Performance metrics are “critically important” to business leaders, says Greg Niehaus, Professor of Finance and Insurance for the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina. “In my view it’s very important for business functions to have metrics that tie back to the objectives of the organization – that measure the impact on value and value creation.” If a function fails to develop and effectively communicate performance metrics, says Niehaus, “their contributions to the organization will likely be not appreciated, which, in down times, could lead to cutting of responsibilities or jobs and hurting the value of the organization.”
For CNA, profitable growth – domestically and internationally – is among its winning strategies. This, combined with a more mobile workforce, has generated new opportunities and involvement from the global commercial insurer’s security team. Among the bigger challenges for Chief Security Officer Bill Phillips is supporting expansion initiatives while maintaining a global, yet lean organization.
Many large organizations are beginning to add the position of chief security officer (CSO) to the C-suite. This is great news as it highlights the benefits and importance of a well-designed security unit as a business function. However, some recent trends suggest that some organizations still may misunderstand the impact and role of security.
Last month we talked about the knowledge transfer gap that exists in the security profession. We posited that the best of the best of security practitioners don’t have the time to teach their successors how to become future-oriented, business-aligned organizational influencers, and that the business-focused training programs available for security professionals do a great job of talking business, but they fail to marry business processes with the job of risk mitigation.
Each year, Security magazine honors top security executives who positively affect the security industry, their organization, their colleagues and their peers. They change the security landscape for the better. They are nominated by their colleagues and associates, and they are chosen based upon their leadership qualities and the overall positive impact that their security projects, programs or departments have on their shareholders, organizations, colleagues and the general public.
Adding business value. Getting a seat at the table. Running security like a business. Aligning security with the organization. These are the contents of the Holy Grail of security leadership. Everybody talks about them. Everybody wants them. But most security leaders view them as the stuff of legend – great for motivation, but unattainable in reality.
How do you measure leadership success? Certainly, you can look down the chain and see whether your function and your team are accomplishing their objectives. You can usually tell if your staff is motivated and if they’re eager to follow you. But strong leadership isn’t just about how you relate to the people below you on the reporting ladder. It’s also about how you relate to those above.