Leading through the good and bad

As the drumbeat of negative economic updates seems to overwhelm our daily news cycles, we tend to forget that at the heart of any business engine is people.

There is no denying the harsh realities of a precarious worldwide market. Regulations, audits, budgets and deadlines add to the roar of this depressing drumbeat. And all this negativity can combine to prompt us to lose sight of what is important in both our lives and our work. Consequently, as leaders, executives and technology professionals, we tend to forget that it is our colleagues and staff members that have helped to drive innovation, excellence and performance in our industry, probably more than in any other.

So, if you find yourself in a position of leadership, I'd like to challenge you to make 2009 the year you help to develop and uplift those who work with you and support your efforts as an information technology or information security chief. Realize that you may be the principal leader, however, just as it is in all hierarchical structures, you need to maintain and grow the backing and assistance your employees and other loyal supporters provide everyday. This means you'll have to focus on people.

Due to the current economic crisis, I receive about 20 to 40 unsolicited messages daily from talented IT and information security professionals seeking employment. Often, I don't have work opportunities to share, but typically I set aside at least 15 to 30 minutes each day to help those people network with executive recruiters and colleagues. That effort doesn't cost me a thing and gives me one of the greatest of rewards in helping others.

I urge you to make 2009 the year you help your leaders make significant contributions to your organization. No leader is ever unwilling to hear unsolicited, constructive ideas that add value to your organization. Yes, you too can approach each technology and information security challenge with a renewed vision of how to impact your organization positively. Think beyond the walls of your organization. Many times information technology and information security functions are perceived to be internal service organizations. Eliminate that myopic vision from your thinking and realize that every operational function of an organization can have a positive impact.

It is my strong belief that information technology and information security can provide the greatest innovative business processes and value to any organization. The only thing in our control is our willingness to look beyond the negative and find “the silver lining.” I'm a firm believer that the silver lining in the technology industry is people helping people.

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