Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Written by Rob Havelt
Have your ideas understood and approved by C-levels
Often times, disconnect happens between information security specialists and the executives. The language gets filled with acronyms and lexicons the other side doesn’t understand. Yet, there is a way to communicate and get your ideas through to your C-level if you clearly define the threats to your organization and give a solution.
Have an idea that can make an impact to your business and need a place to start? Check out these five quick tips:
1. Tell a powerful story that drives your objectives
People who can tell a clear and concise story often keep their listeners attention. When it comes to C-levels, your story also needs to compel, connect and communicate the purpose of “the why”. This makes your story more powerful. Identify your goals and objectives ahead of time and find ways to connect the dots in your story telling to get C-levels on your side and working towards the same objectives.
2. Communicate opportunities and threats
You need to paint a picture of risk management that is complete without raising alarms in terms a C-Level will understand. C-levels determine when an idea is good after solutions are conveyed that mitigate the threats. They have all heard the doomsday scenarios in their time without a believable hero to save the day. It’s important to get your ideas to stand out and establish credibility by communicating what risks are present and how you plan to help control them.
3. Provide clear parameters
First, define the risk in terms easily understood and meaningful to your C-level. For example, if you’re going to provide risk potential use frequencies like 1 out of 100 instead of percentages. Be concise, honest and blunt. Don’t exaggerate or your message becomes the risk focus and gets ignored. Second, offer a strategy. Include any required resources, costs, schedules and expected outcomes. Third, define the tactics. Provide a plan that clearly defines who will lead the team and their specific skillsets to achieve the strategy. Last, communicate often. The management team wants to know how the project is progressing. Remember, keep it short and only give information that directly affects the success or failure of the project.
4. Align your message with the business strategy
All businesses have a strategy for success, so anything that doesn’t align with that strategy is simply a nuisance and distraction. Know their strategy! Then, align your message by defining the benefits to it.
5. Sell to your c-level audience
Similar to selling a service or product, position your ideas as a value proposition. Create a value proposition that starts with the business issues and focuses on threats and opportunities in a risk context. Then, build it further to define what you want and the impact that will have. Your value proposition should leave your C-level sold on what they will get out of your ideas.
If you liked this post, view Rob Havelt’s topic more in depth with his SlideShare on Hackers are from Mars; CxOs are from Jupiter. A topic recently presented at the 2016 NolaCon Conference in New Orleans.