Finding The Hidden InfoSec Story

Are you a Tractor, Trailer or a Wheelbarrow?

Photo Credit: superspark via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: superspark via Compfight cc

Effective Information Security Management is, to a great extent, dependent on people.  What this means in practice, is getting the right people in the right place and managing them effectively so as to keep them there.

There are many excellent and interesting models available to help us identify and manage aptitude at both individual and team levels.  Many of us will have participated in psychometric testing exercises and will be aware that we are chairs, plants or completer finishers.  We may be aware that our boss exhibits “Red Red” characteristics or has some other set of arcane attributes.  Actually, I think a number of these are very useful, having done some myself  have always learned things about myself and others.  The downside is that they generally are not always accessible – and are often expensive.

I have a very simple, if subjective, model that I use as an initial selector to match people to role.  It is easy to apply and is surprisingly effective when it comes to identifying a potential mismatch between people and roles.

In essence, there are 3 types of people: tractors, trailers and wheelbarrows:

  • Tractors – Tractors are those who are self energising and provide drive and/or direction to those around them.
  • Trailers – Trailers are people who may be highly effective but need a tractor to get or keep them moving;
  • Wheelbarrows – People who need to be carried and may be full……

I don’t see this as being a qualitative assessment (though Wheelbarrows are sometimes hard to place effectively), there is no doubt that getting the right person in the right place does make them more effective.  I also don’t see this as necessarily replacing the more complex models, but it is a pretty good, fast and cost effective first step.

My world is now so much simpler…as is the initial assessment stage of our CV selection process when recruiting(!)

……. I will now put my tin hat on and prepare for the expected storm of well deserved abuse from those steely eyed doctrinal gurus of the recruitment and HR industries!    😉


Author: Tom Fairfax

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