09 August 2015

Leadership: Adaptive Risk for an Uncertain Future...

As the political season in the U.S. starts earlier and earlier each four year cycle, the question remains consistent from the rest of the world.  Will America lead the Cyber cold war in the next four years?  Operational Risk Management (ORM) is a necessary and vital component of any mission or project, from the Situation Room, inside your company, on the flight deck or on the front lines of conflict torn regions of the Sahel.

Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) and their proxies are constantly waging new malware campaigns on our global economic and intellectual property ecosystems, utilizing sophisticated new toolkits.  There are three key attributes to modern day "Threat Intelligence" and Eric Olson from Cyveillance explains:

1. Relevance – The information must relate to, or at least potentially relate to, your enterprise, industry, networks, and/or objectives

2. Actionable – It must be specific enough to prompt some response, change, action or decision, or to dictate an explicit and informed decision not to act

3. Value – Even if relevant and actionable, if the data (and the action) does not contribute to any useful business outcome, there is no value

When threat activity, known actors, historical tactics, or attack information can be combined with vulnerabilities, activity data, or other particulars present in your network and environment, then the information becomes relevant, actionable intelligence.

As a leader in the private sector the waves of globalization and regulatory mandates keep you striving for the entrepreneurial spirit, yet constantly constrained by new rule-sets and compliance initiatives.  Mitigating risks to the enterprise requires leadership that can span the visions of an environment with creativity and simultaneously the spirit of autonomy.  Modern day risk management is not only a leadership challenge, it is also a cultural challenge.  How do I get my people to think like a true entrepreneur and simultaneously provide them with the skills and knowledge they will need to survive in a hostile environment?
  • First off, you have no doubt heard somewhere along the way that High Performing Teams are the way to accomplish new fixes to software code or even to ensure the last mile of due diligence to get the leveraged buy-out to become a reality.  These High Performing Teams must be diverse and they need to have the time to cross-train each other in the specific skill sets necessary, to fullfill the desired outcomes.  If one person comes down with the flu or worse; you may be the one who has to fill in and pick up the slack.
  • Second, the cultural mind set shift must take place to becoming continuously adaptive.  Being adaptive means that you have to be able to incorporate both readiness and resilience in the same effort.  Making decisions that are rapid without time for formal planning, is foreign to some on the team.  You have got to get everyone to be as adaptive as the designated leader, because they will not always be there, to tell you or show you what to do next.
  • Finally, leadership decisions on the floor of the exchange, in the EOC or sitting across the table from your newest prospective client means that you have got to practice.  This capability of assets calls for you to continuously train and experience the emotions and see the results of your actions.  Good and bad.  These skills are perishable and require a tremendous investment in time and resources to make sure that the risks of failure are mitigated almost to zero.
What are you willing and able to do, to lead America in 2015 and beyond?  Think service before self-interest and you will be leading beyond the risks of an uncertain future for yourself and our country.

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