Management Laboratory

Management Laboratory

Leadership Lab: Management Competencies

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Temet Nosce


By Stephen Northcutt
Temet Nosce Leadership Lab Temet Nosce, meaning "Know Thyself," was the sign above the door in the Oracle's kitchen in the movie The Matrix. As a popular blogger on that subject wrote:

"Life, it seems to me, is a series of choices. Constantly we have to make choices and decisions…and the quality of our lives and often the direction it takes is decided by the quality of the decisions we make. As Neo rightly guessed in the Matrix Reloaded, “ Choice. The problem is choice.”. I have been faced with choices, often life-changing ones, and had to make the decisions by myself. Most people would prefer to leave the decision in someone else’s hands or postpone it until the decision matters no more or their hands are tied and they are forced to choose one over the other."[1]

As computer security managers, we need to honestly understand our capacity for effecting change. We need management skills, security skills, and a track record of putting them to use. Our chance of effecting change in ourselves is much higher than with others, so let us each start at the beginning. So, please, stop everything; if possible, get to a quiet place. Take out your pencil, not pen, these values should change over time, and answer the questions below; be as brutally honest as you can, you are the only one seeing your answer:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10,
    • How do I rank my people management skills, knowledge and ability?
    • How do I rank my budget skills, knowledge and ability?
    • How do I rank my security technical skills, knowledge and ability?
    • How do I rank my track record of bringing what I start to close?
    • How do I rank my interpersonal skills?
In SANS Security Leadership Essentials For Managers, we will give you a jump start into learning or remembering your basic management and security skills, so now the application is up to you. Understanding the ebb and flow of money is a critical skill, and a large part of business situational awareness comes down to budget and finance. As a manager, one of your priorities is to extend your personal self awareness to the team around you. This makes alignment and team based situational awareness possible, so that all members of the team have shared expectations for performance and results, and also understand each other's roles.

The problem is choice

We can help you while you are in the course, but as soon as you leave, life will close back upon you. Whether you make the time to do the important things is up to you entirely! Many people ask me if they should sign up for the GIAC certification for this course, the GSLC. If that can help you study, then make that choice. This course has everything you need to become a more effective security manager, but the information cannot jump out of the books into your head. Choose well!

1 http://nissimnabar.blogspot.com/2006/06/tenet-nosceknow-thyself.html
2 http://www.sans.org/training/description.php?mid=62
3 http://www.giac.org/
4 http://www.giac.org/certifications/Management/gslc.php