Now, many of you probably won’t remember a game called Zork, or the whole slew of text-based Infocomm adventure game titles (of which I owned – legitimately – several). And the one that started them all was Zork.
At some point, you would come to a fork in the road, and you’d have to make a decision. The decision you made could find you impaled by an ogre or scooping up treasure by the basketful.
…not so different than IRL as a security leader, really.
So today, I want to talk about that damn fork in the road. And how to deal with that fork in the road is pretty important to figure out if you want to maintain your sanity, maintain an average stress level and, oh, yeah, do that thing you’re supposed to be doing: keeping the organization cutting you paychecks up and running.
We face that fork in the road every day. Sometimes it’s a big fork, and sometimes it’s small.
Most of the time, we’re pretty busy, so we do the mental version of a coin toss and pick one. And we pick whatever choice we have because we have faith in our own abilities to deal with whatever comes our way.
Unfortunately, sometimes that faith and confidence is a bit misplaced…
…and sometimes, the implications of that mental coin toss are much bigger than we’d ever imagined.
If you take a step back and look at ye olde adventurer standing at that fork in the road as someone other than you, what you’ll find is that ultimately, the adventurer wouldn’t be standing at that particular fork in the road if they didn’t have a problem.
And by taking either the left or the right fork, they’re either consciously or unconsciously committing to a particular strategy to solve that problem.
In the classic Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken,” you get a glimpse of what we’re talking about here. Having taken “the other, just as fair,” the narrator comes to the crux of the poem which most people don’t seem to remember:
“Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.”
What they’re talking about here are the implications of taking one path vs. another. And at each junction, there are a new set of implications, and a new set of constraints and capabilities you might have that you didn’t have when you, yourself as a security leader, decided to take “the other, just as fair.”
My question to you is by what means did you determine the right course of action?
How did you actually evaluate the alternatives before you?
Against what outcomes or ultimate aims were you stacking the pros and cons of each?
…or did you, out of necessity, do the mental coin toss and make a decision – any decision – so you could get on to the next one…
…and the next one
…and the next one
…and the next one
…and ultimately realize that you weren’t where you’d intended to be after all—regardless or not being impaired by an orc.
You see, as a security leader, how you make those decisions is not only critical to you, but it’s critical to your team and the organization you protect.
You need to make the best decisions, not with the information available to you, but with the INSIGHTS available to you having actually evaluated each of the potential options in depth so that you understand the implications of “the first” vs. “the other, just as fair.”
Are you doing this today?
If you’re not, then you’re not really thinking strategically, and you’re likely to make decisions that are not likely to get you where you want to be—or, at least, with as much gold in your pocket.
There’s a pretty straightforward way to avoid this kind of surprise and endless angst over whether if you’d taken “the first” vs. “the other, just as fair” would’ve lead you to a much more desirable “all the difference” than you’re living right now.
And it’s a technique I teach not only in our flagship training program, but also as part of the Security Leadership coaching program—if you need it.
Or, it’s a technique that I apply during our 1:1 sessions to help you make sure you’ve considered all the options and their implications if you need an answer RIGHT NOW, and you don’t have time for the theory.
What I know from personal experience is that this is a pretty fundamental technique that can make a profound difference in both your professional and your personal life.
So, if you either a) want to know how to REALLY make sure you make the best decisions you can given the information you have
b) you just want access to a sounding board that can help you think through the options for your team, for your security strategy or for your own career…
Then you still have time to get in to the Security Leadership coaching program at a discount rate by going here to set up your application call:
Don’t get Zorked. Make better choices.
What do you say?
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive