Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Art of the War - Sun Tzu - Business Strategy

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician. The text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly known to be the definitive work on military strategy and tactics of its time. It has had an influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.

It is in my opinion a book that every Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or manager of any company should know about in order to help and take business strategic decisions.
After all this time, the ’Sun Tsu’ principles are still applicable for business with some interpretation.
Definitely, also an excellent useful tool in the toolbox for leaders to manage people and processes.

An example from the 'Art of the War':

"When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength."

Interpretation to the business:
This is a concept that is repeated several times. When a project or initiative takes too long, people get tired or bored, the competition knows too much about it, it gets outdated, and other companies or people take advantage.

About the picture: The beginning of The Art of War in a classical bamboo book from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (source wikipedia)

Read more about other principles here (BusinessInsider).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear

Kali Linux is a Debian-derived Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing. It is maintained and funded by Offensive Security Ltd. It was developed by Mati Aharoni and Devon Kearns of Offensive Security through the rewriting BackTrack, their previous forensics Linux distribution.
Kali Linux is preinstalled with numerous penetration-testing programs, including nmap (a port scanner), Wireshark (a packet analyzer), John the Ripper (a password cracker), and Aircrack-ng (a software suite for penetration-testing wireless LANs). Users may run Kali Linux from a hard disk, live CD, or live USB. It is a supported platform of the Metasploit Project's Metasploit Framework, a tool for developing and executing security exploits.
Kali Linux is distributed in 32- and 64-bit images for use on hosts based on the x86 instruction set, as well as an image for the ARM architecture for use on the Raspberry Pi computer and on Samsung's ARM Chromebook.

After all this nice reading today, I just prepared a Kali Linux machine by using Virtual Box. It works like a charm!

Kali Linux (Wikipedia)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

IT Management Models

This is a collection conveying 26 different IT governance, management and delivery excellence models.

Models/frameworks include the following:
1. IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Model
2. ISO/IEC 20000 IT Service Management Model
3. ISO/IEC 27000 Information Security Management Systems Model
4. COBIT 5 Model
5. Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
6. People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM)
7. ISO/IEC 15504 (SPICE)
8. Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3)
9. Portfolio, Programme, Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3)
10. Portfolio, Programme, Project Office Model (P3O)
11. PRINCE2 Project Management Model
12. IDEAL Model
13. Waterfall Model
14. Agile Model
15. Scrum Model
16. COPC-2000 Model
17. Lean Levers for IT Outsourcing
18. Cause & Effect Diagram
19. DMAIC Process Improvement Model (Six Sigma)
20. ISO 9001 Quality Management Model
21. Baldrige Performance Excellence Model
22. EFQM Business Excellence Model
23. Balanced Scorecard
24. Benchmarking Model
25. SERVQUAL Model
26. Change Management Model 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Challenges needing emotional intelligence (EQ)

Only the most emotionally intelligent leaders can manage the many challenges in business today.
Restructuring organizations and reducing staff to make them more productive means that there is a strong need to identify,
retain and motivate truly exceptional employees who can work effectively in teams.
EQ enhances teamwork.

Rapid technological and business changes require people to be able and willing to accept and implement change.
EQ enhances flexibility.

Globalization creates political and cultural challenges for leaders and employees.
EQ enhances problem solving!

In the mid-1990's Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and author did a lot of influential and pioneering work on EQ. Goleman believes that outstanding leadership requires a combination of self-mastery and social intelligence, which have two competency areas: perception and skills.

Leaders with high emotional intelligence can enhance the motivation and optimism in a workplace. It is also important because often because how often results are obtained can be as important as the results themselves.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shared and unwritten culture rules in Organizations

Charles Handy analyzed the shared and unwritten rules of workspace behavior in his book "Understanding organizations". He identified four main groups of behaviors or types of culture.

Handy used analogies to illustrate the main features of each culture. You may already have a good idea of the culture of your organization. The images below will provide you more information about the types of culture they depict.


A spider's web depicts power cultures. These organizations are usually controlled
by one main character. Such cultures are common in family-run business and small entrepreneurial companies.


A net illustrates the linkages between individuals that are typical of task cultures.
Task cultures tend to be responsive and flexible. They are often advertising agencies, high-tech companies
and other research-based organisation.


A Greek temple represents role cultures. These gain their strength from the various functions, rules, roles and procedures in an organisation. Large organisations tend to have this type of culture.


The individual is of paramount importance in person cultures, the organisation is secondary.
The legal and medical professions are good examples of this type of culture.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

(ISC)² Security Congress 2013 in Chicago

The (ISC)2 Security Congress 2013 (30 September 2013) in Chicago focused on the challenges facing information security practitioners – but what are they and what are the solutions?

Lessons to be learned
  • It is important for the business to understand the nature of the threat against the business and the impact of a breach on production, finances, intellectual property and reputation;
  • Organisations need to be able to continually monitor their networks and have the ability to detect and mitigate intrusions as quickly as possible;
  • Security policies and procedures need to be updated regularly and enforced to help information security keep pace with the constantly evolving threat landscape;
  • Malware is increasingly customised and targeted. This means organisations need to be prepared for unknown attacks. But that does not mean all other attacks go away. Basic IT security remains vital;
  • Human beings are often the weakest link. Consequently, an extremely high proportion of attacks involve a social engineering element. Security awareness training is therefore indispensable;
  • Attackers may be using customised attacks, but operating methods typically remain the same. Though intelligence sharing, businesses can continually update their defence strategies.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What makes a good manager?

Being a manager of people is a somewhat unnatural act and many managers fail to deliver,
says Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at London Business School.
He tells Della Bradshaw that good management is about giving power away, not micromanagement.

See the video here (Financial Times Website).