Lessons from a Global Transformation Initiative

Dec 16, 2020

Serendipitously, relatively soon upon joining Experian, I was selected as one of eight participants from around the globe to take part in Experian’s inaugural development programme for female technology executives within the technology organisation, Accelerating Women Leaders in Technology. Due to the programme, I was selected as an SME on global technology, cultural, and organisational transformation, to align the operation to an agile DevSecOps way of working.

Being part of this programme meant that I was able to learn on two fronts, from the global transformation initiative and from a leader in the technology industry. Having had the privilege of taking part in both, I’d like to summarise the lessons learned based on a BrightTalk presentation for the Information Systems Security Association.

Visibility and awareness

Transformation – Visibility of existing state is a critical aspect of any transformation engagement. Without an understanding and visibility of the current state and assets, the transformation journey will be opaque at best. It will certainly affect the transformation roadmap and potentially the direction of travel.

Being a leader – The great leaders I have observed all have a high level of self-awareness. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are. They leverage their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Awareness of how you can help the team will help the organisation towards its goals, the definition of a successful leader, who are enablers.

Maintain focus

Transformation – One of the most critical aspects of a transformation is a clear strategy with well-defined scope and goals, which will allow the transformation to maintain focus. The scope and goals should also be sense checked throughout the journey as more specific information becomes available.

Being a leader – As the pandemic showed, things can change suddenly and unexpectedly. A position of leadership could be a long journey with detours and re-routes. Despite this, it’s important that you maintain focus on the direction of travel. All paths lead to Rome. It could also be a lonely endeavour, making sure you acquire more skills and experiences along the way will make you a better leader.

Identify allies and mentors

Transformation – Being part of a transformation initiative, you are effectively interjecting into an environment where stakeholders are beholden to business as usual activities. Despite the pressures, some stakeholders will become gallant allies, supporting and propelling your cause.

Being a leader – Throughout my leadership journey, I got to work with and receive support from mentors and advisors. In addition to sharing insights and experience, these will be some of your biggest supporters with your best interests at heart. These are also a group of individuals whom you can obtain guidance for key decisions in your leadership journey. Treasure them.

Being patient

Transformation – One of the first pieces of advice a mentor gave me when she knew that I was about to be part of global DevSecOps transformation is being patient. Having been part of regional and global teams, she was well aware of the intricacies of each, especially within a multinational with a federated business model.

Being a leader – During an interview with a CISO a few years ago he advised that I should garner more application security experience. He explained that applications are a major vector for cyber-attacks; a better understanding of and experience in this domain will be crucial in my leadership journey.

Being humble

Transformation – Having been part of large transformation engagements previously, I understood the importance of being humble when implementing a transformation programme. An ability to listen to concerns and feedback from experts of their realm will be more powerful when used in combination.

Being a leader – As a leader in the information age, curiosity and the willingness to continue to learn will determine whether you are successful. Your demeanour will not lie, by being humble, your leaders, team and reports will be more willing to share information and expertise. After all, why should anyone waste time on someone who is not receptive?

A recording of the presentation can be found here. Grateful thanks to the Information Systems Security Association International to be part of the series.