Walk in their shoes

Leadership Moment: When adversaries pray together

It’s probably no secret to many of you that I love the game of football. The Women’s Football Alliance recently started its 2023 season, with the defending champion Boston Renegades taking on the D.C. Divas this weekend. The game got very chippy at times, with a Divas player being ejected at one point. This isn’t unusual for a game of American football. What also wasn’t unusual was the moment when a player took a crushing hit, went to the turf, and didn’t pop back up for the next play.

A sight familiar to most fans of football games came next: every player on the field took a knee and bowed their head in prayer. Players that had been verbally harassing each other in between violence-laden plays stopped, took a mental step back, and joined in prayer. It’s a common moment in sports; when Damar Hamlin nearly died on a football field last year, a prime-time audience experienced that moment all too viscerally.

Coming together isn’t exclusive to sports. In many industries, cybersecurity professionals at rival companies share intelligence to enable companies to protect their customers. There is a leadership moment in handling that transition, asking yourself in what circumstances will your “enemy” become your “ally.”

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One Minute Pro Tip: Anticipate the Argument

When you bring a project proposal (or design, or marketing content) to someone, can you predict what the first words out of their mouth will be? Maybe it’s someone in your professional services team, and you know they’ll always ask how many hours it’ll take to implement. Or it’s a lawyer, and there are certain phrases they always strike from your work. Whoever it is, they have predictable triggers they’re going to act on.

Start to anticipate those before the meeting. If possible, address them within whatever you’re bringing for review. Start to ask why that question is the first one they bring up – what are their incentives? How are they measured at their job? As you start to be able to predict their needs, and address them earlier, you will not only save time, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your business. And you’ll add an ally, to boot.




Apr 25: CISO Series Podcast: Can’t You Just Pop Out of Zeus’ Head a Fully Formed Security Professional? with David Spark and Joseph Lewis, CDC CISO.


May 7-12: Tel Aviv

May 16: panel moderator, What Security Leaders Are Doing Now to Keep Their Cloud Environments Safe, Cloud Security Live, with Justin Somaini, Unity CISO, Rich Friedberg, Live Oak Bank CISO, and Omer Singer, Snowflake Head of Cybersecurity Strategy

May 22-24: Jewish Book Council Network conference

May 31: Tufts radio

June 9: Talk, Building your leadership practice, RMISC, Denver, CO

June 14: Keynote & book signing, RVASec, Richmond, VA

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Leadership Q&A

Leader C asks: “As an experienced leader, how do you apply influence to facilitate program development within a matrix environment?”

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