Thursday, November 15, 2012

3 Pronged Plan of Attack FSOs Should Consider

One thing I remember from my many years in the Army is that you can’t force motivation. Sure, I’ve done my share of pushups and flutter kicks ordered up by a drill sergeant who thought I needed to some incentive, but I didn’t do them out of my own initiative. It just made him feel better.

The point is most of what it takes to contribute to and become a sought after member of an enterprise team comes down to a professional’s motivation and initiative. In past articles I’ve addressed some important tasks FSOs should undertake to add enterprise value; all tied leader effort and initiative.

The FSO has marching orders to develop and implement security programs to protect classified information.  But, how effective is security policy if it is written by security and posted only in the security office?

Unless security requirements are incorporated into overarching policy and adopted by all business units (HR, safety, security, business development, operations, contracts and program management department policies), they won’t be very useful. Tying policy into each business unit allows them to own the requirements. Policy is better enforced published globally, but initiated locally.

Here are three plans of attack FSOs should consider to win a seat at the enterprise’s decision table: understand enterprise elements, align professional priorities with the company mission statement, delegate responsibilities and co-opt others.

1.      Understand Enterprise Elements
Everyone has a job to do and all tasks should be performed with company success in mind. Imagine a large company with HR, safety, security, business development, operations, contracts and program management departments. Though each department operates autonomously, all must function with the enterprise in mind. Each department has policies, but those policies should be in line with overarching enterprise policy.

     Learn what other parts of the enterprise do and how they do it

This is important as you can better align your goals with the company purpose. Seek to understand how each business unit operates to better prepare for your requirements. Form working groups, have meetings, solve problems, join committees, engage in lean six sigma activities.

     Identify items, events, and issues that security can help with
Look at upcoming contracts, business development goals, program requirements and then implement NISPOM guidelines. This is forward thinking and will position an FSO as the “go to” person. What other opportunities do FSO’s have? Think beyond NISPOM and apply protection skills to reduce probability of theft, protect personal identifiable information and intellectual property.

2.    Align Professional Priorities With The Company Mission Statement
Defense contractors provide products and want to make a profit in return. However the difference is the amount of resources they can afford to spend on protection. FSOs can answer the tough questions: How can security help reduce expenses while effectively protecting classified information? What is an acceptable balance?

     Policies should align with enterprise and compliment other elements’ roles

     The easier to implement – the better

3.    Delegate Responsibilities and Co-opt Others.

The appointed FSO who also serves as a senior officer should consider delegating the administrative duties to someone more available. FSO doesn’t necessarily mean doing it all yourself. Consider delegating administrative functions while maintaining authority for major decisions. For example, other employees can make JPAS input, conduct NISPOM training, and maintain classified documents. The FSO is designated to approve  and implement policy that supports administrative requirements.

     The best security measure is an educated and engaged work force. Training cleared employees to take on security tasks will significantly reduce FSO workload. It also co-opts the entire organization to own and exercise requirements.

     Form working groups to address and resolve problems and security issues. The FSO isn’t the only cleared employee and resolution may reside with the cleared employees who actually perform on classified contracts. With employee input comes employee endorsement and ownership; instant implementation.                                          

FSOs and security professionals should not be identifying problems, creating solutions, and providing security policy in a vacuum. To become a sought after member of an enterprise team, the FSO should be thinking “teamwork” which requires a high level of motivation and initiative. Use the three recommendations to create the right atmosphere and gain a seat at the decision table.

Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing Red Bike Publishing . Jeff is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. He also owns Red bike Publishing. Published books include: "Get Rich in a Niche-Insider's Guide to Self Publishing in a Specialized Industry" and "Commitment-A Novel". Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook", "ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual", and NISPOM/FSO Training" See Red Bike Publishing for print copies of: Army Leadership, The Ranger Handbook, The Army Physical Readiness Manual, Drill and Ceremonies, The ITAR,and The NISPOM

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