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Why Should the Boss Listen to You?

***** Why Should the Boss Listen to You? By James E. Lukaszewski; published by Jossey-Bass; available from ASIS, item #1785, 703/519-6200 (phone), (Web); 188 pages; $25 (ASIS members), $28 (nonmembers).

Why did they bring in a consultant to tell them what I have been saying for years? What will it take to be heard by the C-suite when it comes to protecting our company? Both of these are familiar refrains among middle managers, security professionals included.

Everyone has struggled with the same vexing problem: how to be seen as a valuable asset by the leaders of your business unit or company. The solution is an elusive one, but this book will bring you closer to your goal of getting a seat at the decision-making table.

Author James E. Lukaszewski is a public relations and crisis communications expert who has been called on by many of the world’s top companies to help them handle crises and restore their reputations, and he clearly has experience handling many of the worst-case scenarios that can be faced in the corporate world today. His lessons-learned apply regardless of the reader’s professional specialty.

Lukaszewski walks the reader through a challenging, realistic self-assessment process. Among his questions: “Do you have what it takes to be a trusted strategic advisor?” This critical question helps reveal the qualities required to earn this position and what the reader must be willing to accept to fulfill this role.

Lukaszewski then provides a series of recommendations and activities to help you develop the viewpoint of a business leader as opposed to that of a functional professional, a distinction he illustrates with insightful anecdotes. He continues by listing the disciplines necessary to build the skills of a valued, trusted advisor. It is through this process, Lukaszewski argues, that you gain the creditability needed to attain that position.

The book is well organized, and Lukaszewski employs a clean writing style, making it easy to follow his logic and conclusions. Additionally, he provides an excellent guide for succinct and effective communications that should be taught in every business communications course in the country. His practical guidelines for practices like developing an arsenal of stories to support your arguments is worth a second read.

For the security professional, this book will certainly strike home. The position of trusted advisor, as the author argues, is not one everyone should seek. But for those of us in our profession striving to be in that chair, this book is a must-have additional resource.

Reviewer: Ralph “R.C.” Miles, CPP, is director of global security for a biotechnology company. He has extensive private sector security experience in operations, executive protection, and intelligence, providing protective services for employees and executives traveling to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He is a member of ASIS International.