Having been in this industry for over 34 years, I have been involved with and known many security directors. Some very well – some just in passing, but I have always found that it takes very little time to categorize them. For me, there are three categories: Great, Good and the Others. Noticeably – the others category has been dwindling since 9/11.

The Others

If one reflects, it is easy to recognize what I call the others. Their main concern is to get through each day unscathed by office politics, making the least waves and ensuring that they survive in their position until retirement. In this category, any negative occurrence is someone else’s fault; naturally, while personal credit is always taken for positive results, earned or not.

Prior to today’s security professional moving up to the C suite, this group was very rarely judged and it was easy to blend in to the anonymous corporate environment. Fortunately, like the dinosaur, this group is very close to being extinct and has very little possibility of surviving in this day and age.

The Goods and the Greats

I’m very pleased to say that most security directors today fall into the good or great category. They are smart, competent, immersed in the well being of the corporation, and take great pride in the work they do. They are not nine-to-fivers, and they always seem to go the extra mile, and ooze competency. They are likable, work at being up-to-date on new products, and can hold their own in the C suite with their peers. So, that being said, what separates the good from the great? What makes a great security director?

Take a moment to think about the security directors that you know. I’ll bet that you can easily make that distinction. Run several names through your mind; focus on their differences, then decide which would you categorize as good versus great. It’s easy, isn’t it?

Great security directors stand out! They are leaders! They are innovators! They are at the front of the pack. Great security directors are the ones who other security directors call for guidance. They are the go-to guys for answers to tough questions. And, for some unexplainable reason, they always seem to have the right answer. They start their day earlier than most, participate in industry forums and are constantly searching for innovation and new products. They live their jobs!

As a systems integrator, I can tell you that great security directors are challenging and exciting to work with, always push us to the limit and force us to be the best that we can be. Our reward for stepping up to the plate and working hard is more business. When a great security director recommends a systems integrator, it usually means more business.

Great security directors are not common, but that’s why they stand out. I urge every reader to take the time to work at being great. It’s good for our industry, it’s good for you and it’s great for America.

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