The massive changes that globalization has brought to all areas of life, has also created great concerns for both personnel safety and protection of investments located in critical areas around the world.
Security has taken the forefront in international, governmental and corporate strategies. A significant lack of sufficiently secure and safe conditions prevents and even jeopardizes economic developments and even sports events demand thorough security planning and risk mitigation initiatives. Countries, companies and organizations worldwide are currently re-establishing themselves in order to fill the void in the security field.
Being a high-powered executive may not be financially risky, but it’s certainly dangerous. Or at least, that’s a reasonable conclusion based on the millions some companies spend protecting their top brass. Typically a top executive will contract with a company to provide guards at their home, both for screening visitors at a gatehouse and stationed around the perimeter of their property, to mitigate potential risks. The perceived risks increase when C-level executives travel internationally for business or leisure especially to high-crime countries.
In the world of Executive Protection, we all know that you have to be able to fly out the door on very little notice. If you are not properly prepared prior to going on a task you are leaving yourself wide open to fail. Nobody wants to hire somebody who doesn’t know what they are doing or who is not confident in their own ability.
a. Gather intelligence: Stay up to date on trends from terrorist and criminal organizations within your area of operations, also knowing that holidays have an impact in your area and how that impacts your day-to-day activities. It doesn’t look good when your client is pressed on time and you did not know that it was an important holiday and streets are shut down or traffic is jammed. Study the area you will be going to, and keep up to date on current affairs for that area, such as local politics, crime reports and even sporting events. Make sure you look at the history of threats and their standard operating procedures within your area of interest. There will be many sources to help you study up on the current operating environment. One of the best is talking to other security companies working in the country. See if you can exchange after action reports, intelligence from company sources and any videos or pictures taken on runs. Local military or police might share information with you also, such as tactics & techniques used in the most recent incidents that are not available to the general public. NGOs operating in the region usually have very good local intelligence since they operate directly with the locals they are providing support for.
b. Research & advance work: As security professionals we do advance work, plot escape routes for when the situation suddenly decomposes and take most definite proactive approach to safety and crime. If an incident of significant magnitude occurs, we have our escape planned and we quickly and discreetly escort our client to safety. You must have the ability to do hasty advances, threat/risk assessments and be willing to spend time doing research into who your clients are and why they need your services.
c. Set the right tone with the client: Starting out on any new task for the first time can be extremely exciting; what you must ensure once setting out on any job is to set the right tone with the client. Be professional, use your communication skills to get a positive feedback and do not forget to show up early. Be flexible and ready to blend in, from your dress code to your attitude and general posture. Always maintain a low-profile but at the same time an internal high state of alert without getting noticed.
d. Respect client’s image: To business leaders and celebrities image is crucial and you damaging a client’s image by over reacting may do more harm than the threat itself. In addition to protecting the client’s life you have a duty to protect their reputation which includes their financial reputation as well. Be cautious and think twice before you act. During your daily routine give space and privacy and do not suffocate your principal.
e. Expect the unexpected: Expect the unexpected is more than just a fancy cliché in this industry. Be ready for it by believing you are not as prepared for it as you may think. Then train often, train effectively and train correctly. First you must make time to create training opportunities on your own. Formal training is costly and just doesn’t offer the consistency needed to stay tactically sharp. None of us or our company can afford to attend training courses every month. So, improvising scenario-based training with what you have or can find is the alternative. Create stress in your scenarios. The mind must experience stress in training to operate predictably in actual high-stress situations. Discuss if possible what the expectations are from your clients and what they feel is most appropriate course of action according to their lifestyle. DO NOT forget: you are hired and paid to offer them viable solutions and peace of mind!