What makes Michael J. Schenck Tick?
I grew up hearing a great many philosophical one liners such as "Life is a Journey" and "Life is what happens when you are planning something else". Many of these I've digested into a stack of ideas and ideals. Some are more present like the journey bit, others are lofty and easily twisted into extremes. I love to grow in all directions - as a person, employee, employer, as the SME in cyber, and as a parent. If all I am is all that I have, then who would I be if I didn't always look for opportunities to grow? Ultimately my core values are defined in the traits I look for - and work on - the most. Openness to learn and grow, honesty and integrity, and a strong work ethic.
Adjective: Willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced.
The ability to learn and to be coached to continuously improve is critical in my opinion. In life and cyber-security, taking time to debrief yourself, and honestly celebrate successes, identify and acknowledge shortfalls, and plan your improvement is essential to effective growth. This cycle isn't just for project wraps or post-mortem after an incident. It's continuous - it could be a subtle refinement to a process, or a feature you may have not known about. To any employee that I supervise, I want them to learn and grow. If they aren't wiling to change poor habits, or refine their craft, I honestly don't want them working for me. I also demand the same of myself.
Noun: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
Openly and honestly speaking up is absolutely critical, especially in cybersecurity. It also builds trust - between yourself, you and your peers, you and any who oversee your work or actions. This is something that I've struggled with - not in being honest - but in the delivery. A common phrase that is over-rated is "Brutal Honesty". I used to embrace it myself - which was a failing. Being blunt, cold, or harsh sets people off balance and leads to anxiety and defensiveness. This imbalance and guarded stance makes it near impossible to get the desired correction or grow. Honesty and openness requires tact. Integrity to whatever ethical code and moral principals you claim, is essential to success.
Noun: The principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward
Maybe it is my mid-western, protestant upbringing. Something I truly value is a good work ethic. It is something warrants respect and reward. While doing enough to get the job done may help you pass an audit, or sufficiently minimize a shortfall, it should not be enough for you to hang your hat on. This is especially true when the extra effort is attainable, and furthers the goals for yourself and your team.
Noun: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
There's a lot that can be said about praise for hard work and always striving to be more. However, something that should not be forgotten is the Work-life balance. The risks of the constant push and refinement could easily lead to burn-out or dysfunction at home. The opposite side of the coin is the risk of becoming too complacent or even lazy at work. Find the balance that works for you so you can be the best at work as well as at home.