Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Do you know where the bodies are buried?

By Jo Miller

According to idiom decoder, a person who knows where the bodies are buried is "Someone who by virtue of holding a position of trust with an organization for a long period of time has come to know many of the secrets that others in more powerful positions would rather be kept secret. An implication is that the person knowing these secrets will use that knowledge to secure something of value for him- or herself." Frank Underwood's staff on House of Cards come immediately to mind.

But it's not usually that sinister. You have probably heard the phrase used to refer to colleagues who have access to practical business information that while useful, isn't always readily available.

In her article How to Unlock the Hidden Secrets of Your Office, Jennifer Winter, writing for The Muse, describes a certain type of individual who has gained access to hidden information, resources and opportunities. As a result, they "... always seem to have dibs on all the great projects, front row seats in the important meetings, and opportunities to advance into positions that no one else even knew existed."

The problem is, most people don't stay in jobs long enough and most organizations change too frequently to allow for accumulating this type of deep history and relationships. It's hard to know who to go to to get access to that insider information. One thing is certain: accessing this information can help you be more effective in your role while negotiating your way toward the next role. Every organization has these individuals, and if you are not one yourself, it is useful to know them. Here are Jennifer's recommendations for how to do that.

Do you know where the bodies are buried? Perhaps not, but it is likely that you know someone who knows someone who does.

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