirror and the wrinkles underneath the photoshop. Slowly it is pushing us toward better manners and behaviour in business and in life and for that we have to applaud the exposure.

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