Assimilating and Accommodating

Leadership Moment: Welcome to New York

Last week, Taylor Swift’s relationship with Travis Kelce became public knowledge when she showed up in Kansas City to watch the Chiefs play. This week, the Chiefs travelled to New York to play the Jets, and Taylor Swift’s anticipated appearance at the game had the NFL community all aflutter. Swifties comprise a huge fanbase – and one that doesn’t have a tight overlap with NFL fans. How do you welcome – and hopefully capture – an entirely new group of people, walking into a community that’s already deeply engaged?

The Voice hosts recorded an intro to Sunday Night Football, explaining the dramatis personae. Football primers circulated on social media. At the same time, NFL social media was abuzz with Taylor Swift content and memes. It’s an important thing to note – making newcomers feel welcome isn’t just about indoctrinating them – it’s about adopting and including the culture they bring into yours.

One Minute Pro Tip: Track Culture Change

When you bring a new team member into an organization, unless they are a very junior hire, odds are you have some expectation of how they’re going to help change (for the better) your team’s culture, processes, or output. If you aren’t expecting that, then the pre-work for this tip is to figure out what they bring that you do plan to leverage to improve your organization.

Armed with that, set up check-ins for yourself to evaluate if that’s happening, and, if not, how you can help make that happen. Too often, new folks are either so busy adapting that they aren’t bringing change, or so heavy-handed in bringing change that they’re ineffective. Identify how you can help them thread the needle between those two extremes to bring positive change to your organization.


Recent Appearances

Sep 12: CISO Series Podcast, Is This Just Bad Or “Call The Feds” Bad?

Sep 22: HexCon 2023, Four Dimensions of Building a Security Program

Sep 28: Hub Scale

Future appearances

Oct 20: Triangle Infoseccon, Leadership Track

Oct 25: SIM Summit Boston, Cybersecurity Panel, Author’s Corner

Interested in having me speak at an upcoming event? Contact me via

Chapter (missed) Cameo: Easy Communication

I realized in writing this week’s newsletter that I’m missing a key chapter in 1% Leadership: Easy and frequent communication simulates a predictable hive mind. Or something similar to that, I’ll need to workshop it. While many chapters implicitly rely on the presence of good communication, I ought to point out an intrinsic value of communication: predictability.

Anyone who has kids – or who has been a kid themselves – has experienced the moment when a child manages to get two different answers out of two different parents … and that same dynamic often plays out in a workplace. If you have easy ways to “check your answer,” as it were, you can eliminate the confusion before it starts.

Leader Q & A

Leader D writes in, I took over a large organization just before a few years ago, and it was very flat. I had over a dozen direct reports, in various functional areas. While I managed for a while, I started recognizing early signs of burnout. I’ve since hired a few senior staff to consolidate how many people report to me. We have daily sync-ups, and we’re working to establish norms for our teams and our organizations. I worry about the balance between the time that we’re spending meeting with each other, and the time that we should be spending leading our organization. How do I know when I have the right balance?

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