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Following Up On Tough News

Reflecting back on my keynote at SecTor in Toronto where I delivered some tough new to a roomful of security professionals. Here's what worked and what could've been better!

Following Up On Tough News

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Reasonably Accurate 馃馃 Transcript

Morning everybody. How you doing today? Um As you can tell from the background in yet another location this week, I am actually in Dallas Texas. Um down at the uh trend Micro North American headquarters uh for some meeting some facetime with uh the fantastic team down here after a great couple of days at the sect tour conference in Toronto, Canada.

Now yesterday on the show, we talked about delivering hard news. Um That was just before I did a keynote that was all about hard news. Um Now good news is if you ever need to know how to silence a room of 1300 people, give me a call. Um The keynote was interesting to deliver.

Um as I was delivering it, it was hard to get a read on the audience because uh there was a lot of silence. Um But I choose to think that that was because they were absorbing the message, they were listening to what I had to say, they were listening to the statistics and the data that I brought to back up that argument.

Um And I tried to keep it lighthearted uh and point out the the positives when I could. Now, after I got off stage, obviously, I was worried, giving an hour long keynote to almost pure silence is a little unnerving, but I got off stage and I got a ton of great feedback.

A ton of great questions from people. A lot of people nodding their heads saying, you know what that is, the situation that I find myself in uh from a security culture perspective that was enlightening that it's difficult. You have suggestions of how to move forward. Now. That was the one downside if I was gonna say there's any weakness in my talk and this kind of ties to the issue um from yesterday.

And for those of you that didn't see the keynote yesterday, it will be available on the sect to site um Secor dot C A slash presentations should be up there within the next week or two. So you can see for yourself. Um But the one weakness in this uh in this keynote and I said it right out of the gate was that it doesn't offer solutions.

It's not a prescriptive, it's not um preaching and saying this is what you need to do. It was highlighting the issues to give people the awareness of constraints that they weren't really um uh privy to before they just things that they assumed were written in stone and trying to highlight the reasons as to how that got to the point it was.

And um what it was doing to impact the outcomes. So lots of great conversations afterwards, some good ones, online, a lot of great ones in person in the hallway. A lot of great um discussions with other speakers at the conference as well. Um As apparently there's a lot to pull out of.

So uh pull out of that keynote. So there is one thing that ties back to yesterday's topic which was delivering hard news was you need to expect the fact that people are gonna have that logical follow up question, which is OK, what can I do about this? Um And I thought I had anticipated that enough.

That was the, the positive constructive feedback was that obviously, um I could have done a little bit more in that keynote in that talk structure and I'll update it to reflect that of walking people to the next step. So I, I would equate the analogy as, you know, I, I highlighted the walls and the ceiling and the floor of the room that people were stuck in and I showed them a door.

What people are really asking for is open that door up a little bit and let me peer out um a little more than uh just making me aware that there's a door there. So, um that was great. It was a fantastic feedback. I was really happy with how that went.

Um And it, you know, I like to learn something as well and I think I delivered some value in that keynote. But also I got value out of it understanding that when you're dealing with difficult news like that and this, it isn't just with a talk like that.

It's talking to the board. Um It's talking business team, it's dealing with application developers. It's any number of things is that you should be prepared to take that next step and that's a good thing. Um That's a really positive thing where people want um the ability uh to, you know, or they're eager to move forward, they're eager to see where things are and how to, how to get out of this trap.

Um So I think that's, that's really interesting. I think that, that, that is a key takeaway is that if you're highlighting an issue, um sometimes you have a little more success than think highlighting that issue and people want inertia, they want uh the ability to keep rolling.

So um interesting, really valuable uh lesson for me. Hopefully, I've translated that to, to you on the show. If you're gonna deliver bad news, um you know, do it constructively, do it um data driven, take the personalities out of it, have empathy um and try to be clear and consistent and stick to that um to, to the quantitative, not to qualitative, not to, to personalize things um and have the next steps ready even if you don't know what they are, have some, you know, further studies warranted here, here here.

Um Let's work together, let's collaborate, let's move forward. Um Now, in a keynote situation that was really hard internally in your own organizations, you can do that like, hey, this is a problem, business application team. Um Here's how we, there are some avenues we can look to make this better.

Let's work together on that. Um So that's my advice for you. Uh And some of my experiences from a fantastic conference, I cannot recommends enough if you're in Toronto in the fall in 2019, you absolutely should be there. Even if you're not in Toronto, make your way to Toronto to go check this out uh this conference out.

Um It's two full official days. There's normally pre day activities on the Monday as well. Jam packed full of great content, uh great people, fantastic uh conversations in the hallway, uh great social side of it to network and expand and learn from others. Um How, how do you, how did you handle that delivering bad news topic yesterday?

Um What do you think about, uh you know, my, my observations from the keynote and in general today, let me know online, hit me up at marknca um on all social networks for those of you on the vlog in the comments down below. And as always by email for our podcast listeners and everybody else.

I hope you are set up for a fantastic Thursday. Um, I will talk to you online and I'll see you on the show tomorrow.

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