Success through influence

I was in an interesting discussion yesterday about the importance of having good skills to influence senior leaders within an organisation in order to be a successful information security leader.

It’s certainly true and I like to think I’ve got a few good tricks up my own sleeve (for example see this blog here). What the discussion highlighted was the fact that organisations are beginning to see influencing and negotiation skills as being just as, or more important, than the technical knowledge that got most of us into security as a career in the first place.

Every task or project requires some resource – time, money  and people. To get that resource assigned against the backdrop of everything else going on requires a strong case presented in a way that your non-technical and very sharp management will understand.

I suppose if all else fails, those of you with long enough memories will remember the methods employed by Violet Elizabeth Bott, little sister of William Brown in the Just William stories. Her influencing tactic was to threaten that unless she got her own way she would “scream and scream until I’m sick…”

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I don't think that soft skills should ever take the place of technical skills, especially for someone who needs to be "in the know", but they certainly do help. It isn't just security officers who can benefit, either.
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