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by CSO Contributor

Coming Next Month: Ram Charan on Security

Sep 12, 20072 mins
Build AutomationCSO and CISO

Ram Charan knows a bit about business credibilityafter all, BusinessWeek recently dubbed Charan the most influential consultant alive. Charan spoke with Boston Scientific CSO Lynn Mattice and CSO Senior Editor Sarah D. Scalet about the present and future role of security. Youll find the full discussion in next months issue, but heres an excerpt.

Lynn Mattice: One of the [common] failures identified in your book Execution resulted from the inability of individuals within an organization to envision where they need to go. Security departments have been trying to evolve away from the corporate cop image. What are the expectations from the executive suite on the corporate security function today?

Ram Charan: The most important part is the expectation about the reputation of the company. How does lack of security help or hurt the reputation of the company? Reputational risk is very important to companies today, so the security people, in addition to compliance, need to consider the appropriate focus on reputation. That should be a part of the annual report to the board on risk: how they are linking with the reputational risk assessment and what they are doing. Very clear, very simple, very direct. Thats the key.

Mattice: Weve seen other organizations throughout the years evolve and gain a more critical position within corporations, elevating up the levels of corporation to join the executive suite. We have seen this happen with IT, with audit, and in the old days with finance. What are your recommendations on how security leaders should change their focus to be able to move up the ranks?

Charan: Security people have to really master how the business makes money. Move the security people in their early careers across the functions, then bring them back. If you rotate them into other functions and they succeed, you make a broader person, and that person has a real opportunity to move up the ladder.

CSO: If they succeed in another function, doesnt the security department run the risk of losing those people?

Charan: Thats a good idea. Lose them. You would create better people. Its a very narrow thinking of one department losing a person. How many CFOs have become CEOs? Lets really kill that narrow thinking.