Tag Archives: close protection training

Interpersonal skills for security professionals

You paid thousands of dollars for training and thousands more on equipment, firearms and clothing. Add in the cost of travel, hotels, meals, time off of work and other expenses and you are finally qualified for work, according to you. But what does the Client value in a protector? It may be no surprise that interpersonal skills top the list. Good manners, eye contact, a firm handshake, a timely smile, and an expansive vocabulary are just the tip of the iceberg. Knowing how to negotiate, and more, knowing when to remain silent are also key to a Client choosing you over an ex-WPPS Private Military Contractor.

After decades in the protection industry, it is continually apparent that while “fieldcraft“ is absolutely valuable and indeed essential to a Client’s required prerequisites, it is the “intellectual” skillset with which the Client has the greatest exposure, (and hardest time finding).

Many laugh when first hearing about interpersonal skills in the personal protection industry. They believe that as long the client is safe, nothing else matters. We all know that we are getting paid for that 0,1% chance that may require us to respond to a threat and “save the client”, but the rest of our time will be spent interacting with the client, their family members, employees, domestic staff, and our own colleagues. And just as important are the paparazzi and the public, both of whom have cameras in hand. One wrong comment or gesture and the Client’s embarrassment results in your termination, and possibly a civil action.

Social interaction requires specific interpersonal skills. Your ability to react or reply appropriately is crucial. Using the wrong words with the wrong person and your years in the sand box or skill with firearms won’t save you. You will be fired within seconds.  It happens every day and some of you won’t even know why.

Below we will try to give you some tips from ours as well as our colleagues experience and mistakes and even included some comments from past clients.

Your relationship with the client:

If you have any understanding of the industry at all, you know that you are with a client because someone within the client’s entourage has a fear that you have convinced them you can quash. In a combat zone, there is real fear of capture or death. In a large city in America, spy photos of the client out in public, drinking with friends, and in Mexico, Kidnapping. In many instances, you may be with the client 10 to 16 hours a day. So how do you spend that much time with them or their family, under that kind of stress without getting emotionally connected to them? Stick to the old adage: “Be seen and not heard”.

First of all keep in mind that the client is the one paying you, no matter how unrealistic his requests may be, you must adapt to his ‘’wants’’ and ‘’security needs’’. You may not be allowed to do what the job requires or have the manpower or equipment needed but you will have to adapt and do your job with what you have. You may be asked to be in position X and not Y because the client doesn’t feel comfortable otherwise. Consider too that it is also difficult for someone to get used to the idea of having strangers around them with every step they take and with every person they meet. Consider what you are doing that might be adding to or reducing their tension. Talking, staring, where you are standing, your cologne, or your actions can all add to a client’s frustrations.

The professional is one who can work with the difficult client, not the other way around. If you are lucky enough to work for that easy going client good for you, but most of the time you will have to deal with people that will test your limits. Have you ever had a client ask you to protect him but not to be within sight of him?

New professionals usually ask how they would deal with different challenges, like “what if the client asks me to have a drink with him”? What if the client asks you to do things that are out of your area of responsibility?

If you are a Close Protection Operative of the opposite sex of your client, then be prepared to deal with even more difficult situations. Traditionally mixing stress and fear with the comfort a protector can bring and the power and wealth of a client, (or his wife), and an opportunity……

Every one of us, client or Close Protection Operative (CPO), have different, social backgrounds and if you add to that different cultures then be ready to deal with more difficulties.

 

Boundaries

For many of us who have spent years in this business, (If we are successful enough to still be in this business), we have learned where our boundaries lie. If you are new in the business consider that boundaries exist for all of us. The client has them and so do you. When we are hired to protect a person, we are actually being allowed to step far inside their boundaries but they should not be allowed to step too far into ours. We will see a client in their most private and vulnerable moments, but what happens to our persona as “protector” if they see our weaknesses and vulnerabilities? And what happens if someone outside the client’s circle identifies our weaknesses or vulnerabilities?

How do we identify a client’s boundaries, and how do we educate them on ours? It’s really very simple; we ask. We should consider their social and moral code, their habits, vices and health issues and their fears. Sitting down with the client and discussing their needs and simply asking them where their boundaries are and letting them know ours is crucial to the success of a long term assignment. It may be no big deal for a client to ask you to enter a room where they are using drugs in a party setting or where he and his wife are in bed, but this may be beyond your comfort zone, (your boundary).

What is the difference between professionalism and friendship? Here is a simple rule: “You can’t buy friendship”. If you are being paid, you can’t be friends. If you want to be friends, stop taking the client’s money. Crossing the boundary between Professional and Friend is never successful.

From my personal experience I have found that when I was acting strictly professional the client was uncomfortable. Our task is to make them feel safe but when we appear ‘’untouchable’’ they believe we don’t understand their fears or what they’re going through. It is very important for them to feel we understand them. It is not easy to be the client….Sometimes they will open up and talk to us and we must show them we are listening. This is not friendship. This is part of our job.

If you get too friendly, then automatically your professionalism will suffer in your client’s eyes.  Not because he doesn’t trust you anymore but because your laps in professionalism suggests to him that you won’t be taking your job as serious as is needed.

Consider how Psychologists work. They cannot offer professional counseling to people who are in their family or with whom they are friends. They certainly cannot start dating a client.

It is understood that you may share many hours with the client. Talk to him only when he talks to you or when you have to say something that affects his safety. Avoid starting a conversation but always be friendly if the client decides to speak to you. If you are asked a question, try to answer it with a single sentence.

Your relationship with the client’s family members will have to be the same. Don’t be too friendly with them or other staff or guests. Remember who hired you and why. Remember who cuts your check and who ultimately you serve. You should answer to only one person. If you assist or serve anyone else, it must be with the approval of the client and then only at no cost to them.

If you appear too unapproachable or “hard”, you will intimidate those you are serving. Too approachable and the family and everyone else will feel comfortable approaching you. And it will always happen when you need to be focused. Take a middle position with your client which is addressed with professionalism. Again, prior to accepting your contract you must clarify from whom you will be given orders and directions regarding your work.

As a CPO your job is to protect you client’s life and image. You are not there to carry their briefcase or shopping bags, etc. You also should not be carrying the client’s child on your hip, or holding doors open or performing domestic chores. Remember to keep your hands free.

Don’t be afraid to say “no” when you are asked to perform duties which are outside of your role. The client is hiring a CPO not a maître ’de or a butler. It is professional to politely refuse to perform a task outside of your agreed responsibilities instead of accepting it and putting in danger a client or your life. He has hired you to provide security services and nothing else.

The client must see you as an educated, well trained, experienced and professional person, and it is up to you alone to earn his respect. If your client respects you then any of your suggestions concerning his safety will be accepted by him positively.

Alcohol? NO, NEVER, EVER…..while working. But……

What if your client calls you for a drink or coffee while you’re not on duty? In this case you have to ask why he is calling you. Does he see you as a friend or do you think he wants something unrelated to work or to talk about your work? First, remain professional. If your client calls, you respond. Then avoid alcohol at all cost. Consider that in many countries and especially in the United States, if you are in possession of a firearm and you are questioned by police with alcohol in your system, you will be arrested.

Physical Relationships

Sometimes the most dangerous trap a CPO may fall into is to have a physical relationship with his client or the client’s spouse. Remember that movie where the bodyguard was sleeping with his client? Art sometimes copies life. Being emotionally involved with your client, (or anyone in their circle), no matter how unprofessional we see it, has happened with some colleagues. Understand that if this occurs, the CPO is always at fault. Because the client is dependent on you, they may be more likely to share raw emotion with you or let you all the way in to that last boundary, the personal physical boundary. Take advantage of this vulnerability and you are solely to blame. And if you think you found the love of your life, you will be replaced by the next person the client sees power or an emotional investment in. And who is going to write you that professional referral letter then?

Sexual Harassment is rampant in our profession. Male CPOs are approached by everyone who is attracted to the perceived power of the protector or by anyone trying to get to the client or get into the client’s circle. But if you are a female CPO it is much worse. You will get barraged from both males and females, clients, their family members, friends and then your colleagues. Additionally, sometimes due to culture, there are those who believe that because they hired you to protect them you are there also for ‘’extra services’’. There have been cases like these which have been unreported to authorities but are a common problem within the female CPO industry. Again, that sit down meeting with the client prior to taking the job is strongly suggested.

 

Your relationship with colleagues:

During our career we will have to work along with people who don’t share the same work ethic, qualifications, training and experience, background, morals or values with us. So whether we like or dislike someone, we shouldn’t allow it to affect our professionalism. Our first loyalty is the client’s safety and the study and mastering of the art and skill toward this goal. Our second loyalty is to the industry to which we have dedicated our lives. Loyalty to our colleagues falls within this, not the other way around.

As we all know, Close Protection is a profession that is unfortunately void of professional standards and requirements. Each country, and even each State has its own licensing or training requirements and in many cases no training is required at all. In light of this, you realize that you have to work to solidify a team with people who bring with them different experience, skills, training disciplines, standards, professionalism, culture, and ethics in the same way a sports team or elite military unit has to work through individual differences to become a uniquely cohesive team.

It is very important that each one on the team promote and maintain a strong working relationship  with the others as well as the client, and of course other people who we may be in contact with (house personnel, office staff etc).

Some of the people you are working with may have more or less skill and may be younger or older. So in each situation you must address your issues with them with respect. Never offend anyone no matter the reason, never correct someone while anyone else in present. If you believe they made a mistake you can ask if he would mind a tip or advice. Not many people are open to advice from coworkers. If they refuse your help, respect it and leave it alone. If a colleague makes a sexual advance or even a comment that you are not comfortable with, address it quickly.

In our work it is very important when an issue occurs, to take immediate action to address it. Later you can do your research and as a team and correct it. As in any team, constructive criticism is meant to eliminate future problems.

Try to avoid conversations with your colleagues that include topics which trigger emotional responses like sports, religion, sex or politics. No conversation on these topics can contribute to your client’s safety.

Avoid discussion about family and do not share details about your family, spouse, kids or home life. You don’t know how the information may be used against you or your client later. Can you be blackmailed? Could this affect your client or team?

The only conversation you should entertain is the one that adds to your client’s safety.

Your relationship with fellow citizens and Law Enforcement:

In most countries your authority or legal ability to act is no more than any other citizen.  Trying to get a free pass at the club or disturbing the peace will give you and your client a bad image. No you can’t stop the traffic, park whenever you want, stop people from entering in public places or ask to search them.

Many of our colleagues come from a Law Enforcement or Military background, they use to have their own language with their former colleagues and may work along with them or ask for their help. Remember that active Law Enforcement personnel have their own agendas. They are not part of our industry any more than we are part of theirs. Do not ask them to help you do your job. Some may abuse their authority and use it to get close to your client, and may even try to replace you. Be respectful and keep your distance.

Your networking activities

It is common and we see it almost every day in online networks or forums, people who hide behind a “screen” or “nickname” and make negative comments about other colleagues. It is seen by most as cowardly at best to make public comments about someone while hiding behind a false identity and further, without allowing the victim or viewing audience to verify the experience or credentials of the accuser.

Industry forums serve a couple of purposes. The first is to inform and the second is to allow comments and feedback for the purpose of informing. Unfortunately, they have become a place for the unimpressive to gain their 15 minutes of fame. These chronic complainers, seemingly have plenty of free time, (possibly due to their unemployment), and repair their egos by blaming or criticizing others. Yes, there are non-professionals and there are professionals, but a forum is not the right place to show who is who.

For those who like to comment on different articles or posts online (…that includes many of us…) before you hit “send” be sure you:

1) Read the article/post carefully. It is very disappointing to see colleagues who post a negative comment on an article when it is clear that they neither completely read nor completely understood it.

2) Offer a solid answer/opinion based on logical thoughts or facts (or evidence/search results). Recently, someone tried to show their disagreement with an author. Their only approach to a counter-point was insulting the author which actually proved the author’s point.  Someone else tried to answer him by copying and pasting parts from the article and offering negative comments on the excerpts, which further proved the subject of the article; that some people in our industry can’t adapt their soldier mentality and behavior to the more polished corporate environment.

3) Answer in a manner that does not insult the writer or others.

4) Re-read and understand the article. Stating a disagreement is fine but following up with information that goes off topic and writing anything other than what is pertinent to the subject will only make you look stupid.

5) Read the article again,

6) Read your answer again from the perspective of your colleagues,

7) Read it once again from the perspective of someone who knows you,

8) If it doesn’t look professional/logical/in good taste or relative to the article provided, DO NOT hit that “send” button or “publish now” ….otherwise again, you will only end up looking stupid.

If you think companies and recruiting agents don’t look at a candidate’s networking profiles? Think again!

The bottom line is this:

If you lack professionalism on any level or lack interpersonal skills in dealing with people you work for, with or around, you will not be able to hide behind your experience, education or other skillsets.

Denida Zinxhiria

Founder & Worldwide Director

Athena Academy 

Nannyguards

http://www.athenaacademy.com

http://www.nannyguards.com

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Is the warrior mindset right for our profession?

 

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.
One thing to consider is that if a person won’t shave and cut their hair in order to get hired, how difficult is it going to be to manage them?
Notice on this list that Shooting and martial arts was not even referenced or mentioned.  So before you agree to work for your next client, ask yourself if you or your team members fit the client’s overall needs and if the Warrior Mindset fits the client’s needs? Regardless of the answer, you are the one that has to adapt.
John Lehman
Vice President
Athena Academy & Athena Worldwide

After the training what? Gaining Employment in the Security Industry

So you got retired from military, had your time serving overseas, got your experience within a hostile environment, paid a thousand of dollars to training courses in order to gain the skills and knowledge to operate in security industry  and now you are wondering what will be the next step that will give you a job.

Looking for a job can be a challenging procedure and it can be probably considered as a ‘full time job’ by itself. You have to be ready to spend many hours online finding the right job posts and apply to each one of them, some companies will require you submit your resume and some will require your fill their online questionnaire and fill the resume (in this case be ready to spend more than 30 min online per company). Statistically we can say that you have to send out 100 e-mails with your resume to companies in order to get an answer from 5 of them, and the answer doesn’t always mean it will be positive. So that by saying, you have to understand applying for a job it will take a lot of time and you mustn’t give up quickly.

Security Industry it is still considered a well paying industry and that’s why it is a ‘’cut throat’’ industry to operate within. There are many people with great qualifications that you will have to let’s say compete.

We will try to address to you some points in order to help you understand how the procedure chasing a job can work.

-How the job market currently look for security contractors, would you get any job after your PSD/CPO/Maritime Security Training?

In order to answer this, you have to think that attending PSD/CPO/Maritime Security Training etc what you are getting is, professional skills and education like attending a College degree. Before you spend your time and your money, make sure this is the profession suit you and also study well the current professional market. No training course or training provider can guaranty you will find a job after the training is over (if some do so consider it as a red flag), can anyone guaranty you a job after your College Bachelor degree or Master degree achievement? No…it is up to you to do your homework and market yourself and your skills accordingly.

As we already stated, security industry it is still considered as a well paying industry, a thousand of dollars are spend yearly to contracts in USA and overseas. However, until you make it up there and get those well paying contracts you have to be willing to start from lower and work your steps up every time.

-Present yourself professionally

If you want to be considered a professional then you have to start looking and behaving like one. Just because you don’t own a company that doesn’t mean you can’t print some business cards. You never know who you can meet, people that can be potential clients for you or can forward your contact details to other people. So why not be prepared and have printed simple-professional looking business cards that you can handle to people? I have heard many stories of colleagues that ended talking with important people and when they had to give their contact details they had to find a pen and a paper….and I have done the same mistake by myself when I started working in security industry and I still remember the embarrassing situation when I met in a event an ambassador (female) who looked thrilled about the female close protection services and when she asked my contact details I ended writing those on a napkin…..(I am not more experienced on those issues than my colleagues. I am just consulting on using my own past mistakes and my experience in chasing a work in security industry). It is also very important to keep your business card appearance simple and professional, avoid light colors or strong words. Use an email address that you use it only for business matter and keep it with your name and last name (avoid an e-mail address that looks like: afghanfighter@gmail.com…….etc. Remember keep it professional.

When it comes to your appearance, try to have a clean cut look, if someone is going to hire you to be close to important clients and dignitaries then he/she must be sure you can blend with the environment well. If you use to have a beard or mustache its ok as long as you takes care of it. Be aware of personal hygiene, yes no matter we are saying goodbye to 2012, it is sad how some people thinks it’s acceptable to have a specific scent or dirty shoes. If you are operating overseas it will be logical and acceptable but not if you are operating in Corporate Security or EP in the western world. And in this case make sure you invest some money to buy yourself some professional and comfort suit and shoes. Those will be your work tools along with your firearm.

Something to pay attention as well is your network appearance and activities. It is sad but people in security industry are also affected by personal issues and sometimes can act unprofessionally and like crying babies. Try not to take part in forums ‘’fights’’ or talking bad about other colleagues or companies, nowadays hiring companies and clients are monitoring network places and if they see you talking bad or unprofessionally for other people or companies what makes you think they would trust you and accept you to join their team? No matter how unfair you were treated by a colleague, a client or a company you must always act and talk professionally about them even after your resignation or dismissal. Your personal opinion can be left for your friends or family, in other cases you have to offer it as a professional opinion, so make sure you stick to that.

 

-Networking, Continuum Education and Attending Conferences

When you get into security industry what you will see is that also very important is the connections you make with other professionals, people that could refer you to other people and maybe clients. Make your contact area as wide as you can, there are a lot of jobs out there for everybody. It is very important to have a corporative, respectful and team spirit when dealing with other professionals. Just because you are already into an assignment and you get a job offer that doesn’t mean you can’t suggest someone else that is currently unemployed and have the skills for the job. Or if you know a company or a client is looking to hire someone with specific background and qualifications which you don’t have, you can always pass it to a colleague who can be suitable for the job. Bottom line, if you want to be helped by others colleagues you must be willing as well to help and not have a single player attitude.

Conferences, seminars and workshops can be the perfect place for you to network with other professionals or hiring companies, always try to save some time to attend in some and deal it as a very constructive opportunity for you to attend. Another important part is for you to understand the importance of continuum education. As there are many skilled and well trained professionals out there you have to train yourself up to date and add more skills in your resume. Have a better knowledge will add to your skills and ability to perform no matter the job position you currently have. Make sure you invest on your education and find time every year to attend a short training.

 

-The very important LICENSE and Certificate issue.

This is one of my favorite part from an article written by Athena Academy ex CEO, Mrs Rainey Shane.

There seems to be some confusion around the topics of Executive Protection certifications and licenses. I think this is a result of prospective students trying to break into the industry and trying to sift through the multitude of training schools, associations and the “puffery” being perpetuated by misleading marketing language.

There are multiple ASSOCIATIONS for Executive Protection Professionals, most of which charge a fee to be a member. Some are better than others as far as what benefits they offer their members. An Association is nothing more than a business created by someone who thinks they can provide a service and tries to make the security industry better. They usually have experience in the field and would like to further the industry as a whole. Some do a good job of that and some doesn’t. Either way, there is nothing special needed to create an Association other than the desire, willingness and a business license. They are not usually “sanctioned” by an overarching authority. They intend to BE the authority. For the moment we can say they are a couple of associations that are truly doing a great job.

-The Certificate Issue

Most Associations are trying to “standardize” the industry by offering their own CERTIFICATION. Their Certification is a set of knowledge, skills and abilities that they think a bodyguard should have to be successful. There again, the association chooses what to include in the Certification, there is not one set of standards. They are trying to create that set of standards. There are many differing opinions in this industry so you have to weigh how much credibility each one has. A Certification is NOTHING MORE than a piece of paper proving you attended a course that you can put on your CV to show to a prospective employer. Some Certifications will make you look better than others because of the school’s credibility. Depending the country those schools are operating, their Certificate may offer you much more cause the training providers, instructors and training manual is monitored by governmental bodies, such as Australia or UK. The fact there are standards that a training provider must met in order to teach you can add a value on your certificate and resume.

A LICENSE is what the governmental unit of your area grants to individuals that allow them to work as a bodyguard legally within their jurisdiction (area). Certifications are not Licenses. Every governmental unit has different requirements to get a license. Some may not even require you to have a Certification because it doesn’t mean anything to them. Depending the State you are looking to operate within you must do all the necessary actions to receive the licence. For example for the State of California someone must apply for a Guard Card in order to work as an Executive Protection Agent, in some States it will be required to attend a two days class and give a test (Now you are going to ask me why attend a 2 days classroom when you spend weeks attending a EP or PSD class?, well the law is the law and you have to fulfil the minimum required qualifications set by the State. Some States recognizes and accept a license that has been issued from another State, so that by its own give you a wider area to operate within. From the moment you decided to join this industry then I would suggest you do things properly and apply for licenses in those States you are interested to operate and willing to relocate and work there. For that, be ready to spend some money in fees, criminal records and fingerprints checks.

Another very important thing someone should be aware of is the CCW permit. Although I’m not a big supporter of firearms use, there is a difference between I know how to operate a firearm and I have the license to carry one and use one, from the part I just know how to operate a firearm. Yes you did your firearms training during your PSD/CPO/Maritime Security Training but that doesn’t mean you got the license to carry one. As 90% of people entering security industry are from military or law enforcement, the common sense says they already know how to operate a firearm, however what hiring companies are asking to see is that certificate specifically from firearms training organization (just to mention one here NRA) that prove you can use one, then you can go to the license part of carrying one.

When companies thinks you have a good enough resume to fill one of their positions but you are missing a license and a CCW permit, don’t think they will give you the time to apply and go through all that process. So think in advance and make sure you have those required qualifications.

-Resume writing and Applying for a job position

Many security operators will spend thousands of dollars on a close protection training course and education in technical qualifications to enable themselves to work in the protective services industry. However, many fall short when it comes to gaining employment because they have a poorly written CV which doesn’t highlight their key experiences, skills and attributes.

In order to be successful in gaining employment it is important that an employer when reading a CV gains an accurate picture of the person they are reading about. The CV should highlight operator’s key skills, if ex Forces then maybe operational experience or if not then transferable skills from the workplace such as leadership and management.

The work history should detail tasks conducted within each job. It should be easy for the person viewing the CV to read, for example not having to look up technical terms or abbreviations. It is really important to make sure that all the information on the CV is relevant to gaining a role in protection as information that isn’t relevant makes it harder for the reader to pick out the key information in the CV. The CV once written in general must then be tailored to fit the job description for which you are applying for.

 The job search and application process can be a challenging, long and tedious one, consisting of many phases of recruitment, civil and criminal background checks, physical and psychological testing, and meeting each specific companies standards as a prerequisite of employment. Make sure you do all the necessary steps from your side and the most important, the best time to look for a job is when you currently have a job. 

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

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Can you foresee and prevent threats?

As security professionals we all know that the number one responsibility in providing security details is the ability to prevent a threat before it endangers you and your client. No matter how adept you are in close combat skills or the use of firearms when that horrific Moment of Commitment comes (the aggressor pulls a weapon and begins shooting), your skills are not enough, this has been proven to be the fact in studies and in practice. How a gunshot or a physical combat will end depends on different factors such as the environment, the number of enemies, the number of rounds each party has, what kind of, if any support you have and most importantly your psychological response during an attack. Believe it or not we have seen security professionals ‘’freeze’’ during a gun battle. Were they trained in firearms? Yes!  Were they trained in close combat? Yes!  So, what went wrong? The most important question is, can we risk engaging ourselves in a situation that will most likely end violently for us and our clients? How many ‘’clients’’ or security operatives have come through a gun battle completely safe after having engaged in one? I am still searching to find that one case……

It is safer to prevent a threat instead of reacting to it! The best security details are not those based in force or use of firearms, but those based on foreseeing the upcoming threat and preventing it. We should also not forget that in some countries our colleagues are not permitted to carry or use firearms, so they must use their brains and intel.

Can we get training to foresee and prevent a threat? Yes we can!

I had the opportunity to attend one of ESI’s classes (28-DAY Corporate Security & Threat Management Program) this weekend and meet Mr. John D. Byrnes. Mr. Byrnes is the founder of the Center for Aggression Management. The Center provides training and systems for use in avoiding and preventing violence in areas such as the workplace, campuses  or in the school environment to provide more effective, lower impact methods for confronting aggressors and de-escalating aggression.

Most importantly this training can be taught to a wide area of professionals and organizations. I would personally and highly recommend this training to EVERYONE who would like to feel safe regardless his or her professional background.

No matter what our profession, age, sex, culture or country we live in, we all have to deal at some point in our lives with aggressive individuals, either as criminals, colleagues or family members. As a woman I can see multiple uses of Mr. Byrnes’ Critical Aggression Prevention System (CAPS).

As a security professional I can assure you that this training will change the way you have been looking at things and suspects. At some point we all have been trained in how to identify suspects and how to deal with them. Most schools still teach profiling, mostly when it comes to terrorists and suicide bombers.

Personally I was never  be a believer in using profiling. Why? Simply because there has not been an accurate “terrorist profile!” All profile assessments that have studied terrorists have been done  after they were captured. In psychology it is well known that you cannot obtain real research facts from a subject who (study object-terrorist) is not a willing participant ….

What about those situations when you are dealing with the occasional threat of aggression? Imagine being with your client in a pub where people get intoxicated and become aggressive, or at a football stadium? Being able to understand and ‘’read’’ aggression escalation is essential  to maintain a safe environment for your client, you and others who could otherwise be injured.  Identifying emerging aggression, engaging and preventing a possible attack offers a much better solution than pulling your firearm and pointing it at prospective aggressor.

Remember, we are security professionals, we are not Law Enforcement or Federal Agents, depending upon our country of operations, our duties and actions can be so limited by the law and have no more authority than any other professional such as bus driver.

In cases that you cannot restrain, handcuff or point a firearm against an aggressive suspect you must have other tools to defend yourself and your client. Critical Aggression Prevention System will not only teach you how to identify and respond in those situations, but will also teach you how to identify aggressive levels in yourself and how to control them. We are humans too and when an aggressor, whose adrenaline is already surging, it is a natural response for our adrenaline to rise as it prepares us for attack!  We can get aggressive as well when we are offended, threaten or our interests are limited. So by learning how to control our aggression brings us to a much higher professional level. The one who control his or her temper and calmness is the professional one. The one that can maintain their calm will make better decisions, and when it comes to our professional area, the one who will make the safest decisions.

Soon we will be hosting an interview with Mr. Byrnes, until then you can find out more about his work and the Center for Aggression Management  .

***To find out more about the  CORPORATE SECURITY and THREAT MANAGEMENT Program and next training dates contact Executive Security International at 800-874-0888***

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

Director of Placement

& Services at Executive Security International 

http://www.esi-lifeforce.com/

SECURITY RESPONSE TO GLOBAL CRISIS, a Conference Sponsored by Executive Security International and Executive Protection Institute

For all professionals working in Security Industry you don’t want to miss this opportunity: Two of the most well known internationally Security Training Providers,  Executive Security International and Executive Protection Institute are joining their efforts to offer an epic Conference that will take place in Las Vegas, from November 30 to December 2, 2012.

The 2012 Conference is a historic alliance of the two largest executive protection membership alumni associations in the country: Executive Security International’s ESI Alumni Association and Executive Protection Institute’s Nine Lives Association. The top two Executive Protection schools in America have joined together to co-sponsor this annual conference. ESI is the host of the conference in 2012 and EPI will host the conference in 2013, alternating hosts thereafter.

A TIMELY THEME

The Associations of Nine Lives and ESI Alumni have selected a conference theme that focus on contemporary critical issues:

Security Response to a Global Crisis

Core Topics:

Corporate Response to Internet Vulnerabilities

Keynote Speaker: Cynthia Hetherington, Founder of Hetherington Group,

Cynthia Hetherington, has been working with private investigators, security specialists and law enforcement professionals since 1993. A widely published author, Cynthia authored Business Background Investigations and co-authored The Manual to Online Public Records. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Internet & Online Intelligence Newsletter, and she is recognized for providing corporate security officials, military intelligence units, and federal, state and local agencies with training on online intelligence practices.

Data about your client, members of their family, business partners reside on the Internet. Everything about their world is readily available, including street level and satellite images of their residences, credit records, physical and intellectual assets. Some of the information is loosely posted on social media – Facebook, Small World, My Space, Linked-in and others that can be mined for images, schools attended and work places can be located and placed under surveillance.

This workshop will teach attendees how to find this information and steps to removing it as an essential to protecting your clients from unwanted exposure and inappropriate contact.

*Early registrants to the conference will receive a free copy of Hetherington’s book, “Business Background Investigations”

Corporate Crisis Management

Multi-national corporations confront the whole range of challenges from natural disasters to active shooters on property, stalkers of employees and executives, and kidnap & ransom policies in foreign environments. The conference will have representatives from major corporations to discuss these pressing issues.

Speaker: Peter Dordal J, Senior Vice President, Garda World

Emcee for Corporate Crisis Management Forum and Panel

Pete DordalPete Dordal began his career with 8 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Beirut, Lebanon with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion and then at Quantico as a combat skills instructor. He has a degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of over 25 formal military, law enforcement and security training courses. Pete graduated from ESI in 1984 while still in the Force Recon Unit, and Pete is the principal advisor and consultant on ESI’s PSD Protective Operations training program.

Mr. Dordal began his private security career with Vance International, which Garda acquired in 2006, where he served as executive protection team leader for a Middle Eastern ambassador to the U.S. and trained the Saudi Arabian Secret Service in advanced protection techniques. During the first Gulf War he went to Saudi Arabia to train that country’s Secret Service in advanced protection techniques.

Pete is Senior Vice President of Garda World, the Consulting and Investigation / Global Risks Group of Garda World Security Corporation. In his position, he is responsible for the delivery of security services to a variety of government and commercial clients in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Speaker: Filippo Marino, Director, Executive Protection & Intelligence | McDonald’s Corporation

Crisis Management in the Age of Global, Real-Time Communication:

We will first revisit the core principles of successful crisis management practices and the organizational features that contribute to resilient, global enterprises. The second portion will focus on how these practices have had to – or should – evolve to address dramatic changes in the media and Information & Communication Technology (ICT), and specifically why Executive Protection holds increasing relevance and influence in this arena.

Filippo Marino is responsible for the design and execution of McDonald’s Executive Protection efforts impacting senior corporate leaders and other at-risk personnel, and for shaping global best practices. Additionally, Filippo leads corporate initiatives in the areas of Global Risk and Early Warning intelligence, Crisis Management, Workplace Violence Prevention, and Major Events’ security. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Filippo’s career in the Risk Mitigation industry started as an officer of the Italian Army and spanned across almost 20 years, many of which as a successful adviser to Fortune 500 companies and High Net-Worth individuals. During his tenure as founder and CEO of Securitydirector, LLC, he lead operations ranging from Open Source Intelligence and Threat Assessments, to Crisis Management and Executive Protection across multiple geographical and cultural boundaries, for some of the largest and most complex organizations in the world. As an author, adviser, and entrepreneur, Filippo has contributed to several process innovations and best practice models for small and large organizations, and security professionals alike. He holds a Magna Cum Laude B. A. degree in Behavioral Sciences, and has obtained multiple certifications in security and protection services. He is a California certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and an accomplished firearms instructor, scuba diver, skydiver, mountaineer, and survivalist. He speaks fluent English, Italian, German and some Spanish.

Speaker: Beth Brown, Manager, Corporate Command Center, Target

Beth Brown is currently the Manager, Corporate Command Center (C3) for Target and has more than ten years of experience as a business and crisis management professional. She has held roles in operations, workforce management, and Target Financial & Retail Services.

Her areas of responsibility include Target’s Corporate Command Center, a 24×7 facility in Minneapolis that monitors Target’s business operations, travelers, and potential disruptions around the world, and leading Target’s cross-organizational response to business disruptions and security incidents.

Speaker: Charles Randolph, Director – Executive Protection & Intelligence, Microsoft Corporation

Charles Randolph has seventeen years of experience in the protective security industry and over 20 years as a military officer has uniquely qualified Chuck to take on a typical day’s work of planning, strategic development, tactical deployment, and management of both a global sized executive protection and an intelligence unit. Having previously been the Director of a protective security company with Fortune 500 clients, Chuck has the experience and insight needed to provide Microsoft with top-level protective and intelligence leadership, and the business acumen for corporate budgets and fiscal matters. He is responsible for both the Executive Protection Team and the Microsoft Intelligence Unit – globally placed teams that produce critical data on which the enterprise relies for making decisions.

Since joining Microsoft in 2000, Chuck has taken on ever-increasing responsibilities and expanded the scope of the services and assets his teams provides the company. Under his leadership he has transformed the executive protective services and intelligence unit to function beyond their traditional roles of body guarding and information provider, tothat of a strategic enabler.

Running Protective Operations in Mexico

Keynote Speaker: Rick Sweeney, President of Secfor International,

Rick oversees all of Secfor International’s (www.secforintrnational.com) training, protective details and recovery investigations. He has been in the security field for 25 years and specializes in high-threat protective operations, spending much of his career leading security teams in places like Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Iraq, and for the last 5 years, Mexico. When not on detail, Rick teaches security subjects to civilians and Military personnel and has Program-Managed U.S. Government Anti-Terrorist security training programs for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Special Operations Forces. Secfor has been featured on Discovery Channel’s ‘Kidnap and Rescue’ series, as well as in the Washington Post and other journals and publications in the U.S. and Internationally.

Mexico Security Operations

Mexico is a unique and challenging environment to provide protective services. Many believe that their experience in Iraq, Afghanistan, Military, or corporate security positions, may have prepared them for a Mexico posting but, we have found that Mexico is unlike any other environment our experienced staff has worked in. Other high threat working environments may develop certain skill sets that are pertinent to Mexico operations, though the specific threat in this part of Latin America is very unique and may be different than anywhere you may have worked in the past.

Below are topics that will be covered in the seminar. We will cover the types of details you can expect, specific threat to your client and your teams, kidnap mitigation strategies, tricks of the trade directly from our agents in the field, additional training that must be considered when working in this region and practical advance packages that every agent must have before heading south.

Some specific points that Rick Sweeney will cover on operating in Mexico:

  • Why Mexico is a unique operating environment for Executive Protection Specialists?
  • What are the legalities of working security in Mexico – Licensing – Visas
  • What companies are working in Mexico and what they look for in new agents? (What not to put in your resume or CV)
  • Different types of details you are likely to encounter in Mexico
  • Realities of the violence in Mexico – Difference in Northern & Southern Mexico
  • The kidnap threat and current methods
  • Life saving driving tactics operationally proven on the streets of Mexico
  • The firearms question: Who can be armed? Can Contractors work in Mexico?
  • Working with local security forces – The pros and cons
  • Local law enforcement – A double edged sword
  • Communications: Local Mobile phones – US & foreign carriers | Nextels | Black boxes
  • GPS Tracking | Vehicle | Personal tracking devices | The Chip
  • Medical issues: Local capabilities. What medical training, and gear, you should have before working in Mexico?
  • Intelligence: What is reliable and what isn’t? What you’re not being told, CAN hurt you
  • Mission Package preparation: What is it and why you must have it.
  • Surveillance Detection Techniques specific to Mexico. How they will watch you & what you can do about it. Recovery Investigations (Kidnap & Ransom support)

Who Attends the Conference?

The unification of the two largest training academies and their respective associations as the sponsors of the 2012 Conference will provide new opportunities of networking and professional connections. The EPIC-Lifeforce Conference is organized to meet other working professionals face to face.

Talk with your professional contacts from other training schools. We are truly moving this conference into a “come one come all” professional event. We all know highly qualified, professional members of our industry that have not come through the ESI and EPI pipeline and we want them to come and share with us the great training, the networking opportunities, and to meet other alumni – to break bread with our brothers and sisters from around the world.

If you are a newcomer to the field – or an experienced professional looking for new opportunities – or simply interested in the networking opportunities provided by the conference, this is a must event. Many regard the NETWORK event held on Saturday afternoon the most important part of the conference, providing a chance to learn about jobs and the industry companies who employ the professionals.

BRING FRIENDS

We are offering an incentive to Alumni Members who bring two non-members to the conference by reducing Registration fee by $50 for first time attendees. It is a unique and inexpensive opportunity to find out more about the protection field and to talk with professionals who are working in the field or operating their own business.

CORPORATE SPONSORS

The EPIC-Lifeforce Conference actively solicits Corporate Sponsors to offset the cost of Guest Speakers and running the conference. For those sponsors who contribute will receive special recognition before and during the conference and a Free Table at NETWORK. Sponsors can set up a table at the conference and receive honorable mention in all promotional material. We are looking for more. Corporate Sponsorship schedule is the following:

SILVER $500 – GOLD $1,000 – PLATINUM $1,500.

EPI AND ESI PLANNING COMMITTEE

Bob Duggan, President ESI Jerry Heying, Executive Director EPI
Fonda Delcamp, Vice-President ESI Gene Ferrera, EPI Director of Training
Cory Smith, Executive Services, Target Rick Colliver, Eaton Corporation
Barry Wilson, President, Anlance Protection JJ Sutton, President, Foremost Security

CONFERENCE FEES

ESI or EPI ALUMNI ASSOCIATION MEMBER……………….$295.00
NON MEMBER……………..………………………………..……..$350.00
FIRST TIME ATTENDEES DISCOUNT………………………….$50.00
PRE-REGISTRANTS PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1, 2012: Free Copy of Cynthia Hetherington’s book, “Business Background Investigations”.

To register online please visit: http://www.esi-lifeforce.com/alumni-association/alumni-association/conference-registration.html