People Under Pressure

I once worked for a high-level manager that was very successful. He had a strong performing department in a preeminent company. We all made a very good living, he led a large team that was very talented. He had played college football for a large ranked college team. So he knew something about success and winning.  Then one day something happened. Things went wrong.

All of a sudden his projections for new business failed, his management’s projections to Wall Street fell flat like a pancake. The economy was sliding into recession and technology sector our sector was hardest hit. And the slow sickening slide of the company’s stock price capriciously circling the bowl was apparent.  It was ugly. And for any of my readers who have not only heavily invested their blood sweat and tears in their company that also had an investment in stock and stock options. You know how this feels. The pressure is painful gut wrenching, and unavoidable. But in spite of this perjoration, it got worse.

What Did He Do?

Well, there is an old saying that crisis does not make leaders it reveals them. But I have found there is a corollary to that valid statement. And that is that crises also exposes the failures, the people who should not be leaders. And this individual fell into the latter group. At the time it was shocking to behold that anyone could act this way in public and still be let in the door on the following day.

His behavior was appalling at every level. There are two ways a leader goes under the pressure of a crisis some rise to the occasion and show greater success, and some fall to the level of their own inability to handle pressure. Everyone is looking to you the leader to determine what the direction will be in an event of a crisis. Someone who had planned for a potential crisis, or someone who would react calmly and effectively protecting his clients his employees and his business. What did this guy do? This manager intimidated, played favorites, berated everyone including top performers right out in the open. He panicked and made a bad situation worse.

Security Should Not Be Your Crisis Event

What does all this have to do with security? Well, there is very few events that can hit you harder and faster than a major security breach. This is a pressure that can really reveal a person. So the question is not what will you do when you get breached. It is what can you do to avoid the most certain types of security attacks and keep yourself out of the crisis situation.  Once you do that you need to have a plan for how you are going to handle any security events that actually do occur beyond your control. Do you have a plan? What policies do you have to deal with this? Do you have trusted advisors and contractors within the security industry that you can rely on in time of trouble? Or are you just going to call someone in the middle of the night who you have never met? And just hope they are right for the job? Having these things in place can make the difference of a crisis or just a manageable problem. So do you want to be revealed or exposed?

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