Former federal CIO discusses the challenges of leadership

Former federal CIO Tony Scott joined host Aileen Black on Leaders and Legends to talk about crisis leadership and how to lead during challenging times. 

Former federal CIO Tony Scott joined host Aileen Black on Leaders and Legends to talk about leadership and how to lead during challenging times. He provided insightful, sage advice for leaders with optimism for the future.

Scott is currently the  CEO of Intrusion, Inc., a Plano Texas cybersecurity firm, and CEO of the Tony Scott Group, LLC., a Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley-based consulting and venture capital firm, focused on early-stage cybersecurity and privacy technologies. 

Previously he served in the Obama administration as the federal chief information officer for the U.S. government and was appointed to that role in February 2015.  

During his tenure as federal CIO, he presided over the investigation of the data leak at the Office of Personnel Management. He called it one of the most challenging experiences of his career, but he said he learned a lot about how to lead during a crisis.

“Keeping a calm head and being very situationally aware will help you determine the important things that must get done in a crisis. With the right team, and the right approach anything can be accomplished but being prepared is key. Leaders need to prepare and have the teams practice what to do in a crisis. This will prepare them to handle what lies ahead and improve the chances of a successful outcome.”

Scott believes the key to being an effective leader is making good hires. He said finding the right combination of people and personalities will help your company reach its goals.

“Sometimes things on paper look good but don’t work out that way in the real world. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but be willing to ‘dismount a dead horse.'”

He said leadership is about “strategy, style and leading by example. A leader needs to set the right tone and then people will follow.”

Scott said his leadership style has changed over the years but there are always what he calls common threads.

“I always strive to create a collaborative work environment. The way you show up as a leader depends on the team and the circumstances but I always try to lead by example.”

Scott also had some advice for the next generation of leaders.

He says you should develop a “great sense of situational awareness. Have the sensors in place to catch things early”. 

He also stressed that it is important for those starting out in their careers to have some type of cyber security training.

Scott said “this nation needs people with experience in cyber from all fields from healthcare to transportation.”

 

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