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Getting stuff done, your style

Nov 18, 20112 mins
CSO and CISOIT JobsIT Leadership

Sometimes a simple question is the way to keep the ball rolling

I was scheduled to moderate an onstage panel with, among others, Jason Clark, the newly minted (at the time) Websense CSO.

Clark had already spent several years as CISO at Emerson, a multibillion-dollar manufacturing company, and was strikingly young to have already advanced so far in his career. (Just like you and me, right?)


Before the event, we had a preparatory conference call with all panelists, and at the conclusion I said I would send out notes from the conversation to let everyone know the types of questions we’d be covering. And before we all hung up, Clark asked: “When did you say we should expect those notes?”

That question stuck in my mind, because it was clearly a technique Clark uses (consciously or not) to help make sure expectations are clear and promises delivered on. This was one of a few small incidents that led to this month’s cover story, 9 secrets of getting stuff done in a big company.

Because it isn’t easy to get stuff done.

It’s clear what needs to be done—I mean, it’s crystal clear to me, as it probably is to you in your context. And it’s equally clear to others in my company, but their obvious solutions and my obvious solutions aren’t always the same. Weird! So there are meetings, and emails, and phone calls, and follow-up emails after the meetings and phone calls, and so on. Proposals are made, rephrased, reworked, scrapped, revived, reprioritized.

Sound familiar? And my business unit isn’t even outrageously big! I marvel at those who run security in truly gigantic organizations. And sometimes I ask them the simple question: How do you get stuff done?

Contributing writer Mary Brandel spoke with outstanding security leaders at a variety of companies and gathered their advice on getting stuff done. Interestingly, Brandel was my boss many years ago, when I was just a rather clueless pup. I thought she was a very effective leader, with a very positive style. And personal style plays into getting stuff done.

Take the tips she’s collected and modify them to work with your own approach. I’m sure you’ll find the article helpful in your quest to get stuff done.