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The Successful Security Leader: Strategies for Success

The Successful Security Leader: Strategies for Success by Harold Grimsley, CPP. CreateSpace;; 108 pages; $17.96; also available as an e-book.

Harold Grimsley, CPP, has written a short but highly effective narrative of his experiences rising through the ranks of the security profession to become director of security for three major corporations. He shares his experiences and insight while providing strategies for moving from one position to another.

The author introduces the book with a frank look at what he describes as one of the most difficult staffing decisions of his career—changing from a proprietary to contract guard force. He uses that experience to frame a treatise on achieving success in the industry. The strategies he presents are simple but straightforward and derive from his own experiences.

From his first precept, that success depends on the individual, he provides examples of tried and proven approaches. His maxim— that personal success is directly connected to organizational success—is critical to understanding the strategies detailed in subsequent chapters.

The author’s passion about leadership comes across throughout the book. His experiences in making the security function more relevant to a corporation’s success by proactively working to achieve the organization’s goals forms the basis for his strategies. He defines being truly successful as being someone the organization relies on to solve any problem, not just security problems. He firmly believes that while security should have a voice in the boardroom, the security leader does not need to report directly to the CEO. Grimsley suggests that it is more important to be supported by the senior members of the organization, who in turn have that direct contact with the organization’s leadership. He notes that no person achieves success alone, but everyone must work with and through others to get results.

The author’s advice on respecting senior leadership, building key relationships, making good decisions, and changing one’s vocabulary completes his counsel. I found his strategy of learning from other’s mistakes to be particularly poignant and applicable not only to work situations but to life in general.

Take a couple of hours to read this book. It is well worth the effort and will help bring into focus the importance of day-to-day security functions and assess whether you are on your way to being a successful security leader.

Reviewer: David O. Best, CPP, ISP (Industrial Security Professional), CBM (Certified Business Manager), is a senior program analyst with the Information Security Oversight Office in Washington, D.C. He is a member of ASIS.