Now you are ready to take a rarely done yet simple and powerful step in building the support and strengthening the relationships that your vision depends upon.
- For each of your security personnel, write a personal note letting them know that you have just informally reviewed the progress of security in the time since you took your position, and thanking them for the things they have done to contribute. It is critically important that these comments are specific and not general or vague. First, list the security strengths identified in exercise 1 to which they have contributed, and acknowledge the ways in which they have grown stronger in their own job position if that’s been the case. Next, let them know that you’ll be counting on them to help you with one or more aspects of achieving the vision, which you should specifically mention, and that you’ll discuss this more with them in the near future.
- For the senior security stakeholders and any dotted-line reports, consider their role in progress of security over the past year or two (or whatever time period you want to reference), and thank them for their support in whatever way is appropriate, specifically mentioning one or more the things that have been accomplished. Let them know about a few of the things that you want to accomplish going forward, and that you’ll welcome any feedback from them on those topics.
- For your immediate superior, consider sharing some or all of the results of the three exercises that you did, at the very least sharing the updated job description that fits the current vision. Discuss updating the HR records in this regard.
In case you have been asking or considering asking for a raise—keep that a separate subject. If you are asked about it, you can say that you are still in the midst of your thinking along this line, and of course the job description review is evidence of that.
Write a personal note to your immediate superior, or if your relationship is close enough that it’s appropriate—make notes for yourself and present the thoughts in person. The important thing is to identify the help and support that has contributed to specific improvements that you want to highlight, again being specific and not general or vague. Share your thoughts about aspects of the vision that you specifically would like support for, and identify them as topics for upcoming discussion.
The key idea here is to plant seeds for future discussions, not to engage in detailed presentations right now. After all, you have just started thinking about these topics. But initiating communication often prompts others to have thoughts of their own. If others want to discuss things in detail, it may be best to use the time to hear what their thoughts, concerns or desires are—rather than going into a detailed discussion that you are not yet prepared for. Getting feedback when it's available is critically important, and this step often prompts such feedback without having to directly ask for it.
If you have any back-off on performing these exercises, take that as an indicator that you are overdue for such high-level thinking. Make it a high priority to reserve some time slots for these exercises.
These three exercises are often best done by going over them a number of times, where you put aside your “first pass” at them, and come back in a few days to update them based upon your subsequent thinking. For sure once you get started, some new “mental wheels” will be turning! Sometimes a few stalled wheels come to life again, and you’ll have a chance to think the thoughts through completely.
Regardless of how easy or hard it may seem to get started on these exercises, consider the consequences of going forward for the next year without having sufficiently considered your position. That’s why doing them should be a high priority.