Building your security A team

For a security industry leader, Tim Williams is a pretty modest guy. As the former head of ASIS International and now as global security director for the $42.5 billion construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Williams has won his share of recognition, which he doesn’t take lightly.

But Williams would much rather tell you about his team–the individuals and their accomplishments–than about himself. His speech is strikingly devoid of the first-person singular. He declines to be photographed by himself for articles about his security work, saying his team members deserve the credit.

Creating and sustaining team spirit are clearly strong suits for Williams, who joined Caterpillar in 2006 after leadership stints at Nortel, Boise Cascade and Procter & Gamble. In a home-office-centric culture that valued longevity with the business, he quickly set about assembling a team that would embody the precepts of what he calls contemporary enterprise security risk management (ESRM).

Here are the top five things he did to revitalize the team and mitigate risks across the entire enterprise:

1. Rethink everything. After taking stock for a few weeks of how the then-56-person security team operated, Williams moved swiftly to establish a global team focused on ESRM. ESRM takes a holistic view of the risks to people, networks and intellectual property. Williams felt Caterpillar had some exposure that needed to be addressed immediately. Two pressing issues: The security team had been based almost exclusively at headquarters in Peoria, Ill., and Williams felt there had been an unusual focus on physical security.

“We pushed the physical security responsibility back to property managers around central Illinois. We changed the outsourced partner and we established relationships out in the facilities with people who could manage the opportunity much more closely,” says Williams. He established regional security directors globally, covering Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and the Americas. “We were able to attract some of the best talent in the market at the time. They had the language capabilities and the cultural competency,” he says.