We need to solve the right problems to deliver value faster and connect security with the business. Sometimes that means asking other people to share what they know with you.

We often get a lot of pressure to figure out a solution before fully understanding the problem. With our understanding, we do the best we can.

Asking, “What if I’m wrong?” is a good check for clarity and consequences.

Then the approach we worked hard on meets with crickets, or worse, a total lack of action.

When this happens, a lot of leaders call me exasperated and ask, “Why don’t they get it?

Security is complex and hard to explain.

While business leaders know they need it, that doesn’t mean they understand what that means or what they need to do. Sometimes our passions burn a little bright for others, blinding them to what seems obvious to us.

In these situations, it’s natural to think they just don’t get it.

But that’s not always the case.

Our mistake is when we take their silence or lack of action as their lack of understanding.

What if they get it, and their perspective allows them to see something we don’t?

Solving the right problem to deliver value faster demands a more accurate, more complete, and more clear picture. Developing this clarity comes from gaining the insights from additional perspectives. More than clarifying the problem, we need to explore workable solutions and the potential impact on people and operations.

This is where showing our work pays off, because we can ask what they see and use what we show to explore what they know. Invite them to contribute their experience and insights to:

  1. Clarify the problem
  2. Choose the right approach
  3. Explore how to deliver value faster

It can be as easy as asking… and then listening with an open mind and closed mouth. Resist the urge to fill the silence and find comfort in the awkward, pregnant pauses. Set aside the fear of not knowing by focusing on learning what you need to deliver value.

One way to do this is to reframe the experience by thinking, “What do they know… that I don’t know… yet?”

The more comfortable you get exploring what other people know, the better the connections you build. Keep focusing on the clarity needed to dissolve resistance and fuel acceleration.

Reduce friction and get on the path to solving the right problem to deliver value faster by finding out what they know and how it helps.

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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