On the Same Page

Leadership Moment: Basic Memories

On September 11, 2001, Danny Lewin was murdered. On the eleventh anniversary of his death, I remembered how a critical moment of delegation led to my buy-in and belief. Two years ago, I recalled a complicated legacy of a catchphrase used with different context. This year, I’m reminded of how Danny taught all new engineering staff how Akamai’s technology worked.

Within your first month of employment – in the boom days of 1998 to 2000, at least – you’d attend a multi-day technical onboarding session. Danny, the CTO of the company, always taught the first session: the basics and fundamentals of how this system worked. His passion was intense, his knowledge deep, and he made himself approachable and available. As a side effect of Danny doing that basic tutorial, everyone of that generation used the same language – Danny’s language – to describe our technology, which reduced the drift that often rises as people reinterpret what they’ve been taught to teach it to someone new.

Subscribe now

One Minute Pro Tip: Plan the Tweet

Whenever you’re communicating an idea, there’s a temptation to invest into deeply covering the complex nuances of the concept, and sketching out a complex story to make sure you don’t leave anything out. Your listener, on the other hand, is trying to wrestle with your point: what do you want them to take away? This mismatch, as you aim for completeness and they aim for simplicity, can lead to a communications failure, as they take away a lesson different than the one you intended.

Tweets were originally 140 characters, and that’s a perfect length for a summary. When you’re communicating an idea, see if you can summarize the takeaway in the length of a tweet, and make sure to say that summary at some point. If you have supporting takeaways you’d like, do the same. In email messages, these can be your “TLDR” or “BLUF” (Too Long, Didn’t Read or Bottom Line Up Front), placed as an early summary. You need to invest in being on the same page as your audience, or else you won’t be.


Future appearances

Sep 20: SANS CISO Roundtable

Sep 20-22: HexCon 2023, Four Dimensions of Building a Security Program

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 speakers@duha.co.

Chapter Cameo: Navigation

Navigating the path forward drives engagement. That’s the TLDR for Chapter 23 of 1% Leadership, and while that can be a complex idea to implement fully, it’s worth noting that the first step in navigation is in putting everyone on the same map. If you think you’re hiking, and your partner has planned to kayak, then you’ve a serious miscommunication to fix before you can ever start to discuss how you’ll navigate.

Leadership Answer: A United Front

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the first game of the New England Patriots’ 2023 season (which, unfortunately, they lost). Along they way, there were conversations and events which showcased some amazing leadership.

Read more