INFOSECURITY NEW YORK: Leadership 101 with Rudy Giuliani

The former mayor of New York shares his secrets to successful leadership in difficult times.

NEW YORK -- Being an effective leader--including an information security manager -- takes strong ideas, optimism, courage, relentless preparation, teamwork and communication, according to former New York City mayor Rudolph Guiliani.

Probably best known for his leadership during the city's recovery from the devastating terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Giuliani shared his secrets to coping effectively with disaster with a packed house yesterday at the Infosecurity New York conference.

"People follow optimism and solutions," Giuliani said. "You lead by offering the power of a solution to a perceived problem. And courage isn't the absence of fear. You can't be a hero if you don't manage or overcome your fear of failure, and then you can help your team to manage their fears and find a solution."

He points to Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Green Bay Packers as a prime example of a leader. When asked about how he felt about one of his infrequent losses, Lombardi replied, "I never lost a game, I just ran out of time."

"He had the heart and soul of a champion," said Giuliani.

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The most significant aspect for security managers, however, is relentless preparation. "Win by preparing. Anticipate what may happen so you'll be able to deal with it based on a plan or a variation.

"Emotionally and intellectually I realized [Sept. 11] was different than anything we'd ever faced before. We had plans for terrorist attacks and plane crashes," Giuliani said of New York's 25 to 30 different disaster recovery plans based on drills and exercises. "We didn't have one for airplanes being used to attack buildings, but the elements were all there.

"We can't get locked into a roadmap that a new attack will take the same path as a previous attack," Giuliani added.

For example, all the time and money put into Y2K didn't go to waste. "Every single penny spent on Y2K contributed to our preparedness for Sept. 11," he said. "Preparing for the worst things that can happen to you prepares you for all the other things that can happen."

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