• Michael Sipe

A Cyber Hero for the CEO

"Which firm do we choose and do it quickly before we get hacked and lose our business?"

This recent Wall Street Journal article on the ransomware cyber attack against Colonial pipeline naturally highlights the need for businesses to be more adept at and invest even more in cybersecurity.

We know there are plenty of practical, talented, and industry-tailored cyber service providers out there. We also know that one cyber company's solutions don't always solve our unique business model. There isn't a one-size-fits-all - a company with a Linux-run distribution system shouldn't have a cloud computing cyber protection specialist provide their cyber solution.

So, what happens when we not only find a cyber company that looks like a good fit but there is more than one reputable vendor to choose from? And we have much pressure to make a choice quickly! As a strategy consultant, I know several firms to choose from and could make a valid recommendation.

But, when the stakes are high, what's the best solution for a business owner or CEO?

Enter something I call holistic choice.

With a holistic mindset, one uses three attributes of perception – analytic thought, emotional awareness, and intuition.

Analytically, we assess and evaluate all components of a provider's service logically and make the most rational choice of the selection considering all merits and shortcomings of the potential providers.

Emotionally, we become aware of what's driving us to make a choice internally. For example, we could have a fear so intense about our company's survivability that if we don't act quickly, our customer base will lose trust quickly and bye-bye profits. Become aware of the "why" we feel compelled or restricted internally, and quite often, that emotion we are feeling will become evident. Is the sentiment unfounded based on irrational fear, or could it be empathy about our situation that gives us pause to be rational about solutions?

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we carry a sixth sense characterized as gut-instinct or even more esoteric, an outside impulse that doesn't originate within our brain. It's referred to as intuition, and the way each person uses and listens is unique. But we've all picked up on something subtle before, maybe body language, an inner knowing, or an instant resonance with an innovative idea - and quite often, it's highly accurate.

So do oneself a favor when making a tough decision, combine the analytic, emotional, and intuitive intelligence one possesses for a more fully informed choice. The process outlined for the cyber scenario here helps select the more appropriate cyber company we need for the job. The holistic decision mindset process will set leaders miles ahead of this problem and many other challenging problems so dependent on their leadership. They will, in time, become their own hero.

For more info on upskilling to a holistic mindset and developing intuition, please visit

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