How to Create a Productive Cybersecurity Team

How to Create a Productive Cybersecurity Team 150 150 Sharon Smith

This is part three of a six-part series for leaders of cybersecurity teams who want to create a high performance team. To start from the beginning read The Importance of a High Performance Cybersecurity Team and Protecting Your Organization through Engagement of Your Cybersecurity Team.

Throughout this series we are talking about the EPICC model for high performance and the 5-Pillars – Engagement, Productivity, Integrity, Collaboration and Communication. Today is all about Productivity.

When it comes to your cybersecurity team productivity is essential. There is typically more to do than most teams have time for and this team is your organization’s frontline defense against cyber attacks and internal threats. In the last article we talked about engagement in and I want to clarify that just because an employee is engaged, does not mean they are productive. Engagement is a great first step, but engaged does not equal productive.

Being productive means getting the tasks done that have an impact to the team meeting their goals and deadlines and an impact to the bigger picture and organizational goals. The way you are going to help empower your cybersecurity team to be more productive is by getting rid of the idea of time management and to start talking about priority management.

Priority management is a clear understanding of what each person on the team should say yes to and what they should no to. And as their leader this applies to you too.

You will need to work with each individual on your team to help them determine what their priorities are. This is important because if you have more than three priorities you have none – a priority is something that is more important than something else – and if everything is deemed a priority then nothing is actually a priority. This is about looking at the entire team, determining what the team’s priorities are and then breaking those down into individual responsibilities and tasks.

You may find a lot of tasks need to be done and that they all support the priorities of the team. That means you need to clearly identifying what is most important and what is least important and which tasks support which priorities. It is allowing members of your team to say no to requests on their time that do not support one of their three priorities.

As tasks get completed, organizational goals change, or new projects are initiated the priorities will change. Until that time, the priorities you set with each person is their focus and their guide for what they should say yes to and what they should say no to. But in order for them to say no to requests they need to know you support that action and the best way to accomplish saying no.

It’s about empowering them to determine if something supports a priority or not and the freedom to come to you and let you know that by saying yes to this new request something else on their priority list is not getting done.

We all have the same number of hours in the day and when they get filled with tasks that do not support the big picture or do not fall into the category of priority, the big projects don’t get done, or don’t get done well, on time or on budget.

Another big time suck is what people like to call multi-tasking. To read about this in its entirety check out The Dirtiest Word in Business.

The intent here is understand that that there is no such thing as multitasking the way we use the term. Our human brain does not allow for it, we are not built for doing two different cognitive activities at the same time. You are not multitasking you are switching between tasks. You might be doing this quickly, but you are missing out on details and losing efficiency every time you do it. Think about any time you have had to ask someone to repeat themselves because you missed what they said while you were “multitasking” and reading or writing an email while you were supposed to be listening to a conference call. We have all done it and we have all had it happen to us. The point is that we miss critical details, prolong meetings, and lose productivity when we are task switching.

If you want more productive employees and a high performance team you want your cybersecurity team to single task. That is one thing at a time. Even if that task is only planned for 10 minutes, during those 10 minutes they are laser focused on the task without distraction. Teach your team to block time for their tasks and projects and during that time they are focused on the task and nothing else. That means they don’t check email, don’t answer text messages, don’t answer the phone, don’t surf the web, and don’t stop to have a conversation about anything else.

This will take practice because in the world we live in we are currently bombarded with a lot of information all at the same time and we have spent a lot of time thinking that we are great multitaskers.

Start the conversation and discuss priorities and multitasking with your team and with some practice and diligence you will start to see more productivity. Couple that with increased engagement that we discussed in the last article and you are really onto something great.

For more information or help getting the conversation started email sharon@c-suiteresults to discuss resources. Visit or listen to C-Suite Success Radio for more topics that will elevate your results.



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