Scott Fitzgerald famously said: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Very true. Think about the things we are asked to grapple with today. We must be fair in our dealings with people, but at the same time be aggressive in business.
Even more extreme is in war when we are asked to destroy our enemies but at the same time be merciful, and don’t break the rules. It is a careful balance. And it is a task that is not for everyone. Many people want to just get by. They want to do their job and not have to deal with the opposing forces. But not us. We are the ones that make the decisions.
As executives, we are asked to beat the competition, get as much as we can out of our employees, and ruthlessly improve our product or service. At the other end, we are asked to play fair and don’t break the law and treat everyone with dignity and respect. In fact, it is one of the very reasons we get the big bucks and the responsibility.
We are there to make the difference and to hold it all together when all other people cannot seem to handle the pressure. That balance is sometimes hard to find. That line we need to ride up on is very blurry at times. But no matter; that is your problem to figure out. And it’s rare to find help with these questions.
Cybersecurity A Dilemma
On the cybersecurity front, it is at the extreme of these demands. Nothing can make you stand up and focus more than a major breach within your company. Figuring how to act beforehand or react as it is happening will present many difficult choices and real pressure. Should I invest in a stronger defense posture, more equipment, more engineers? Or should I put that off until next quarter or next year? Should I scrutinize my loyal supply chain partners, because their cybersecurity looks lax? Or should I just let it ride to not disturb our good relationship? The questions are numerous.
One quick answer is preparation. Confucius “a man who does not think to plan ahead will find trouble right at his door.” One of the key components is preparation so when the fateful day comes you are ready. You do not have to make all your decisions on the spot. They are in your cybersecurity plan and your cybersecurity posture. Another answer is getting the help you need. Don’t take on this monumental task without the support necessary to understand what the options are. What are you doing to implement your plan today? Who is your trusted advisor to help you with this?