(What’s it like on the front line supporting the firm’s clients?  What are the challenges the firm’s experts help senior business executives, general counsel, board members and other decision-makers address?  Welcome to ACTION WEDNESDAY.  Every Wednesday, the Front Line Blog publishes a new case study.) When the Chief Security Officer of this well-known consumer products giant set out several years ago to define a security strategy roadmap to guide his program development goals, his principal concern was to get the fundamental building blocks in place. “That’s the first step, gentlemen,” he said. “Let’s get those right.”

But he also identified a sophisticated vision for his team – and the way he wanted his senior executives in regions across the world to listen and learn from the business and become true and trusted partners to their operational peers. “We won’t be able to hit this right away,” he acknowledged. “But that’s where we are going.”

Security Strategy Blueprint: An Actionable Roadmap

Hillard Heintze had already developed a highly integrated framework and methodology for building out an enterprise-level Security Strategy Blueprint for other Fortune 500 entities. The proprietary approach allowed senior leaders like this client to guide and direct the message, structure and resulting plan easily and quickly without having to invest much of their own time or tax the resources of their in-house teams and the focus on daily responsibilities. Working quickly and efficiently, Hillard Heintze captured the CSO’s high-level thoughts, key messages and direction about what his program should look like in the future. Then, leveraging the experience of its senior experts, the structure of its proprietarty methodology, and the CSO’s ongoing guidance and feedback, Hillard Heintze developed the company’s first Security Strategy Blueprint.

Transforming the Company’s Security Team into Trusted Advisers

“We’ve been executing against this strategy for over a year,” the CSO remarks. “Don’t build a plan if you’re not ready to follow it. We’ve filled the seats at the table. We’ve standardized policies and training. We’ve earned trust with our business counterparts. And we’re demonstrating clear business value every single quarter – and sometimes every day. But what I find most inspiring,” he continues, “is that my guys are now seen as real partners. We’re brought in early. We’re consulted before decisions are made. We’re trusted because we’re discrete.” That’s relationship. That’s results. And that’s transformation.

Unplugged: The Project Manager’s Perspective

“Our mission is to bring support to where it is needed most. We back-stop either short-term or chronic deficits in key program areas. And we advise – on what needs to get fixed. By whom, when and how. In this case, however, this senior leader had exceptional executive competencies. He knew where his program was headed and what he needed to get there. He had a clear vision and a strong team. He just needed a Blueprint.”

The ACTION WEDNESDAY Tool Box: Two Key Take-Aways

1.  Don’t Underestimate the Value of Strategic Planning for Security Departments: One of the highest priorities for every single Chief Security Officers is the need to communicate clearly and convincingly to the executive management team exactly how the company’s investment in security brings value to the business and helps it manage risk.  That’s almost impossible to do – and to communicate with a strategic security strategy and plan.

2.  A Security Strategy Blueprint Doesn’t Just Clarify Your Path – It Also Provides Your Team with a Clear Decision-Support Framework: Business realities change.  So does the risk environment.  So even the clearest strategy has to adapt and evolve.  One of the tremendous benefits of a short, high-level strategy blueprint is that it documents key assumptions, defines decision constraints and conveys critical ideas with high-impact graphics – all of which help the Chief Security Officer and her team evaluate the implications and impacts on the strategy and its objectives as a whole for any single change in priority, resource or initiative.