Name: Bob Turner
Title: CISO in transition
Organisation: Former Fortinet Field CISO for Education
Bob Turner has years of experience as a higher education executive, board member, and thought leader with a focus on cybersecurity strategy and leadership, information assurance and business continuity planning, and information technology management. At Fortinet, he was the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for K–12 and higher education customers, acting as a senior level strategic business and technical advisor for the cybersecurity community and business executives. Previously, Turner served as CISO at the University of Wisconsin at Madison; as a senior manager of cybersecurity teams supporting military, energy, education, and healthcare clients; and served in the US Navy as a Radioman and later as a Communications Officer. He also holds the CISSP certification and earned BS and MS degrees in Management and Information Security.
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We’ve gone through the interviews and asked the best of the best to come back and answer 7 MORE Questions on Leadership.
I hope Bob's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. As a leader, how do you build trust with employees, customers and other stakeholders?
Be generous and genuine with your words. Every conversation, speech, or offhand comment means something to your audience. You need to lift up your employees and motivate them to achieve. Even the times when you are correcting errant behavior needs to end on a positive theme. Your customers want your honest input and assessment whether the product, proposal or observation is positive or negative. Your stakeholders need to know you are confident, again whether the situation is out of control or on track for success. In all situations, speak to encourage input from the audience.
2. What do 'VISION' and 'MISSION' mean to you? And what does it actually look like to use them in real-world business?
The vision of leaders should be clearly communicated and contain the right language. Try to be clear in what "good" looks like as if you are painting a picture of the journey and destination and activities along the way.
The mission is what your organization needs to do. Whether a short trip with minor impact or a major movement or transition, you would not start on that mission unless you knew it would lead to a valuable outcome.
Clear communication of the vision will lead to success in the mission. For example, if the organization is recovering from a cyber hack, the mission is to fully recover from that incident and implement changes that will help to make the organization more resilient in the future. The vision should add needed clarity on what the end state will be. Try to answer the question "What does (great - good enough - finished - failure) look like?"
3. How can a leader empower the people they're leading?
Communicate your vision making it clear that your team's input is essential to the final plan. Follow that with acknowledgement of their input and offer feedback that motivates continued involvement in the project or in resolving any issues. Great leaders equip their teams with the tools needed for success. They select and guide someone to lead AND they mentor their teams to become self sustaining. If necessary, the leader seeks the opportunities to stretch the team's collective abilities by walking alongside and modeling the leader behaviors of trust, communication, and recognition.
4. Who are some of the coaches or mentors in your life who have had a positive influence on your leadership? Can you please tell a meaningful story about one of them?
Early in my career one of my military leaders had been modeling positive and encouraging guidance since before I came on the scene. As the new person on the team, that leader allowed me the time to gain my footing then pulled me aside to "being me up to speed" with the mission and tasks ahead. That leader acknowledged that I may stumble at first, then encouraged me to press forward anyway. At the mid point in the mission, I was asked to provide my thoughts on the mission so far followed by a direct invitation to insert one change that was mine - with the implication that my change would be accepted.
This gave me a sense of ownership in the outcome.
I adopted this approach later in my career and now know the power in giving everyone, even the newest team member, a sense of ownership in the outcome.
5. Leadership is often more about what you DON'T do. How do you maintain focus in your role?
As a leader, it is my role to encourage others, provide the right guidance, directions, tools and resources. Then, my role is to stand back to watch the magic happen. What I don't do is hover over those doing the work and constantly ask for time wasting updates.
6. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Everyone plans differently. How do you plan for the week, month and years ahead in your role?
I take the time to interpret guidance and directions then visualize the outcome. That is the starting point for creating the plan. If I do this correctly, there will be actions needed on a weekly, monthly, and if the project lasts that long, yearly basis. The key is to have as many inputs and details surrounding those actions as necessary to understand the outcome. While an over-simplification, what I gain from planning will influence the outcome, in volume, quality and timeliness.
A frequent and helpful thought I rely on came from a business leader who encouraged me to plan the outcome so the steps to that end are clear and require less effort to plan than to accomplish.
7. What advice would you give to a young leader who is struggling to delegate effectively?
There are 168 hours in a week. You delegate to encourage, provide experiences, and gauge success. How you delegate and follow up will determine how successful you will be as a leader. And, it will determine how many of those 168 hours you get for rest, nourishment, and assessment of progress.