Leadership Solutions

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The Roadmap for Security Leadership Success Interviews, Practice #2 - Building the Right Relationships - Internally and Externally

Kathleen "K2" Kotwica, EVP and Chief Knowledge Strategist for the Security Executive Council (SEC), interviews David Quilter, SEC Emeritus Faculty and author of From One Winning Career to the Next. The discussion delves into one of the 10 Roadmap for Success practices - the importance of building strong relationships both internal and external to the organization.

Why is this important?
Our research has shown that a critical element of success is how well security and risk management practitioners are connected to their network - both internally and externally. This assists with finding winning solutions for the obvious reason that you have more trusted resources to draw from.

Internally, this means building a network comprised of strategic stakeholders, cross-functional team members, and key people from support services.

Externally, build a network of both peers from within your industry and outside. The latter is in part for cases when you are lacking a resolution to a problem in your sector or industry - an answer may be found through examination of a similar problem in a different industry or sector that you can adapt to form your solution.

Develop relationships with the public side if you are from the private side and vice-versa. One of the most important benefits of partnership between the corporate world and the public sector is related to business continuity. A strong relationship between the groups ensures that in an emergency the corporation security team is ready to work quickly and effectively with law enforcement and public agencies to provide the best response to protect both the organization and the citizenry.

Also tap into the academic world to stay up-to-date with risk and business theories, and research. If you can - become involved. You never know something as well as you can until you need to teach it to somebody else.



Click the links below to hear Mr. Quilters response:

Q1. Tell me about internal networks and why they are important?

Q2. Do you have an example from your experience that demonstrates the value of your philosophy on networking with informal leaders?

Q3. Can you apply the same thing to external network?

Q4. Good security leaders want to stay ahead of the curve. Beyond building external and internal networks what else can help security leaders stay ahead of the curve?

Q5. Now that you have built a good and robust network, what is next?


More information on building strong relationship networks:


  • A Security Barometer asked the security community how much time they were spending on building their people networks for the benefit of security. See what your peers are spending their time on.

  • What is the Most Important Characteristic of an Outstanding CSO/CISO? Relationship building was ranked number one.

  • David Quilter's book offers excellent insight on the importance of networks and aligning with the business, From One Winning Career to the Next. (Don't be fooled by the title, the information in this book is greatly helpful for transitioning into new situations within your existing organization as well as job seekers in all sectors.)


For ten years the Security Executive Council has proven itself to be the undisputed leader in research and advisory services for security and risk management practitioners. Over the years we have had the honor of working with and for numerous successful leaders of security programs, large and small. We have analyzed many organizations that have effectively managed the changes in the industry; most of the security practitioners of these organizations are horizon leaders. We have learned a lot in the last decade and our research has identified best practices that are becoming the success markers in security leadership. You can read some results of our research in "The Roadmap for Security Leadership Success - Ten trends based on research of successful leaders"