Enterprise Security Leadership: Team Dynamics for Cyber Leaders
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Well, I want to welcome everybody to our third session. It says three of eight here is actually three of six, and then we're probably due another six pack later in the year. So you're wonder where the seventh and eighth art really, that's just the type of my my fault. But today we're gonna focus on Team Dynamics.
Um, and it's kind of ah, logical progression from the topics that we went through
the leading during the 1st 2 sessions. So we'll dig in on that, and we also have a great guest for the latter portion of discussion. My friend Chris Chris Hot Oddsson from
So you're gonna love hearing from crests and really be a lot of fun. But one thing I promised to mention is the little bit about the case study, so we'll have the folks just pop up and chat a link so that you know exactly
where you can download and read the case studies. We created this fictional Alex Smith, who's the sea so of a company, and we tried to put Alex into situations that match the topics that we cover in each session. So really do urge that you
take a look at them this short. I wrote thumbs very, very sure, a couple of pages per case study and then some discussion topics that you can use during a town hall or meeting with your team. So I hope you'll take a look. And please let us absent feedback
on those We enjoy writing them, and I just hope they're useful for you. I know that I find them useful
in just getting discussion going with the team, and the 1st 1 was about, you know, some I T operations manager having some
I need for this, he said, and negotiate a problem with that I T operations manager. You can read that and then the second case studies back conflict, which we talked about last week. This conflict between two team members
on this, he says, direct reports staff. So I thought those were useful. I suspect a lot of you will resonate with those types of issues. So today, that team team dynamics and use the problem,
and it's it immediately. It's a legitimate problem. That's that most of us
when we do cybersecurity, come to it because we're good at solitary things like hacking.
Hacking is not really a team activity, and I get that there's U. S Cyber command. The nation states work together in hackers Yak on, you know, on the Internet to each other. But for the most part,
if you are a good hacker, then you're pretty comfortable inside your scan. You have a lot of confidence, and you don't need to really rely on a lot of people. And yes, I do get that you get coaching and help I. I know that for the most part,
your tendency if you come to this, is your your that person in sixth grade, it pushes everybody else out of the way and you do the project yourself. That's what we're cybersecurity experts. Air tend to be pretty bright and tend to be self motivated, like, do things themselves. So when we talk about team,
there's a lot of yea, yeah, way too much of that. So we're gonna focus on the importance here of learning
to work with a group.
Um, and in fact, there, I say, to develop some respect
and some willingness to be dependent on people who may not have technical skills. That's it. In a nutshell.
You know those of us in cybersecurity tend to grow up in a world
where the meritocracy is defined by your ability.
Teoh understand UNIX internals to know more UDP ports than anybody else without having to look them up or to be able to sit a command line
induce an interesting things on operated, since those are the things we value.
And while they're important, those air not necessarily the kinds of things that make up for a great team member, as we will see in our discussion here. So let's said we always dio
started little sentence here. The memorized and it's team dynamics. Now, if you are an old physicist like me, you know dynamics means change. That's what it means. That's why didn't right
you know, team set up for composite or something. Dynamics means it's changing. So, like if you didn't take one thing out of this,
you know what? The end of this hour you forget everything. But I hope you listen to Christian love. Listen, Chris, But one thing for me,
then I hope you take out that teams change. That's it. You'll see. The examples that I use here
are that things change and I come from a company like I grew up in 18 T. Where's lifetime employment? Like when I retired
after 31 years, a lot of people came up and said, Hey, and decide to leave here early, huh? You know, these people stay 40 50 60 years, but that's not the norm. Normally, in a career and in a company, an organization, an agency, people are going to come and go.
So it is a team dynamic that you're dealing with as opposed to some set up or or point in time where
you know you can you can look at the set up and you could make Cem characterizations about team without recognizing that teams change. So keep that in mind. Here's a model
it's gonna be like the Nike swish here. Or like Corona. Uh, uh, recovery graphs,
Um, and it starts with the concept of forming a team. Some of you have seen this, but let's go over because they always like to do a model right through each. Each week
I was looked for some analytical or mental model that's useful, that you could memorize that may be used with your own team, or you can see if it makes sense. But when you form a team, that's usually an act that is driven by a need or something's happened, you broken some
team up for a new executives and brought in a team around him or her.
Whatever the reason, you'd like the team to be formed because of something positive, right? I always like to say
we have this opportunity. Let's put a team together and take take advantage of it. If a team has put together to solve a problem, I get it. But that's not as much fun, By the way, those of you work in cybersecurity companies. If you're a vendor,
it's not great. If the purpose of your company is to stop threat X, it's much better to enable something in the face of threats. So try to positive your negative if you can't, but you form a team. And then inevitably, what happens is it's a mess. Um,
and that's kind of the storming thing. So the fact that there's the swish going down
implies directionally on the screen that presumably something lower on the screen is not as advantageous. Oh, are effective. Is something higher. So you go from forming down to storming,
meaning everybody's swirling around figuring out who's doing what
you know, working things out. Getting process is put in place, figuring out what to do in my own company. Metal tags timer. Thanks. However, I think I'm here like I formed a team a couple 23 years ago, and now we're storming busy life going on. Everybody figure. Now we're hired people and it and it
feels a little bit chaotic at times,
but that's the way it teams work,
you know, you form a team, and then that's the sky parts and the clouds go away and everything is perfect.
You did that, you know, I don't know what planet you're on, but I've never seen a team put together that way. It's always you form them with the best of intentions. And then there's always a period,
but things are a little messy. But then everybody says, All right, enough is enough.
We need some process here. We need to improve this. This person could be in charge of this and we're going to stop doing that. We're gonna improve this and improve that and and you start feeling pretty good. Then you know, it feels like you were in storming. Now it's feeling better. Here.
You feel like there's looked pretty legit. And then just when everything starts feeling great, you perform but noticed the curve starts like any s curves, the level off
and the reason that levels office because teams don't last forever. They come and they go,
and that's fine. That's what we mean by dynamic. Things were changing. Things are adjusting, things are are moving. Things are in some sense of shifting from one to the next.
But this this wish that's Nike swish.
You should think of your career as maybe
being part of I don't know, dozens, hundreds of these.
It's pretty rare if you said you were this was your career like it started Age 20 you're storming at age 30. In Norman, age 40 you're performing at age 15. That which out the pastor at age 60 adds a little bit. Work that way, like this is more
lots of different teams that come and go and they'll go through this and some go from forming to storming
and can't get to Normie. It's just too much of a mess. Everybody quits. It's gone.
Some of them get to performing and continue for a long time. But usually it's a swish that levels off and is replaced very quickly
by a new team. New Mission. Think about any times Apple, as a company has gone through in some more or less different s curves. Here it's
It's not only common,
but it is welcome, like that's whole kind of the whole idea here of,
of understanding team dynamics they form, they exist through some dynamic need
and then presumably, to move on. Let's look at a couple of examples here, so
your two completely different types of teams and as you're listening here, I would I didn't I'd advise that you think through whether you're
part of one or are one of these types or somewhere in the middle, these air too extreme,
The one on the left here from one of my favorite authors, admittedly, Doris Kearns Goodwin
is this book about Lincoln's Cabinet. These guys, they didn't respect Lincoln.
They all have different opinions.
They would skip cabinet meetings if they thought they needed to.
They would openly lampoon Abraham Lincoln is his gawky awkwardness and his,
you know, his colloquialisms that they saw sometimes is being,
you know, mistakenly being you know, the words of, ah, of a buffoon, like they just really
during the time they work together,
they were just It was just a group that was
It's not on the same page. And yet
when you go back and look in history, what they accomplished as a group and what they said later about Abraham Lincoln,
like this group
was able to accomplish quite a bit, and you should go for it. If that's news to you, then you should go read some of these books and read about
when Amazing person Abraham Lincoln was, I think my mind, maybe
the greatest leader that in America has ever had in my mind, but he had this ragtag group. Now over on the right Here is a different kind of team.
This is a team that was assembled at Ford Motor Company in the fifties.
Not only do they all look alike like they'll look like white males to May about the same age. There's no diversity here,
but they thought alike to like this was a group that was metrics driven
and they were smart. I mean, smart, like this is a group that, like, back here, see this guy over here. I think you can see the cursor. That's Robert McNamara. So this is And there's, like, future deans of some business schools thes air, really, really capable
and they re essentially reinvented.
I think the way metrics are used in business to make this passionate decisions
that optimized metrics that you're tracking, such as productivity in a factory
or the proper way to
to make decisions in a marketing team about what models to build on, what features to put in place and how to invest capital on how to really dispassionate metrics really metrics driven
the problem with that
is that that kind of swish, right? That s curve in That kind of scenario
appeared to be pretty effective for Ford Motor Company. But take this guy Robert McNamara.
planted into the Johnson administration through Kennedy
and became one of Lyndon Johnson's
sort of right hand men
through the Vietnam War.
And you'll recall
that McNamara was one of the architects of a metrics driven approach to that Vietnam War. And what a catastrophe
like they were, the ones saying,
Well, if our enemy is losing 10 times more people to death than we are,
that's from a metrics perspective, not sustainable.
So therefore, we must be winning this war because look, every time we lose one person, they're losing whatever the number was 10 or 100 words, some some horrible thing
that would it Certainly in a business context. Yeah, I get that. Like, if your adversary sells one card yourself 1000 I think we all know where that goes. You're going to be the leader. That's great.
But in a war did that work? Hell, no, it didn't work, and it was a catastrophe.
So recognize that teams
are not just a composite that's put together
for a purpose, and then you could just duplicate it. It's a dynamic. It's a team dynamic that change the circumstances, change the circumstances here for a Blinken, putting this group of people together very different
from this group of people. And I don't know what you have it work. If you're a cease over deputy, see? So you working a security team,
you're probably neither of these, right? I mean, a couple 100 people listening to our discussion here. I'll bet you almost every one of you would say
we're in the middle here somewhere. I we've got
you know, some sense. There's some commonality there, but luckily we have some diversity.
And yes, there's some dissent. But it's not too much to send a URL to get the boss man. Most people are kind of in the middle,
and and that may be fine, as long as that navigates toward the problem that you're trying to solve is a group your mission.
But you could argue that there is a time when this kind of thing that Lincoln put together is right and there is definitely a time for a team of common vision. I personally believe there is never
a time for a non diverse team. I never think that's good. I think that,
you know, nature has proven that diversity makes of ecosystems stronger. It makes for a stronger. And if you have too much commonality you got, you may find yourself with a grave problem here. Let's look at this example here cause in cybersecurity,
this pretty common thing that we deal with right
emergencies pop up
problems have to be solved.
Incident response team or an emergency response team needs to be put together to look at a challenge. And this is that amazing group of divers that save those the soccer kids remember that Like that. So much has happened in our world since then
that we forget how much this captivated all of us. I could barely sleep, you know, when this was going on. And I would just sit up all night watching TV, praying that these guys he's heroes
could get those *** kids out of that cave, right? Was that the most incredible thing ever saw? But let's talk about some characteristics of this team.
So first off, they've got common skills, right? These guys, this guy and this guy just got there. They're all carrying them. Those guys convey. I've man. Then they came from all over the world, you know? But they had a common skill set that allowed every one of them
to immediately become
pretty productive right after you weren't showing up there and saying, Well, I can't swim, but I'd like to help. If that were the case, then you'd have been outside the cave cave. Like making, making sure, but have water. There's a place for you, But you're not gonna be one of these guys. So they all had a common skill.
I think that the objective was pretty *** clear, right? There wasn't a single person there saying, Why are we here,
right? We knew why they're there, but he knows why you're there of a common objective. That's a common mission.
We're all here to do something. And weirdly, every one of them also knows that the team is gonna disband at some point.
So they're working together. There's a common mission, and then the S curve is just going to die off. So you know that this has to be one that gets from forming through storming to Norm ing real fast,
like in an hour earlier in the day. You can't say Let's sit here and plan this out for a couple of weeks. They had to sit down and triage how they were going toe work, what the plan was and how things move forward. There's a time for that.
Think how different that would be
if they were set up Not to save a bunch of kids, but rather
toe work through a training plan. In case something like that ever happened to get different. There might have been a lot of maybe not, maybe some disagreement. As you're going from the forming to the storming stage, the urgency wouldn't have been. There may not been this clear with the mission Waas, but this is a
perfect example of a team that comes together
now is exactly what they're trying to dio.
And in this case, I personally think, you know, you look for heroes in the world,
you're not gonna find him on social media. You're not gonna find him on reality TV. You're gonna find him right here. These are people that
and if you're gonna put carbs and faces into a stone, these are the ones I'd vote. So So It's a great example of a team that had a mission, and now they're not really a team anymore. Disbanded did what you need to do. Here's another fun example. This is Lou Holtz. I gotta tell you a story. I was invited to give a big presentation to G S A.
That's the General Services Administration
in the United States.
and it was a little rough because and I said I found the questions here. There's a couple of questions I'll get to the Let me finish this story and I'll get to these couple of questions, they're asked. But I'm asked to give a star like a talk on cybersecurity. Two g s A.
And they told me I was the warm up act for their
main speaker, and I had no idea. Waas. So I get to the little table and it's Lou Holtz who was there speaker. And it turns out he's a very funny
speaker who gives like advice and tips on teams,
and and I got there and I realized
that we were speaking in two hours and I was sitting there and there was Lou Holtz and not too many other people. And I was gonna have two hours
with one of the coolest football coaches who ever lived and really one of the funniest, nicest person I've ever met in my life.
The guy was hilarious. Who's so nice if you talk to him? He listened. I asked him what he was gonna talk about. It was very personal. And when he got up,
he talked about what I'm going to say, Right, Knight said. Look, he runs a team
the kind of turns over its personnel every few years, right?
Any coach? Notre Dame? He went on to coach of South Carolina, and he also coached in them in the pros for a while. But
you're dealing with a group of teammates
that are gonna come and go like there. They're not there for, you know, three days like those divers were there more for a few years.
But the skills air different, right? It's not like they're all divers. Everybody's got a different skill set.
You know, the kicker is different from the quarterback different than the defensive tackle. Lou Holtz told me he had a kicker once who was amazing.
But the kicker came over and said, I get nervous if you watch me
said it, could you not watch me kick and lewd left? And today I don't care if I could stand on my head of it, makes the ball go through the post. So if you go back, okay, I guess is probably some video of this. I don't remember what year waas, but he had this kicker. Whenever the guy was here to kick a field goal, the hoax would walk away and not watch
because he didn't want this kicker to get nervous. Like so funny. Stuff like
that was crazy personalities, but somebody made it work, you know, wins the national championship.
And just as just a funny story. But also, this is a team that's not dismiss, not disbanding,
Right? So this goes on and on. This reminds me mawr
of your team at work and notice. I used the same title your rapidly assembled team response to an emergency. What's the emergency here? Well, it's not like those kids you know who might lose their life.
Still kind of an emergency. Right near the gain was an adversary. Gotta go win.
It's sort of like that. You got a couple hours to do it. That's sort of like an emergency. This reminds me more
of a C so led team than the previous thing like this thing is more like incident response triage. We've got to get a bunch of people together on my gosh, What's going on? This reminds me or here's your C So and here's a team and they come and go and they have complementary skill sets, and it's not there to disband.
But they're dealing with, you know, a challenge that comes and goes a challenge during the week, a big challenge on the weekend during a game. So I thought it was a stroke of genius to invite Lou Holtz to speak
at the G s a thing, because again, it was just so darn funny.
so now there's a question here from a new don't allow that. I don't have a team to leave, but I have, ah, the work of a lot of teams. Quite a lot of different guy notes. Any advice there? Yes, so when you're dealing with multiple teams,
it's tricky because you have to learn to somehow play the wind in Rome Game, right. Like if you're in auditor and you're in working with 18 it would be wise to adopt some of the dynamics of that team while you're there.
Like if this is a team of supreme techies,
why not take the time to learn a little bit before rather than just go in and have your arms folded? Say, Look, I'm not technical, so I know you're techies, but too bad, you know, I don't get it. That's way less effective than saying, Hey, I understand you all are very technical and I'll never get to your level of understanding.
But I spent my entire weekend reading about Python because I understand what
talk about Python code here. And I did the best I could to learn. So at least you don't have to explain to me those things. Everybody in the room is going to say thank you. You know they're going. It just you've hopped the board. Their approach. You made yourself an honorary team member for some period of time, so when you're
when you work with a lot of different teams, you have to be willing to understand the dynamic
and figure out how you can somehow at least show respect to that team.
Now let's see, someone said, Could you please share great teamwork? Example of teamwork? Example. In the domain of cybersecurity?
Well, surely never all the time, like any time there's an incident needs to be worked. Everybody on this call can think of an example where things were great. I hinted at something outstanding. This question. I hinted it something last week that I want you to, uh to consider.
And that's that.
I think I said,
What was the best
day of your career at work?
It was the best day ever had it work,
and I asked people that all the time
and the number one example is the day I got this razor that got paid some money and it was kind of cringe at that thing. You know, I wish that wasn't your best day.
I wish it was something that you did with a team where you accomplished something like I'll give you an example. One time was part of a team that was
developing some code on it wasn't working. And for anonymous attendee question, this is my answer to share a great example.
So the code was working
and it wasn't working. We're doing a demo, and it was pretty high level
demo for high level, you know, fancy name people coming to Steve the thing.
And I was the lead, wasn't working, wasn't working and I'm going on ***. So I had my two talks the one talk where we
don't do the demo because it's not working. But I talk about it and the other where we do do the demo because it's working. And as they're coming in the building and coming to the conference room, it's still not working and the teams right there, and we're basically in the data center doing it. They're shaking their head, not working, not working.
I get up, the team comes in,
customer shakes hands. They sit down. I start on the thing. I get to the point of no return. I look over and I noticed heads nodding, meaning
So I said, Let's go to the demo and I go to the demo
and everybody was really excited. This was a hard thing, and the battle we were trying to do is to show that something could be done
with software, so wasn't disingenuous. We've proven that it was a proof by showing a case that wanting a one possible solution exists in here It is
there it is not mocked up. This thing worked. It worked once, and then they left and it didn't work again. It has worked at that one moment, and it was so exciting and exhilarating. And we were all so happy. And I felt like I was part of the group that we're all basically,
you know, hugging were so happy.
And when you ask me, was my greatest stay at work. That was one of them,
you know, And that's not a raise.
That was like a bunch of people working together. And I'm going to guess within a year to just through the normal dynamics that team was gone. It was moved, you know, you shift. Reordan moved it shift. But at that moment in time, it was great.
And and that's what you want. That's what that s curve is like from forming to storming to Norm ing. And then performing
is when the company or the agency gets their money back for creating your team because you're performing your investing all the other times. But the demo worked.
big new project
it was worth and that that's the idea. So good. Thanks for asking that question. We're gonna go through some rules and then we'll get to Chris. But the first rule here is that you want to focus on some purpose and mission. So with any team,
it should be the case that they all know why the team exists
and on then Ed Amoroso rule of handing out index cards. I think I mentioned this to you guys before you got a group of people work for you
and you're part of the team. Or even if you're part of a team and somebody else is in charge, recommended this hand out index cards, everybody in a pencil. You could do it. Virtually everyone implemented, but the image should be.
We'll get an index card, a pencil in 10 minutes and you write down. Why does our team exist?
And then passed the cards up on somebody read it and they better say the same thing.
If everybody is saying something different, you know you have a problem.
It's better to be on the same page than to have a bunch of smart people in different pages. And that's why I put here. Riel teams always be all star teams. They dio. You don't need an All Star team. You just need people on the same page. We're all working together. Who?
Common mission, common belief. So that's the first rule. This is an important one. And if you've ever done the index card thing than try it,
2nd 1 is rewards. This is a challenge like there's no clear way in my mind
to give guidance on how to reward a team. I know how to reward individual giving more money. Like for me. I remember the greatest reward I ever got,
and I blogged about. This
was a private office of Bell Labs. Like if you became a distinguished member of technical staff, your reward was you not to sit in a bowl. Kennedy, where you were in a private office, and I think it's so funny in this time of
open working arrangement.
But she's not very covert friendly,
never been a big fan of that. To be honest with you, I went along with it. They knew there were a lot of people who were
super into it.
Um, but I think people should, you know, maybe have the opportunity to have some privacy but whatever but figuring out what your rewards are like work with HR and come up with something that reward a team around There was a team like to dio
I like an interesting speaker for the team. Where you gonna pay money? Like if you like that, say, Lou Holtz, Nobody charges, But I bet it's not a lot.
Think of the difference between
we're going to give you all up.
You know, a gift card. You go off with your family and have dinner somewhere
hey, a reward for that great project as we're gonna have Lou Holtz come to your next team meeting and he's gonna talk. Teoh,
you see the difference. It's like you're rewarding the team you're giving that you're acknowledging the entity together and you're providing a reward or a value or something positive that they can all experience together versus alone. So think that through. It's not easy.
And I mentioned here in academia if anybody I you know,
Professor, in a couple of schools. There's a really hard thing to do there because professors are really notorious for not being team players. So it's unclear when you're running a department how you reward a department. Usually that's hard to do.
Rule three is around interdependencies,
and and and I personally think this is the key, like
nurturing interdependencies means
multiple team members to be dependent on each other.
So instead of Hey, you do this, you do this. You do that,
Which is the kind of thing you do if you think everybody's gonna like quit tomorrow. We know your whole team could quit it any instant. You bet. No interdependencies, everything would be modular. Everything would be replaceable, and that's how you'd run the team.
But if you really like the team to function together than you nurture interdependency,
lots of little tricky and again diversity makes that better.
Because when people come with different skill sets, you're naturally going to be more dependent on them. Like if somebody comes in with a deep audit background and you're like a nerd firewall developer,
well, it's audit issues. Come up. You're going to reach across the room to the person's got that background saying, Can you help me? And she's going to say Yes, I absolutely can help you. And then when something comes up, you know, related to the network infrastructure,
she'll come up to you and you say I'm happy to help you with that. That's my background, even nurturing
that interdependency and it builds trust and it builds success, and it just there's no downside to that type of thing.
Now. Rule for is related to Rule one, and that's goals, so milestones are not goals. Write that down. Milestones do not equal goals. If you say what's what are your goals this year? And you say, I'm gonna deliver this This, this and this
that I hope you'll remind whoever reporting that to you that delivery of something is a milestone. It's not a goal. Your goal has to be something that's related to the mission of the organization.
Now here's the problem.
As a coach, like I coach a lot of si SOS and team members, something ideo.
You know what? I was fine. I was finally have three sets of goals and I always hoped that I could work with a client to make someone
the first set of goals are what we would refer to as the personal goals.
So those are the ones that we developed together privately.
That may not be exactly the kind of thing you'd want to tell your boss, because part of those goals might be
to, you know, to expand your horizons outside the organization. Yet to quit, get a better job.
That's could be a personal goal. And I get that. And sometimes with clients, if they tell me that when we write that down, we say Worry, I got that. That's a personal goal.
The second set of goals Usually your
quote unquote employees goals, those air, the ones you write down
that you share with your boss and your bills. Now look, I'm a group Catholic,
so everybody knows when you grow up Catholic, you learn what sorts of things to say in the confessional when you're a kid and that means you go to the priest and you say stuff that sounds good. You don't e Anybody with the Catholic school knows what I'm talking about.
You just have something that sounds great and you go in. There's a few things you did. I was my mother and
you. Things that are not so terrible. Spot right.
That's what the's personal goals are at the. As an employee,
you said Mitt goals to the boss. That air just sounds just about right there. Attainable. They sound good. They're clean. They're not to stretch, but they're a little stretch, you know. It's just your craft of purse. Perfect perfectly. But then the personal goals are the real ones that you're working on. But you never tell your boss that
you follow. A lot of people said, And then the third I said that story. Then there's the team goals that you set up, and I always try toe, See if it's possible to make all three of them together. Like when they all work together. I suspect that's pretty exciting,
right? That's when
somebody's operating on all cylinders like I'm going to guess that Neil Armstrong, in the summer of 1969 did not have three separate personal employee and team goals.
Everything was together. His family mission, NASA personal put all that stuff came together to crosswords when they're all together, we went to the moon read, but when they're separated
when you have these personal objectives,
and then you have these other objectives that air separate for the thing you're leading. And then you have these other public objectives that you're right down is the thing you're doing. That Jackson had these things. You don't tell anybody that air hidden that air. Really? What's going on
then? That's never right. And it always leads to chaos.
So if you're there, I get it that you're gonna have different personal employee goals. But you should aspire toe having common
and it be nice. If the team goals were consistent with your personal ones, then you know you're on the right team. If you have different goals than your team and s, that's not good. That's a total mess. You you've got to somehow get out of that,
I like the technique known as management by walking around. Not really great during a Corona virus Global Pandemic, right? That doesn't work,
and it's creepy to do zoom walking around. So your little bit screwed if this is your approach and it's sort of in my approach, so set that aside, you got to figure out some way to communicate feedback
that is years of problems. Um,
there's some people
you lied to you and say I want direct feedback.
Nobody wants direct feedback. That's negative. They want direct feedback. That's positive. And they're willing to just wince at a little bit of negative feedback. So long as you're not going to make them feel bad. I really believe that there is a lot of people on this call that I think don't agree with that. You say no, you got to be direct. You gotta let people have it.
I believe in the plant theory of human beings. Here's what that means.
My wife and I, we have a lot of plants around our house and we just enjoy that. And I have these three
like palm trees, and I live in New Jersey. So the wintertime from November until April, they have to sit in my garage and actually heeded the garage just for them.
But I go in and I talked to them every day and and I tell him how much I appreciate that their palms and that in December, when their snow, I could go my garage and I can enjoy three palm trees that are in my garage,
and I talked to them and we've had them alive for 45 years. And I believe in my heart
that they're successfully growing and stay healthy because I go out and talk to them and I give them good be back
looking good. I think they responded, even think I'm nuts. Then go read the book. The Secret Life of Plants and you'll see what I mean. I think plans for a lot of people and plants and others and Children
respond to positive feedback better than negative. Now, if it's negative feedback, you've got to make it constructive somehow.
And you should always start with the good stuff before you get to the bad stuff. If there is some and if somebody's got a really negative behavior and you got to talk about how to improve it, not how they've been so stupid and you're so annoying and please stop that
This is my advice to you don't have to agree,
but I think when people say I give direct feedback and if it's bad, then you got to hear it. Get in here, sit over here and I'm gonna tell you the things you're doing wrong. And believe me, you're going to appreciate it because I've let you have it. I'm gonna take you to the next level.
Um, excuse my friends here, but I think that's ***. Like, I I personally think
that we're all crying out for attention and appreciation. And if you're not doing the work,
then I get it. There has to be some feedback that makes that clear.
But if you think that by yelling at somebody are letting them have it, that that's gonna change their way of being, you're just gonna have a short term impact. And eventually, if they're not doing the work, you yelling at them and giving feedback is not gonna change it. You have to be constructive. You have to be supportive. You have to show empathy
while the times there's a reason for these things. I've had many people,
we're poor performers,
and then suddenly it changes and you go dig under the sheets a little bit. You find out that might have been a sick family member,
are some circumstance that just made it impossible. And I've had those people come up to me afterwards and say I really appreciate
that. You understood that I had a bad year
and I know you didn't really say what you wanted to say, but I appreciate it. We had some problems. My mom was old and dying or something. All these things and then that person resumes. But just whatever it is, make sure the feedback that you do you're not. That person feels like
it's your job to tell everybody what a bunch of jerks they are, and that's going to get them all in line.
I asked Lou Holtz, you know, Did he tell that kicker, What do you jerk or something? You need me to not watch you get men. I put on your put on your big boy pants and go out there and kick what would happen? Lou Holtz would've glared at the kiddie Miss five field goals in a row
versus just kind of chuckling and saying, Everybody's a little different. Certainly a new one young man. And then he turns his back and the kid kicks field goals for you.
So communicating feedback, I think, is important.
Six is open discussion. We talked a lot about this one last week. No, I don't have to belabor this. You know how much I believe in this? And then finally the continuous learning
super important early, some new businesses that do like cyber ranges. You know where you get a sock team together and you learn as a group, I think those are amazing and the fact that you're doing cyber he tells me that you have some interest
for the whole concept of learning in the first place, much less continuous, which I think it's super important.
Um, so there's a couple things here like that. One person saying direct negative feedback that isn't destructive helps improve performance. I think that's true. I think it has a short term job, but I think as long term damage like, I think direct negative feedback
is not the right thing is my This is just made. You don't have to agree with this. I think anything can be positive.
And, yeah, you can describe consequence you instead of saying if you don't stop doing X, you're going to get fired. That's a heck of a lot different than I love the way you do. Why? I really need to see more of why you're the best. Why person in the whole company?
But, you know, I really do need to see that if I don't may have some consequence. But don't worry about let's see the positive. You see a difference. They're very different discussions,
and I just feel like any negative that you throw it somebody.
It may have a short term impact, but there's a way of making something positive here. And then somebody else says someplace a little change and then go back. Yeah, I get that. I mean, that's what consequence means. I'm not again its consequence. You should be clear. You should say, Listen, we hired you to do the X y Z. We argue to test code and you're not doing it.
So look, you re hard because you are an excellent tester. I want to see some of that thing we've been looking for. Yeah, if we don't, we might have to make a change. But look, I know you can do this. I mean, that's that's the way you should do it. I think that's much more appropriate.
So with that, I think I've gotten through most of the questions here and comments. We have an amazing guest here. Somebody of
I've admired for a long time. Chris Skin. Can you hear me? OK,
Yeah, it's great. Some impresses those he saw, Detainee. Um, which is a company that I think is well known to just about everybody on the call here. I first became aware of the company many years ago.
Admire the company and certainly admire Chris. Chris, I'm gonna start.
Maybe in a minute we'll talk a little bit about some team issues, but I'd like you to take a minute. Just tell that group here about yourself, your background and how you came to the company and
maybe a little bit about some of your interests.
Yeah. Actually, I have Thanks for the discussion. Thus far, it's been it's been good for me to listen and hear a little bit more around teams and a little bit more about some of the comments we've got there around. People have usual things, so, yeah, I've where to start. So where might have 39? So I got into i t and technology. I would say around
So, you know, here in the UK, kind of the education systems and then only different to us. But we go from kind of your your secondary school exams through toe further education. And from there from your A levels to go through to university, I reach that kind of point between those A levels in university of thinking
What I wanted Dio really wanna do you wanna go to university for four years? Because my friends are doing that, you know, just follow kind of hurt to do that. I didn't really My family didn't have a huge amount of money I list, so it felt like that wouldn't be the route to go down. But I enjoyed all forms of technology, was very curious on how things worked.
And even at a young age, kind of how you could maybe
break the approach that's supposed to be adopted for some of those systems, right? So I always have early curiosity and
insecurity, but I started out in computer programming,
So first thing I did I think, was a visual basic. Five is your basic six A college, you know, traditional, kind of.
I was at the time declined applications that you would you would see out there and kind of moved into
on a VB scripting kind of time. Delphine Joe, my agent of Adelphia's well from there, went down the route of more of kind of like a systems engineer through toe architect on the I T side. And I remember vividly
I did my M CSE arriving maybe 2021 March of Certify Systems Engineer. And at the end of that, there was some elected. It's a case of right. Okay, so I go down the messaging database or security room, and I was like, OK, messaging, you know, divulging respect, people who work in in messaging
office 365 Today
I felt that maybe that was a little narrow and I wouldn't necessarily have happened breath to explore things I wanted to date databases. Will women over that 2020 the breath now have no SQL racist relation with weight is made with this some flexibility there scope. But security really appealed to me,
so I kind of going to the security
track pretty earlier. So I start again. It's a security engineer and security architect, and I think I was probably 28. That's still quite early. Young. I should say that I have got my first quite going to see some gig
here. I am a UK retail on, and
I enjoyed that.
You know, I made some mistakes like I came in and I was one of those people who are now. It's a frown on Tom, but I look out and I think you making two mistakes. They have always having this dogmatic butor security. So this is the approach you take a risk management. This is the approach you take to penetration testing for a 1,000,000,000 management, etcetera, etcetera.
You gotta learn, I think if you get older and obviously the focus of today's on teams. But
you know it's not just your team, but it's the harmony of the cross functional working of
of the other teams that you're working with right in cyber security and you know great things there but also makes mistakes and
then decided to make the vendor world.
So I moved across the company Z scaler disease carefully half to stay without years. I was a day protection officer on around their cease a walk in the media
and today, like fast forward a few years. So yeah, I run security detainee in, So that's everything from security, engineering operations, governance, risk compliance on
you know, the more traditional vendor role from a Caesar perspective of our officer to see so, so engaging with security execs and customers and potential customers toe talk about security challenges. Everything from this sort of stuff we're talking about today fruit are
yet tiny was a platform, and I'm kind of what we do. So
I was, you know, I mean, your experience is so common where we are attracted the programming, and it's always different programming languages. But it's still kind of SIM similar and attracted to. In some sense, security and hacking and contested will like that.
And it's such a solitary activity. Um, curious,
because I know I've seen you in action. You're good with the group and good with other people. Is that just by accident, or did you have to work on those skills? Yeah. My wife asked me that question because she was saying, I'm no, particularly social person.
I honestly don't know like this time. I think we all have times when
we just want to focus on something ourselves, right? So there's that kind of delineation. I think that's we personal professional. I think professionally on. I can't remember where I wrote this and I think she deleted from the record for my bosses. But I said that I do a lot of what I do today if I wasn't paid. You know, I really do genuinely enjoy
some security building laps,
Frank modeling pen testing, you know, whenever we want to call it like I really like those aspects of
if my job,
you know, the especially the vendor side that collaboration with stakeholders is critically important Member actually know it. No, no, Even on the vendor side, I think as a c 7 2020
there is no vertical security function. You think if you think how you know an application is developed today you think of most organizations and 17 toe idea with internally and externally are working with Dev Ops Life cycles. They're working the failing fast there,
you know, having maybe less seven condemning. Whoa! But
you know, they're having most white board conversations where a decision gets made instantaneously. It gets implemented for thing that it's later and US air security really have to be able to articulate a security position
to people who don't understand necessarily there the nuance of the specificity of some of our controls
that's speaking to people outside of our community, I think
yeah, I think I would say that is no one has that. I know what I mean and you eat more so than may. You know, you speak wrong on stage and write books and get involved with people. And I heard that your views, why you personally, is no. One is good on day one, like General Me like it's something that you evolve your home. You get much barras, you do more
I think that's right. Well, what's the environment like a team? You you work hard to kind of build with your own team Some of the dynamics, like we've been talking. I know you're listened to the conversation any that resonate, like any examples there of times in your own career where
you were glad you were part of some team and
somebody had your back there. Probably a lot of examples where that has popped up. His titanium so darn popular and so successful that my suspicion is it's not just because the founders air so smart, which they are but I think it's probably where the team
Yeah, you're right culture. What I said. Culture extracting breakfast Is that Is that the appropriate phrase? Yeah, wear something that's foundational to ascertain you.
We win as a team, and some people may Sayigh here with us.
That's a trying or, you know, it's it's honestly true. We have this culture of one thing, one fight. So if you work in engineering or working site security or work in marketing or finance, you know we have some established principles that the company wants to hit. Two directional governing it,
you know, we tend to hire people who buy into that. It's ah,
it's a fairly rigorously proven process for that reason, because once you have the right people,
they can work autonomously. You get up. Certainly in the moment, I would say, with regards to kind of team, specifically Whiting and team dynamics, and it's quite an interesting one. So I want security function from hearing I should say London by allow
four minutes of London. But, you know, I hear the majority of my team is in
well, what was in your Carolina? A lot of memory rally, but then they also based around the U. S. So you have toe
look at ways of ensuring the team can come together when they can't physically come together. And that's not just having people on zoom sessions. That's ensuring that you could dio everything from interactive gaming
through Teoh. You know, just one on one sessions, just finding the team, seeing how they're doing.
One of my team actually was talking about this week around. Why don't have section where we just walk together?
So you go out for a walk, you get on the fire and you find the other person who's walking and just kind of still. Then you can kind of retain that one to Ron conversation. I don't know. It just feels like this is some element there of being there in person, cause you both kind of doing the same thing at the same time. But from
for a team's perspective, with regards to kind of galvanizing what everyone's doing it, some
yeah, it's important to set direction
is it's important, also, almost, conversely, not to micromanage, right? So the way that I look at things is, you know, on a
our weekly basis, so we're firm support refined, agile methodologies.
So my function use cam bar on the left. Many people familiar Kampamba. You know, identifying and limiting the working progress that anyone team could have. Just ensuring, therefore, that you can focus on what's important, get that completed and then bring other things into into the process. So, yeah,
I can think only hundreds of examples of specific kind of
team unity, but yeah, I just think it respect to the way you are around the world.
It's just violently important. That sound you come together at the moment, we digitally goto regularly with a common set goals. It,
You know, Chris is a lot of questions here from for dissidents about feedback. You know, I think I probably touched the nerve with some of the
the point I was making, like some folks here referencing Jim Collins and others around feedback. What? What what advice do you have? Like, if you, uh If, for example, you have someone on your team who maybe isn't holding up his or her end of the bargain? What techniques do you use that kind of deal with that?
Probably. I like the example that you gave
head of kind of focusing on positives. I think that that's
King. I think breaking a cadence of meetings generally hopes to feedback. Like if you're one of those managers who
the only major, that team bi weekly or in some cases monthly, that I then of course, tree back, positive or negative is going to be, you know, almost exacerbate that reaction from from the person that you're you're dealing with. So I try. I just understand motivations
of my tea, you know, things creepy and bullets
to know where the individual wants to get to both in the organization, but also
more broadly, right. And then you can start to tell your feedback based on that surrounded and just say, Hey, I don't think you were doing this in a way that way. Wanted us to go down. Say, Hey, you know, we've spoken before that you want to be a C. So a chief architect of one of the key skills of that is being able to analyze the situation was staying calm under pressure.
You know, here's an example of a situation where I think,
yeah, maybe we could we could done better in that situation. I getting something that resonates them. The individual
generally no waste, but generally generally helps. Yeah, well, you know, Chris is another interesting question here for months on dry asking about,
um, in this case, a soups and non technical leader,
um, stepping into a team where there's a bunch of skilled I t specialists, um, creating a new new team. And the questions are any advice on initial steps toe building a team and creating a healthy dynamic. And I guess in this case would be a small team,
but nontechnical lead,
technical team, and any thoughts on that kind of set up it's difficult isn't exciting. It was this kind of industry view that
you know the sea so it doesn't need to be technical. So I see quite a lot about how many debate in our industry around kind of active. I'd of technical versus non technical, the way I approach and at home, he said earlier around, you know, Jenning up on python, for example, you know, almost having skin in the game of what the team to do it. Another way to look at it is,
and I wrote this something is Aziz. Recently, as yesterday is it? Technicals and mindset, right? So you could look at it, Aziz, you know, you understand intimately A s s boxes on the specifics of a particular group around with them. Right? But that's great if you do happen, Teoh, when you spend your time doing it. But
if you have a passion for technology in a first learning, then
I won't say that going in and being very imprint about You don't understand the specifics of a particular technology. But, you know, here's examples of things my parts where I picked something up very quickly
and, you know, I mean, going down, going down that route. And I think also this delineation between technical and nontechnical is something that I'm passionate behind, eradicated from our industry. Like I just think that there was
This is, you know, molding or amalgamation of both sides is so critically important in what we do it so
that, yeah, I think openness and willingness to lands quickly, important as well, and just evidence of, you know, aptitude and dedication of things important. That's wonderful advice. Well,
you know, Chris, somebody after the whole group here, um, I want to thank you for joining us and sharing a little bit of background. And the company, I hope people, uh,
we'll have some interest in obtaining will reach out. I think it's such a wonderful company. I know you're a great ambassador for the work and on behalf of the whole team at Cyber. I just want to thank everybody for participating. Um, I think we got through most of the questions here and do the best weekend to get through them. So a lot of you if
if you need anything at all, just reach out to the cyber team. I hope you'll look at the case study
and then also read the 3rd 1 which is obviously on team dynamics. I will look forward, Teoh our session next week,
which will be the fourth of our six sessions. So everybody have a very safe and healthy week, and we'll look forward to seeing you next week. Take everyone