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Be Curious, Not Judgmental!

Updated: Feb 27



Being curious refers to having a strong desire to learn, explore, and understand the world around you. It involves a natural inclination to question, investigate, and seek knowledge or information about various subjects. Curiosity drives individuals to explore new ideas, ask thought-provoking questions, and pursue a deeper understanding of the unknown.


Curiosity is a fundamental human trait that plays a significant role in intellectual growth, creativity, and problem-solving. It pushes individuals to venture beyond their comfort zones, challenge existing beliefs, and actively engage with their environment. Curious individuals often exhibit qualities such as inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, and a genuine interest in acquiring knowledge.


Being curious can lead to numerous benefits. It helps expand one's knowledge and understanding, enhances critical thinking skills, and fosters a sense of wonder and discovery. Curiosity can also spark innovation and drive scientific exploration, as well as promote personal and professional growth.



What Makes a Great Business Leader?

A great business leader is someone who possesses a unique combination of qualities and skills that set them apart from others. They have the ability to inspire and motivate their team, make sound decisions, and drive their organization toward success. Here are some characteristics that describe a great business leader:

  1. Visionary: A great business leader has a clear and compelling vision for the future. They can see opportunities where others see challenges and are able to articulate their vision in a way that inspires and engages their team.

  2. Strong Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial for a business leader. They are adept at expressing their ideas, goals, and expectations clearly and concisely. They actively listen to others, provide constructive feedback, and encourage open and transparent communication within the organization.

  3. Integrity: A great business leader operates with high ethical standards and integrity. They are honest, trustworthy, and consistent in their actions and decisions. They lead by example and instill a sense of trust and respect among their team members.

  4. Decisiveness: Successful leaders are decisive and can make tough decisions even in the face of uncertainty. They gather relevant information, analyze it carefully, and make timely decisions based on their judgment and expertise. They are not afraid to take calculated risks when necessary.

  5. Resilience: Business leaders encounter obstacles and setbacks along the way. A great leader remains resilient in the face of adversity, maintaining a positive attitude and motivating their team to overcome challenges. They learn from failures, adapt to changes, and bounce back stronger.

  6. Empathy: A great leader understands and empathizes with their team members. They value the contributions of each individual and create a supportive and inclusive work environment. They actively listen to the concerns of their employees, provide guidance and support, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

  7. Continuous Learning: Great business leaders are lifelong learners. They have a growth mindset and seek opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills. They stay updated with industry trends, seek feedback, and invest in their personal and professional development. They encourage their team members to do the same.

  8. Strategic Thinking: A great leader thinks strategically and has a long-term perspective. They analyze the market, identify opportunities, and develop strategic plans to achieve their goals. They prioritize tasks, allocate resources efficiently, and guide their organization toward sustainable growth.

  9. Team Building: A great leader knows that success is not achieved alone. They build high-performing teams by recruiting top talent, fostering collaboration, and empowering their employees. They provide mentorship and opportunities for growth, recognizing and celebrating achievements along the way.

  10. Results-oriented: Ultimately, a great business leader is focused on delivering results. They set challenging yet achievable goals, monitor progress, and hold themselves and their team accountable. They celebrate successes, learn from failures, and continuously strive for excellence.


What Happens When a CISO Mixes Curiosity with Leadership Qualities?

The most interesting Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) have a strong desire to learn, explore, and understand the world around them. This includes, but not limited to, enhancing their cybersecurity knowledge (including related fields) and building a deep understanding of their organization (including the associated industry vertical). They realize their role is a journey filled with intellectual growth, creativity, and problem-solving. They embrace critical thinking in place of overreactions and judgment. Here are some blends of curiosity and leadership skills.

  1. Visionary: A great CISO has a clear and compelling cyber resilience vision for the future of their organization. They can see opportunities to alter budget and other finite resources to best protect their organization, and they are able to deal with challenges as they arise. They are able to articulate their vision in a way that inspires and engages their team and their bosses.

    1. Their vision is built upon a deep understanding of the organization and how cyber incidents could potentially harm their organization.

    2. They understand that cybersecurity is a necessary, yet manageable, cost to the organization and must be balanced with the overarching objectives of the organization.

    3. Their ability to alter budget and other finite resources comes from questioning and investigating, which sparks innovation and new ways to solve the cyber risk problem.

    4. They deal with challenges by embracing discomfort and uncertainty, while also being open-minded and scientific.

  2. Strong Communication Skills: A great CISO is an effective communicator. They are adept at expressing their cyber resilience ideas, goals, and expectations clearly and concisely. They actively listen to their team and their bosses, provide sound guidance, and encourage open and transparent communication.

    1. They communicate effectively because they are confident, not arrogant.

    2. Their confidence comes from their knowledge of cybersecurity and their organization.

    3. They understand their limitations, which allows them to listen in an effort to seek knowledge, challenge existing believes, and actively engage with their teams.

    4. They are genuinely interested in acquiring knowledge from everyone around them.

  3. Integrity: A great CISO operates with high ethical standards and integrity. They are honest, trustworthy, and consistent in their actions and decisions. They lead by example and instill a sense of trust and respect among their team members and bosses.

    1. Their goal is not about individual professional growth by falsifying results or other forms of data.

    2. Instead, they realize their job is to reveal the good, bad, and ugly in an effort to make informed cyber risk decisions.

    3. They see the negative as an opportunity to ask thought-provoking questions and explore new ideas.

    4. They communicate with transparency to ensure alignment and seek guidance from their teams and their bosses.

  4. Decisiveness: Successful CISOs are decisive and can make tough decisions even in the face of uncertainty. They gather relevant information, analyze it carefully, and make timely decisions based on their knowledge. They are not afraid to take calculated risks when necessary.

    1. They understand that cyber risk management comes with uncertainty, and that uncertainty must be embraced by constantly learning and asking questions.

    2. They are able to make tough decisions by combing industry, organization, and cybersecurity knowledge.

    3. They actively engage with their teams, peers, and bosses to gather information and develop a deeper understanding of the problem.

    4. They realize that every decision could be flawed and that each flaw represents an opportunity to make a new set of decisions.

  5. Resilience: CISOs will encounter obstacles and setbacks along the way. A great CISO remains resilient in the face of adversity, maintaining a positive attitude, and motivating their team to overcome challenges. They learn from failures, adapt to changes, and bounce back stronger.

    1. They use each obstacle and setback as a moment to reflect, investigate, and seek new knowledge.

    2. They understand their resilience is transformative and part of the organization's cyber resilience.

    3. They maintain a positive attitude by understanding that no one is perfect or has all the answers.

    4. Though, they learn and adapt by being open-minded, by asking new thought-provoking questions, and by engaging the people around them.

  6. Empathy: A great CISO understands and empathizes with their team members. They value the contributions of each individual and create a supportive and inclusive work environment. They actively listen to the concerns of their employees and bosses, provide guidance and support where necessary, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

    1. They understand the value of collaboration.

    2. They view their team with wonder and discovery knowing some of the best ideas will come from their team and not from their own brain.

    3. They are genuinely interested in their team's, bosses', and peer's opinion.

    4. They use their knowledge and insight to provide guidance and support where and when necessary.

  7. Continuous Learning: Great CISOs are lifelong learners. They have a growth mindset and seek opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills. They stay updated with industry trends, seek feedback, and invest in their personal and professional development. They encourage their team members to do the same.

    1. They have a strong desire to learn, explore, and understand cybersecurity and their organization.

    2. They ask questions, investigate, challenge confidential wisdom, and seek knowledge related to cybersecurity and other related disciplines, such as economics and law.

    3. They use statistical data, industry trends, and feedback loops to challenge their bias and expand their understanding of cyber risk and their organization.

    4. They know that a strong and intelligent team makes them stronger and more intelligent.

  8. Strategic Thinking: A great CISO thinks strategically and has a long-term perspective. They analyze the market, identify opportunities, and develop strategic cyber resilience plans to achieve their goals. They prioritize tasks, allocate resources efficiently, and guide their organization toward sustainable growth.

    1. They understand that maturity scores and other traditional cybersecurity metrics are informative and contribute to their strategy.

    2. However, they also understand that those metrics are only one piece of the puzzle and needs to be combined with deeper analysis and aligned with over-arching organization goals.

    3. They know that critical thinking and scientific exploration will spark innovation and identify opportunities for cyber risk improvement.

    4. They use their position to help, not hinder, their organization toward sustainable growth by realizing cybersecurity is a cost that should not steal from organization innovation and advancement.

  9. Team Building: A great CISO knows that success is not achieved alone. They build high-performing teams by recruiting top talent, fostering collaboration, and empowering their employees. They provide mentorship and opportunities for growth, recognizing and celebrating achievements along the way.

    1. They believe and value their team by valuing their team's opinion.

    2. By understanding the breadth and complexity of cybersecurity, they seek a diverse set of team members across numerous backgrounds (such as computer science, economics, mathematics, law, engineering, and other critical thinking fields.)

    3. They use collaboration as a way to foster new ideas and communicate more effectively.

    4. They are willing to mentor their team and promote their team in place of taking credit for their team.

  10. Results-oriented: Ultimately, a great CISO is focused on delivering results. They set challenging yet achievable goals, monitor progress, and hold themselves and their team accountable. They celebrate successes, learn from failures, and continuously strive for excellence.

    1. They view cybersecurity, and the associated economics, as a scientific exploration that is constantly changing.

    2. They set goals based on what matters to the organization, which is further fueled by asking lots of questions, investigating, and exploring new ideas.

    3. They understand they are part of the organization's sustainable growth, and they use trends to modify goals and alter their overall cyber resilience strategy.

    4. They celebrate all wins to encourage greater collaboration and organization growth.



In Summary

Being curious means having a natural inclination to explore, question, and learn, which can lead to personal development, intellectual growth, and a deeper understanding of the world.

A great business leader combines leadership qualities with experience, industry knowledge, and a passion.

The most interesting Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) combine curiosity with leadership qualities to inspire, guide, and drive their organization to new heights of cyber resiliency.



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