Does Mobility Depend on an Extraordinary Boss?

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Executive Corner, Mobility
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In a recent post on Inc., Geoffrey James detailed the 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses. In truth, most of the information imparted seems fairly straight forward, an extraordinary boss sees “business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield,” and extraordinary boss  believes their employees to be peers, not their children and so on. While these do hold true in the standard business sense, I couldn’t help but think how they pertain to the new medium of mobile devices and their prevalence in the workforce. This led me to the question: Do extraordinary bosses believe in mobility?

As I examined each of the 8 core beliefs I began to see a pattern emerge. The extraordinary boss believes in empowering those around them with the tools to do their jobs. This is a key facet of the march towards a mobile based workforce and a key to allowing BYOD to become the norm of any successful organization.  What is necessary, however, is for there to be an “extraordinary boss” that gets the ball rolling.

These are visionaries that see what’s coming next and understand the business value of getting in early and providing productivity tools to their employees. However, early adoption isn’t without its perils. As these companies jump into new realms they find themselves struggling with security issues as well as productivity distractions by empowering their employees with smart devices and it is up to the groups implementing the policies around BYOD to strike a delicate balance between an open system and “Big Brother.”

A great example of this can be found in Colin Neagle’s recent article for PCWorld entitled BYOD Policy Bites Vacationing CEO. It seems that the CEO of Mimecast became the victim of his own security policies while on vacation in South Africa when his 5-year-old daughter decided to try every combination possible to unlock his phone. Upon the 5th failed attempt, you guessed it, the whole phone was wiped clean, leaving him without those precious vacation pictures. Now this may seem like it was a step too far by his IT department, but you have to ask yourself, do you want to be the one that selectively wiped only partial data from a stolen phone only to find that there was a picture of your top-secret product left behind in the harmless photo section? In the case of Mimecast’s CEO, well as an “extraordinary boss” he went about praising his team in the article even though they inadvertently destroyed memories of his vacation.

Over the course of the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of groups that are just starting on the mobility journey and one of the first things I realize is that those groups that are taking the plunge have senior management directly behind them giving their full support to the initiatives. It’s with this continued support that teams can implement the delicate balance necessary to successfully implement a mobile strategy.

Let me know what you think the line should be when it comes to security and is your boss ready for mobility?


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