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Building Integrity – The Glue of the Cybersecurity Team

So far we have discussed Engagement and Productivity, the first two pillars of an EPICC high performance team. Let’s continue exploring how to create an EPICC high performance security team, and look at the third pillar, Integrity. Integrity is the glue that holds an engaged and productive team together.

My two favorites definitions of integrity are doing the right thing even when no one is looking and doing what you say you will do long after the feeling you said it with has passed. That last one is what happens when, for example, you ask your friend to help you move and they say, “Sure anything to help…” but then the day comes to help you the last thing they want to do is move boxes and furniture. The person with integrity does it anyway because they said they would.

When members of a team have a what’s in it for me attitude, i.e. a lack of integrity, the team does not get very far. When it comes specifically to a security team, that is downright dangerous. In the world of cyber security, the team has to work well together if you want to stay ahead of the adversary. And if you don’t think you have any adversaries, remember that mistakes and errors internally can cause just as much damage to your organization. Your security team is on the front lines to prevent this and catch the errors or mistakes before they become costly or irreversible.

Your role in ensuring a team with integrity is to create an environment that establishes and supports integrity, and you do this by building a strong community. We have all seen what is possible when communities come together, whether after a natural disaster like a tornado, hurricane, or fire; or after a terrorist attack or violent incident. We have seen what is possible when neighbors help neighbors and the sense of community is strong. We have also seen the flip side with riots and looting that occur when a community is not strong and has a weak sense of integrity among its neighbors.

A community for your team means that everyone works together and no one is thinking what’s in it for me. When one member has a problem it is everyone’s problem, and that means the personal stuff gets addressed too. Because when someone is having trouble at home or outside of work it affects him or her at work. When they can come to work and know that it is safe to discuss with you or the team their focus will improve and so will their productivity.

No one wants to come to work and feel alone or worse suffer in silence, but people need to know it’s safe to share the personal stuff and the work stuff without fear of retribution, judgment, or scorn. You have to build this environment, set the rules of engagement, and make sure everyone knows where, when, and how to address the personal stuff and what will and won’t be tolerated, then lead by example.

Think about those communities where neighbors help neighbors and people have integrity. These Communities have greater property values, good schools, safe streets, and community activity. A team with high integrity members can get more accomplished, see problems ahead of time and bring projects in on time and on budget more easily. That brings value to the organization, which equates to your team having a high property value. When you provide continuing education you are offering good schools, the ability to share problems in a safe space is a safe neighborhood, and community activities means doing things outside of work from time to time. All of this helps build community and results in a high integrity and high performance team.

A low value community is rife with violence, low property values, lack of safety, and often are partly driven by fear. When this is the community of your team the violence shows up as in-fighting, backstabbing, and manipulation. When there is a lack of safety, people don’t share ideas, much less personal problems or challenges they are having with their work. All of this results in a team that does not work well together and ends up with a low property value within the organization.

Your security team is one of these two types of communities: they either have a high or low value within the organization, which will greatly depend on the type of community you have created. Start a conversation with your team about community, get to know your people, treat them with respect, and ask that they do the same. When you see something that might lead to a low value community, speak up and have the tough conversation about what needs to change. Lead by example and keep moving the team forward. Your security team is up against a lot of adversity as they protect your organization from faceless attackers, errors, and mistakes. They often only get feedback when something has gone wrong and rarely hear job well done. In order to keep them working together and in the right direction, integrity is going to be the glue that holds it all together.

If you have questions or comments about this article or the series you can reach out to me at sharon@c-suiteresults.com to discuss this topic, security teams, or security strategy. If you enjoy podcasts you can listen to C-Suite Success Radio to tap into the wisdom of other successful business people who know the path you’re traveling.

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11 (Pain Free) Marketing Tips for Business

Marketing, yuck!  The daunting task of selling your products, your services, your brand…yourself.  You went into business not because you are a natural sales person but because you are good in your specific industry.  The sad reality is that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, you must also be a successful marketer.  You may have the best business in the world but it means nothing if no one has heard of it.  If the idea of sales makes you shudder, read these pain free tips for marketing your business.

  1. Start Posting More on Social Media

Want to get some buzz on your page? Posting updates, links, photos, and retweeting is the best way to organically generate interest on your page. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, do some market research and look at what your competitors post on their social media pages. A few posts a week is a good start.

  1. Join Relevant Facebook & LinkedIn Groups

Joining groups on social media introduces you to new people and helps you target potential customers. Use LinkedIn’s search function to find the groups most relevant to you. People often use groups to pose questions or ask for advice. This is where you can demonstrate your skills and expertise but don’t be too salesy. Remember, you want to add value and help people, but you must also be patient. If you provide solutions to people on a regular basis, you will be top of mind and they will look to you for advice in the future.

  1. Start a Blog

According to Entrepreneur, a blog is a place where you find your customers, feed them information, and position your value. You have a lot of knowledge that could help people. Write about your business, your customers, and frequent problems customers have that you can shed light on. Think about the kinds of things your customers would want to read or that they would look up and create posts on those topics.

  1. Write a Guest Post on Another Blog

Don’t have the time to make your own blog?  Submit a guest article on someone else’s blog. Many bloggers accept guest content so just email them and ask. (For example, http://brainhackers.com/contributorguidelines/ looks for contributing writers all the time!) Find a blog with an audience similar to the demographic you are looking for. Make sure that the host blogger includes a link to your company website in the post. This is called a “back link” which over time this improves your SEO (search engine optimization.) The more places your website link is posted, the easier it is for people to find you via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.


  1. YouTube Ads

Running YouTube ads is a great way to get your message in front of a target audience and it may also help your SEO. (Google owns YouTube, so these videos are often ranked high in the search algorithm.) Google makes it incredibly easy to set up and monitor ads. For more info check HERE.

  1. Be a Guest on a Podcast

Much like writing a guest blog post, this will you get your message in front of a new group people and will only take an hour out of your day. How do you become a guest on a podcast? Simply contact the host and ask. Do NOT be overly salesy with the podcast host because you will be offered paid ad space instead of a free guest spot.  Rather than selling them on your product or service, sell the information and value you will provide to their audience.

  1. Optimize your Site for SEO

Does your website show up on the first page of a Google search…or the tenth? Did you know there are often simple things you can do to improve your ranking? For example. some things that affect your website SEO are the quantity and quality of photos used, the titles and descriptions of your pages, the way the pages are categorized, etc. Not sure where to begin?  Check out this article in Forbes for some tips to improve the SEO of your business.

  1. Create A Yelp Listing

Many businesses grow through word-of-mouth marketing and Yelp is the digital version of this. Customers turn to Yelp more than any other site to make buying decisions so it should be an essential part of your online portfolio. First check to see if you are already on Yelp. (The platform pulls information from different places so you may be without realizing it.) For more information on how to optimize and manage your Yelp listing click HERE.

  1. Offer a Free Giveaway

Everyone loves free stuff. This is a great way to get customers familiar with your brand. It can also help you build a mailing list of contacts. Offer a free download on your website (like a tip sheet or a report) that you must opt in to receive. Discount your service on Groupon and post on Facebook about the sale.

  1. Get Press

Getting your name to appear in the media raises brand awareness and it also builds credibility. Unlike advertising which immediately puts people on the defense (no one likes to be “sold”) earned media frames you as an expert and allows you talk about your brand in a discreet way that is much more effective for making sales and building brand advocates. Check HARO for media requests, send an opinion editorial piece to publications, or you can outsource the work to a professional PR team.

  1. Host a Webinar

Webinars are a way to build trust with customers/leads and help you demonstrate your expertise. Your webinar should provide useful information around your subject area. For ideas, you can look at what other people in your industry have done in the past. (Yes, someone has done a webinar on your topic, and if you search you will find it.)