This morning was shopping day since I really didn’t want to fight the lockdown surge that might materialize at the weekend…although I’m not sure why I think it’s going to be different since a good portion of the fellow would-be shoppers in Constantia seem to be sipping wine in their bathrobes from at least 11am, according to one video I saw this morning.
As you might remember, the way it works here in South Africa is a little different than it does in other parts of the world. The “stay at home” thing isn’t voluntary—it’s mandatory, with the military joining the police in some areas to attempt to keep people off the streets and in their homes. Shops, except pharmacies and supermarkets, are all closed, and you have to join a queue that snakes through the empty corridors of the shopping mall following the “black and red tape road” marking each meter for social distancing.
Fortunately, the queue moves pretty fast, and everyone’s generally in good form. Except today, as I joined one of the queues for the 2 supermarkets in the centre, the “social distancing police” seem to have also decided to take their job a bit too seriously. Since the security guards now really have nothing better to do – and there’s a good few of them around – they’re making sure people are following the rules.
However, in this particular case, the guy was walking down the queue giving out to everyone who wasn’t standing exactly on the piece of tape. You couldn’t be 2mm from touching it. You had to stand on top of it, and if you weren’t…
…stern words about following the rules were sent your way.
Personally, I just chucked quietly to myself as I surreptitiously made sure my feet were firmly covering my designated piece of tape…
…and then it struck me to wonder how often our business customers of security would be chuckling the same way – or, potentially being a right bit pissed off – as we security professionals pedantically pointed out each paragraph of the security policy to which their project paid no heed.
But, I’m sure that this has never happened in your organization, right?
There’s actually two sides to this I want to talk about. The obvious one is projecting the image of your sphincter being scrunched so tight that your eyes are crossed. While potentially being rather painful in the long term, it also tends to mean that you’re ignoring Gorge Box’s advice. Now, he was talking about models, but the general sentiment of:
“It is inappropriate to be concerned about mice when there are tigers abroad”
…is something we’d all do well to remember—especially given the current times.
And we all know that this kind of behavior is what leads to security being seen as “the Department of NO” or as the Security Policy Police rather than as someone who’s focused on what’s truly best for the business.
But the second part is more subtle, and it comes back to something that came up on one of the weekly coaching calls with one of my clients earlier in the week. They’re getting to the point where we’ve worked through building a rough version of the security architecture for something, and we were talking about the right way to engage the security customers to validate their assumptions (one of the key practices of The Agile Security System™).
Now, just for a moment, imagine that Mr. Tape Police was the customer you were supposed to engage to validate your security architecture. Your primary objective for the meeting – beyond the obvious – is to work on building or enhancing your rapport and credibility with the guy. And you need to make sure this gets done so that people are more inclined to listen to you. I’m not going to go into the whole thing here, because I’ve done it other places—including the September issue of the newsletter last year.
However, the point is, whatever job your customer is trying to do…whatever objectives they’re trying to accomplish…are where you need to start. And this is doubly – or even triply – important when their job seems as silly and misguided to you as the guy insisting on people standing on a piece of tape seemed to me.
Somehow, if that’s the guy’s (or gal’s) world, then that’s where you need to meet them. You can talk to them until you’re blue in the face, assuming you get the chance, about whatever you want to do, but it’ll fall on deaf ears. It just won’t matter to them…
…because they’re going to be too busy worried about whether you’re standing on the stupid piece of tape on the floor.
Mice vs. tigers.
The trick is being able to meet them at “mice” and get them to discover for themselves how to see the tigers—and why they’re more important.
As I said, this came up on a call this week, so I don’t even have to try and explain why tackling this kind of problem is perfectly within the scope of the Effective Security Leadership coaching program I’ve been talking about this week. The point of the program is to help you, as a CISO, Head of Security, Head of Security Architecture, Security Manager or as an individual Security Architect figure out how to solve the problems you face right now…
…and to do it in a way that ensures you’re systematically building an actionable security architecture…
…while at the same time building the skills you need to better understand the business, more effectively connect with your customers and enhance your credibility and trust as security.
Sometimes it goes quickly, and, sometimes, it can take a few passes to make sure you’re getting things right. But that’s ok. That’s what a good coach and mentor is there to do. To help you succeed and achieve your objectives.
And, the added bonus is you get to lean on my 14 years of security experience with SABSA and another 25 years of business, technology and relationship building so you don’t have to figure out everything for yourself.
Because, let’s face it, you’ve already got enough on your plate—and you’re probably even more stressed and overloaded than you were before the whole COVID crisis. Sometimes, it’s pretty handy to have someone in your corner so you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.
But it’s not for everyone. Sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense…or you’re not really ready…or the organization isn’t really ready…or the timing might not be right.
Neither of us will know whether I might be able to really help you or not unless we have a chat about it. And if I can’t help, I’ll tell you flat out. Both of us don’t have time to try and force a square peg in a round hole.
On the other hand, if it does make sense, then now’s the time to find out—and start making your professional life a bit easier, faster and more productive.
To find out if the program might be a good fit, use this link, scroll to the bottom and set up a call. Based on how it goes, we can take it from there—or virtually say thanks, but no thanks, and go on our merry ways.
It’s up to you. Here’s the link:
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive