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Skill shots

Jan 06, 20113 mins
CSO and CISOIT LeadershipIT Skills

Two tools for expanding your knowledge and effectiveness in the new year

As usual, this year’s hyperaggressive holiday and New Year advertising started before I even managed to put down my Thanksgiving dinner fork. New cars, new clothes, new exercise fads--many sold with a variation on the slogan “A new you for the new year!”

You might be a tad cynical about the advertising, but I saw a wonk quoted somewhere as saying, “Hype isnt so bad; it’s how we give each other the courage to change.” There’s something useful about the demarcation provided by each January 1st. Its certainly as good a time for goal-setting as any.

So how are you going to change this year? How will you improve your professional skills?

Allow me to make two suggestions that I believe you’ll find useful in spite of my obvious self-interest.

First, expand your knowledge by taking advantage of our website,

We are all deluged by news and incidents, but if you carve out a little time to invest each day in broadening your perspective of security and leadership, I believe it will pay off for you and for your organization. Pick a topic adjacent to your main area of expertise and dig into our Essential Reading. If you’re a network expert, read about fraud prevention. If you’re a privacy leader, explore network security. If you’re in business continuity, learn about its connections to physical security.

Second, come to the first-day workshop at our annual CSO Perspectives conference. This will be our sixth year of running a four-hour workshop providing professional development. In that time I have heard many participants say, “It was too short,” but none, ever, say, “It was too long.” We have done tabletop simulations, mock board of directors presentations, and negotiation exercises. This year’s focus is on leadership skills. Be there and tell me afterward whether we delivered on the promise of a great, uniquely useful half-day.

The workshop will be lead by Paul Argenti, Professor of Corporate Communication at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. The “new you” for this new year can be a more effective strategic communicator. Argenti is a dynamic teacher who also presented at CSOP in 2008, and attendees keep asking us to bring him back. The topic this year will be all new, but again featuring security-specific case studies and interactive training exercises.

The conference is April 5-7 in Naples, Florida; find the agenda and details at

I told you up front that my suggestions would be self-interested, and I think I kept my word. But I am confident that these activities will also provide value to you in the coming year.