We know what the Term “Warrior Mindset” is supposed to mean.
It is having the emotional drive and mental preparedness to think through the problem, fight through the problem and then not stopping until you are satisfied with the solution. While this works well on the battlefield, can we assume that this “mindset” will work in the Executive Protection Industry?
Who hasn’t heard the term “Warrior Mindset”? It brings to mind a soldier on a battlefield, covered in blood and dirt, with either a sword or a battle rifle, surrounded by the bodies of his fallen enemies.
It also brings to mind a person who wakes up at 5 a.m. and runs 5 miles, before he does 100 push-ups and then still hits the speed bag, all before 6 a.m., then calmly walks into the board room at 9 a.m. and conquers the world with the confidence of a 5 star General.
The negative of this vision however, is the tanned muscular former soldier that still has his mustache and goatee left over from Afghanistan, standing around in his name-brand tactical pants, with his eyes covered by his name-brand sunglasses and his finger indexed over his name-brand rifle. Let’s not forget his name-brand hat that he doesn’t have the decency to remove when he enters a room, or the name-brand chewing tobacco he won’t spit out before he speaks. And the battlefield language and military vernaculars he uses to insure that everyone around him knows he is (or was) a soldier.
So the question really isn’t whether the Warrior Mindset will work, or has a place in our profession of Executive Protection, it is whether the person hired for the job can adapt the warrior mindset to our profession with the appropriate amount of finesse, etiquette, good manners, consideration and common decency, all of which are ignored in combat training.
It is possible to take children who were raised with good manners and turn them into foot soldiers, or take soldiers with no social polish and train them as officers, (understanding that officers are taught civility, manners and etiquette as part of their training and operating protocols), but it is almost impossible to convince a billionaire businessman that a Neanderthal can fly jet fighters or that an infantry soldier can wear a suit and blend in with a group of world class business leaders.
So the question has to be answered with another question:
Is it possible to hire a person with the “Warrior Mindset” who also possesses the other qualities desired by the client?
To answer that question, you have to ask the client what they expect.
Since every client is different and each of their needs and risk scenarios is different, an extensive client questionnaire must be completed and analyzed in order to interview, handpick and if needed, train the right individual for the job.
In preparation for this article, I contacted several past clients for whom I no longer provide service and reviewed about 40 questionnaires files. Here are comments from the majority of the clients questioned along with the most desired qualifications:
- Minimum of a high school diploma
- Have 10 client references and 10 personal references
- Speak, read and write in the language of the country you operate in.
- Height not over 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm) for men
- Height not over 5 feet 9 inches (175.26 cm) for women
- Weight not over 220 lbs men, 160 lbs women for max height.
- 35 to 50 years of age
- Manicured or at least well groomed nails. (men and women)
- Know how to tell time and ALWAYS be 15 minutes early.
- Be fiscally responsible with the client’s money
- Don’t talk too much but always have an answer to any question
- Smile, be polite, speak quietly but with authority
- Don’t get too friendly or too comfortable with the client
- Be both typing and computer literate
- No visible tattoos. (This means outside of a bathing suit line)
- No piercings other than ladies earlobes (None for men)
- No habits.(smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco, chewing gum, biting nails, picking nose, sniffing…….)
- No facial hair. (this includes mustaches, beards, and sideburns)
- No strong perfumes or colognes
- Must wear antiperspirant and deodorant
- Never out-dress the client (no jewelry or expensive watches, no cuff-links, no bright scarves or ties, no designer suits or shoes, no three-piece or double-breasted suites, and ladies…. No dresses……ever).
- Men, no hair on the collar. Women, hair tied back in a bun. No ponytails for women or men.
- Only one button undone below the collar when a tie is not worn
- If you carry it, know how to use it. (this includes weapons of any kind, electronic devices including cell phones and counter-surveillance equipment)
- Know how to drive and how to prepare the car for the client
- Know business and dining etiquette
- Know how to lose an argument gracefully.
- Know how to say please, thank you, good night and good-bye.
Are you ready and trained to deal with a ‘’crisis situation’’ as a close protection agent? Erdogan’s case
We have been always supporting the need of a continuum training, qualification and re-evaluation for people who work in security industry. The kind of our profession requires operatives who can perform perfectly in situations that requires hard physical activities, being trained in various disciplines, have a lot of knowledge when it comes to security measures and also very important have a sharp mind and be able to take actions and react fast in a crisis situation. It is we who are required to act calmly and in cold blood when others (civilians) are under panic.
This time I would like to bring in our attention an incident that took part in Turkey four years ago. I had recently the chance to attend a meeting and catch up with some old colleagues, and in our coffee break we start discussing the incident with Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an incident with too many mistakes following each other by his Close Protection Operatives. It was this security failure which was the reason that leads to major changes of security details in Turkey.
According to sources, Mr Erdogan a few minutes after leaving Turkish Parliament and entering his vehicle start feeling not well and lost consciousness. His chauffeur and his close protection agent, panicked. And from that moment a series of mistakes following each other started.
Both of them, chauffeur and close protection agent, had no clue or training in First Aid. When they saw their client in the back of the car passed out, they speeded the car to get to the hospital that was at the other part of the town, when they could turn back and seek help at the Parliament Health Center which was way too close to them.
While speeding up for the hospital, for some reason they managed to ‘’loose themselves’’ from the rest of security convoy and got all alone racing the streets.
When they finally arrived at the hospital, both driver and close protection agent got off the vehicle at same time, and found themselves in an embarrassing situation and put their client in a very dangerous one for his life, according the Hurriyet press (http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/5285052.asp?gid=74) ‘’ Erdogan’s chauffeur, flung himself in a panic from the Mercedes Tuesday morning in front of Ankara’s Guven Hospital, inadvertently leaving the keys to the car in the ignition, which meant the locks on none of the doors, which had shut automatically, could be opened. It took security detail members 10 minutes to break open the window of the armoured Mercedes, valuable time, say doctors, who note that had Erdogan experienced any health problems more serious than a hypoglycemic faint, he could have died during that period.’’
Although, the specific incident could only work as an advertising aid for Mercedes armored cars, and how difficult is to break their windows, for sure brought Mr Erdogan in a dangerous life situation and his security team in a more embarrassing one. From that incident, the changes in Erdogan’s security detail that took place is that a doctor will accompany the Prime Minister on both domestic and international trips. An ambulance will also be included as a part of Erdogan’s normal convoy. And last but very important all security Ankara officials agree that chauffeurs driving the official vehicles used by the Prime Minister must go through special “crisis situation” training.
A real life incident and facts that anyone of us may be called to deal with, so make sure you are prepared and trained accordingly to respond in a professional and effective manner.
Athena Academy Founder
An unbelievable incident took place in Britain on June 11, when British Prime Minister, David Cameron, after lunch with his family and friends in a pub forgot his 8 years old daughter behind after leaving the place.
According to the British press (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jun/11/david-cameron-daughter-behind-pub) The Camerons were at the Plough Inn, near Chequers, with Nancy and their other children, Arthur, six, and 22-month-old Florence, as well as two other families.
When Cameron left the pub he went home in one car with his bodyguards and thought Nancy was with his wife and their other children in another car. Samantha Cameron had assumed her eldest daughter was with her father. The mistake was only discovered when they got home.
The prime minister drove back to the pub and found Nancy helping staff. She was away from her parents for about 15 minutes.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said there was no question of the Camerons blaming security for the incident. “Sam thought the PM had Nancy, the PM thought Sam had Nancy,” he said. “They take responsibility for their own children. No one is going to face disciplinary action.”
Observing the incident from a security point of view, we could say that a security failure like this could be had a very bad end. It is obvious that a person like Britain’s Prime Minister it is considered as a high risk threat level ‘’client’’ and that also include all his family members. Being a close protection operative you are responsible not only for the person you are paid to protect but also his family members. It is your responsibility to think and act in advance and make sure all necessary actions have been taken to secure all family members. So next time while escorting your client and his family in a pub make sure you do the following questions to yourself while leaving the place: Client? Check, Clients wife? Check, Children?……..
Athena Academy Founder
Recruitment and Development