Tag Archives: Management

How a leader works across teams – Battlefield Leadership series

La Fiere

At La Fiere Bridge and throughout Normandy on the day of the invasion, soldiers were separated from those that they had trained with for over two years. The leadership ranks and familiarity were lost. Most men were in the wrong place, unsure of their location, without their gear, and were forced to proceed alone. The training of regrouping and proceeding did not serve the Airborne well on that first morning of battle.

What could be described as a case study in disaster is instead one of success. These individuals proactively began to join up with other members of the Allied forces. As the groups grew from two, to four, to ten, and onward, the natural command structure came into force. The individuals became effective in their fields and began to seek out their objectives as a whole.

This was possible due to the training instilled in each other, the respect they had for service they were in, and the ingrained ‘take-the-initiative’ culture of each leader. This was certainly true for the Airborne, but also can be found with the Infantry landing on the beaches.

Business Reflections…

The success here is broken down to two main areas: respect and training. Each individual knew what was demanded of them and what was demanded of the individuals around them. There was an appreciation and respect for the chain of command and authority. This respect was carried from the training to the battle fields. Leaders demonstrated their experience and capability with the troops from the beginning up to the bitter end.

Following the military analogy in business, the battle at La Fiere Bridge conveys a need to have an organization that promotes respectable individuals based on skill and capability. Business success also requires some form of hierarchy that instills direction and command within the units. The hierarchy in some business can be quite flat but even in the flattest organization, there are those who are the ‘go-to’ employees due to experience, budget, and capability to make larger company decisions. This business structure also allows for the smallest of groups to function without the most-senior leadership, so long as there is some senior party involved.

If an organization establishes the first two baseline requirements (skill and capability), it is able to mix individuals and teams together on an as-needed basis. The caveat here is a shared awareness on the ‘command objective,’ or simply ‘the big picture.’

The potential to mix resources has proven highly effective in every branch of the military and is true in business as well. Deploying a team of pure technical individuals is a mistake, and one of only business-minded individuals is similarly at risk of failure. The benefits of diversity within an organization are innumerable. The key here is to instill a level of respect through authority, experience, and competency among diverse crowds.

Takeaways:

  1. Does your organization have a hierarchy that is based on merit?
  2. Is the culture of your business one that respects the established hierarchy?
  3. Is the command objective known?
  4. Is the capability and competency of all levels consistent to allow for the smallest teams to achieve command objectives?
  5. What is the effective size of the teams and what supports are offered to the teams?

What is Battlefield Leadership and what is this series about … 

This is the final paper in this series. As part of my pursuit to learn and grow, I sought out the excellent management training team at Battlefield Leadership. I am professionally leveraging this across multi-million dollar projects I am overseeing (currently I am the lead executive building global compliance and security programs specifically in the online services / cloud leader space). Personally I am bringing these lessons to bear within my pursuits to cross the chasm. To often I see brilliant technical individuals fail to communicate to very smart business leaders and to the common person on the street. My new book – How Not to be hacked seeks to be a first step in bringing deep information security practices beyond the technologist.

Most exciting the Battlefield group for this training placed it in Normandy France. This allowed for senior executives to be trained in a setting where serious decisions were placed by both sides, and each provided a lesson. This series represents my notes (that I could take down) and takeaways. I share to continue the conversation with those great individuals I met, and with the larger community.

Kind regards,

James

Amateurs Study Strategy; Experts Study Logistics – Battlefield Leadership series

Angoville ChurchIn the business world, the military analogy “Amateurs strategy; experts study logistics” emphasizes the importance beyond the initial success of a surge effort. Specifically, in relation to D-Day, the analogy shows the importance of establishing a port to provide fuel, reinforcements, ammunition, food, and supplies to the troops. The initial Normandy invasion of 135,000 troops required a daily landing of 15,000 tons of supplies a day and as the presence increased so did the supplies. Thus, the Allies were forced to secure a port.

The Allies chose to build two ports and bring them to the coast of Normandy. This allowed them the opportunity to establish a port at an area that was not heavily fortified (the Germans defended port locations closely). This out of the box thinking allowed the Allies to achieve the objective and support the ongoing mission on land.

Business Reflections…

The importance of innovation and ability to think beyond the traditional structures is sometimes the only pathway to success. Think about Uber, Amazon, and other disruptive methods of transacting business. Each approached the same objective (black cars, books for reading), but achieved the ‘big picture’ in a manner not conceived viable by the incumbents.

The key elements to achieve innovation from lessons at Arromanches:

  1. Focus on the objective and not the details on ‘how.’ This allows for iterations on methods while maintaining the continued support structure.
  2. Establish a team with a leader to drive the innovation. The team should be organized differently than the primary organization. This was done in Britain and allowed the the Skunkworks group to succeed. The Skunkworks failed the first time and were reorganized in a new team to finally reach success.
  3. Plan redundancy. Two Allied piers were built. One of the piers was destroyed by weather (an identified risk), but luckily there was still one standing and supported the logistics for many months.
  4. Demonstrate success capability through detailed analysis. To allay counter arguments, it is necessary to present a clear and evidence-supported case proving how the solution will be successful.

The Supply Chain

Here are a few generally obvious but necessary statements on the make-up of supply chain. The service of the business and the delivery of product depends upon the inputs. These inputs are as important as the final work product. Failure to receive any input or damage of an input will lead to failure in the market. Each input must meet the integrity, quality, and security standards of the product it seeks to become.

Suppliers need to posses integrity to ensure the inputs are not damaged, sabotaged, or fraudulent. The reliability and availability of the inputs need to be vetted with redundant providers and consideration of every part of the delivery channel is key. For instance, regarding a Cloud service provider hosting data: what are the ISPs, routers, equipment, regional laws, etc. that effect this delivery of such a service?

A business must be able to achieve entry into a market category and sustain it! It is not enough to put a toe in the water, but rather sustain the patience and capability to grow in the market. Success is achieved through building scales into the business architecture and forming teams that are innovative and strong enough to become the senior management and leads.


What is Battlefield Leadership and what is this series about … 

This is the fifth paper in this series. As part of my pursuit to learn and grow, I sought out the excellent management training team at Battlefield Leadership. I am professionally leveraging this across multi-million dollar projects I am overseeing (currently I am the lead executive building global compliance and security programs specifically in the online services / cloud leader space). Personally I am bringing these lessons to bear within my pursuits to cross the chasm. To often I see brilliant technical individuals fail to communicate to very smart business leaders and to the common person on the street. My new book – How Not to be hacked seeks to be a first step in bringing deep information security practices beyond the technologist.

Most exciting the Battlefield group for this training placed it in Normandy France. This allowed for senior executives to be trained in a setting where serious decisions were placed by both sides, and each provided a lesson. This series represents my notes (that I could take down) and takeaways. I share to continue the conversation with those great individuals I met, and with the larger community.

Kind regards,

James

 

How do you decide what is Critical vs. Important – Battlefield Leadership series

The Difference Between Critical and Important

The understanding of self and team dynamic is paramount to success in the business world. The definition of success is ‘the achievement of the general objective.’ All too often individuals, teams, and companies lose focus and become distracted during action. Knowing what is important, being able to recognize a distraction, and refocusing resources on what is most critical are the best steps to success under fire.

Hillman Battery

Even today, A walk through Hillman Battery shows the defensive position of the Germans in the immediate path of the British Infantry. The Allies’ most critical task was to liberate Caen after the invasion, but the Allied (British) unit became distracted with destroying a defensive obstacle and resulted in being stalled for an entire day. Ultimately, The Allies were forced to repel counter attacks by the Germans along their flanks which delayed liberation of Caen until July.

If you are unaware of this part of D-Day, you can check out Stephen Ambrose’s book D-Day, which provides some rich details.

Business Reflections…

In business the correlation of ‘team’ and ‘self’ is critical. Often times, important resources are lost when the team is disjointed. For example, wasting time (our most valuable resource!) can occur when you lose sight of the bigger picture. Thus, breaking down the big picture and defining what is important to you and your team allows for clear establishment and allocation of resources.

How does one avoid distractions? How can these be identified, measured, managed, and pushed off? Is the philosophy of saying ‘NO’ to everything but that which is the ultimate goal valuable? How does one position teams to understand the big picture and their critical objectives? Is the communication chain with choke points necessary, or can these be empowered within the teams?

  • Myself: The ‘big picture’ is being a parent directly and in the presence of my daughter. My secondary task is racing, training, and writing to better myself and others.
  • At Ernst & Young: Our Big Picture is realizing vision 2020, the creation of a Better Working World. My teams constantly seeking to create the best security and compliance programs based on global standards that are realized through the eyes of practitioners 
  • What are yours?

 

What is Battlefield Leadership and what is this series about … 

This is the fourth paper in this series. As part of my pursuit to learn and grow, I sought out the excellent management training team at Battlefield Leadership. I am professionally leveraging this across multi-million dollar projects I am overseeing (currently I am the lead executive building global compliance and security programs specifically in the online services / cloud leader space). Personally I am bringing these lessons to bear within my pursuits to cross the chasm. To often I see brilliant technical individuals fail to communicate to very smart business leaders and to the common person on the street. My new book – How Not to be hacked seeks to be a first step in bringing deep information security practices beyond the technologist.

Most exciting the Battlefield group for this training placed it in Normandy France. This allowed for senior executives to be trained in a setting where serious decisions were placed by both sides, and each provided a lesson. This series represents my notes (that I could take down) and takeaways. I share to continue the conversation with those great individuals I met, and with the larger community.

Kind regards,

James

A practitioner’s leadership behavior – Battlefield Leadership series: Pegasus Bridge

An interesting leadership insight found here is how Major Howard was recognized as an elite candidate and then promoted as a leader. He was promoted twice in only two months. This is especially interesting since he had a bias against him for not being part of the British Aristocracy. Throughout war time, Howard’s aggressive actions and leadership skills gained him full command of the unit (160 men).

Major Howard believed in being where the critical decisions were happening. As a leader he took the following actions:

  1. Be where the critical decisions are required.
  2. Be where the hardest tasks are happening (Major Howard lead the team for the toughest actions).
  3. Cross-training. Major Howard’s teams were trained and cross-trained on every objective and task.
  4. Rewarding “A” players. Major Howard was able to select the best of the best across the organization.
  5. Training and competitions to hone the skills of the team.
  6. Garnering his own experiences.
  7. Organizing athletic challenges. Howard required for the team to not only continue mental toughness but also physical agility.
  8. Leading by example. While Major Howard was not loved by many, he was respected by all.

Business Reflection Questions…

  • How are you building cross-functional teams?
  • How are you yourself learning skills and demonstrating ability to achieve objectives?
  • What are you accomplishing with teams?
  • How are the teams performing as a result of your leadership?
  • What marks of distinction do you and your team’s bear?
  • How are you making your team excel and treating the “A” players?

Basically… What is your competition, internally and externally, and how are you performing?


 

What is Battlefield Leadership and what is this series about … 

This is the third paper in this series. As part of my pursuit to learn and grow, I sought out the excellent management training team at Battlefield Leadership. I am professionally leveraging this across multi-million dollar projects I am overseeing (currently I am the lead executive building global compliance and security programs specifically in the online services / cloud leader space). Personally I am bringing these lessons to bear within my pursuits to cross the chasm. To often I see brilliant technical individuals fail to communicate to very smart business leaders and to the common person on the street. My new book – How Not to be hacked seeks to be a first step in bringing deep information security practices beyond the technologist.

Most exciting the Battlefield group for this training placed it in Normandy France. This allowed for senior executives to be trained in a setting where serious decisions were placed by both sides, and each provided a lesson. This series represents my notes (that I could take down) and takeaways. I share to continue the conversation with those great individuals I met, and with the larger community.

Kind regards,

James

Innovating and penetrating the market – Battlefield Leadership Series – lessons and thoughts

Longues Sur Mer

At this location on the coast of Normandy you can see the immense naval guns setup to attack oncoming ships in World War II. The Germans expended resources and relied heavily upon on these guns in their defensive strategy. Unfortunately for the Germans, the treatment of the workers and locals, the sheer lack of natural intelligence, and exposure of building such vast emplacements was their downfall.

The Allies often received intelligence on the exact positions of German construction. This was provided by those building and living in the area. Specifically, a local farmer boy who was blind and actually counted each step precisely and then supplied locations through the French resistance and Allied intelligence networks.

The result was a gap in the German defensive strategy, a waste of resources, and ultimately, a failure to defend the coast.

Business Reflections: Innovating and Penetrating the market…

  • How are you establishing a product development strategy and running your business as a whole?
  • Are there defensible attributes that you deem critical, and how can they be routed?

Practical example: In the information security and intellectual property sector, there are very real threats and running a secure business requires constant new methods of defense.  How have you reevaluated these based on the shifts internally of your business and the known threats in the market itself? How did this analysis compare to prior years, and how have the effectiveness of your defenses proven?

From a product innovation perspective – are you developing in features from the highest and lowest levels? What are the high impact:low development efforts underway, and what could be added. Product and innovation requires views on the long and short run – to often we make complexity because we are able to handle complexity, when sometimes the user really only needs something less complex.

Leadership requires action:

Simply acknowledging the risks and accepting the situation does not prevent disastrous outcomes.


 

What is Battlefield Leadership and what is this series about … 

As part of my pursuit to learn and grow, I sought out the excellent management training team at Battlefield Leadership. I am professionally leveraging this across multi-million dollar projects I am overseeing (currently I am the lead executive building global compliance and security programs specifically in the online services / cloud leader space). Personally I am bringing these lessons to bear within my pursuits to cross the chasm. To often I see brilliant technical individuals fail to communicate to very smart business leaders and to the common person on the street. My new bookHow Not to be hacked seeks to be a first step in bringing deep information security practices beyond the technologist.

Most exciting the Battlefield group for this training placed it in Normandy France. This allowed for senior executives to be trained in a setting where serious decisions were placed by both sides, and each provided a lesson. This series represents my notes (that I could take down) and takeaways. I share to continue the conversation with those great individuals I met, and with the larger community.

Kind regards,

James

 

InfoWorld Article: 7 Deadly Sins of IT Management

I was recently quoted in an article on my experience where firms and teams fell victim to venial sins, you know the classics (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride).  I found it fun to dig into my experience to categorize behaviors and thought the writer did a good job of maintaining the integrity of my comments.  Check out the article here.

Reading through the comments posted I noticed an opportunity to expand beyond the sins of management to encompass ‘other’ sins.  Of note:  Focusing on the Short term; Not properly allocating resources to efforts, and poor communication.  Perhaps our New Years resolution as security professionals should be to close the gap that exists between the customer and the underlying technology.

One point of expansion from the InfoWorld article – I mentioned an example where an update was occurring in an organization to a newer version of Oracle that would require new HW & SW to support the upgrade.  A commenter correctly highlighted that Oracle would not need anything special to run with a ‘Xeon’; however, my client was actually having to deal with a huge jump in HW that required additional power (due to the 4 cores) and such carry-on costs.  Thanks for highlighting what could be interpreted incorrectly!

Best,

James DeLuccia