Type As. get bored quick, quicker than most, all of them have been there and done that, and of course they can always do it better than their current supervisor. Managing anybody is hard enough, much less teams that have just as much or more experience than their manager. But there are ways to make the working environment a happy and stress free place. I have found that a few key areas are always a good place to start.
I always like to make it clear from the start who is in charge. By doing this no one can ever tell you they did not know or were not made aware. Establishing the Alpha male or female among Type As gives guys and gals an individual to look up to or refer to in case anything happens. The threshold for abuse and accountability has to be high on this individual, no matter what the decision, good or bad this person owns everything and is responsible for all Team and Individual actions. As the attitude described in this paragraph is displayed among the teams, people tend to know they are well taken care of and that they are being counted on but will not be crucified for doing what they are told to do. Anybody taking advantage of this umbrella will be noticable.
Establishing a clear chain of command is also a key factor in Management, especially if there are many players involved. Having one boss is bad enough but imagine if you have 2 or 3 people telling you what to do and they all have a different idea on what you should be doing. Make life a little easier for the guys and get a communications tree out there so they know who to approach for whatever reasons.
If somebody does approach the chain of command to either complain or provide decent input, make sure you do more listening than talking. Don’t be quick to counter or shoot anything down. Make sure that you take the time to analyze exactly what that person is trying to say. You may pick up something else after careful thought.
Establish clear objectives or milestones for all your missions or individual employee projects. This gives the employee clear direction and goals every step of the way. These will usually come with timelines and drop dead dates, a must have for any project.
One of my favorites is to instill camaraderie, especially fo the long winded projects where teams may have to work closely together, people get on each others nerves, no two are alike, even besties can grow apart. Take some time to get out and do different things together. Sometimes it’s also good to separate for a while, go the opposite direction. Respect each others space when needed and let loose when you can, time and place for everything. Then get back to work recharged.
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So this is how it usually goes…an active shooter situation takes place.
1. People get scared and wonder if they’ve done enough, usually not.
2. They seek help, consulting, training.
3. They get a quote.
4. They don’t get the training they need because of some kind of budget constraint.
5. They forget about it till the next one and then it starts all over again.
Enclosed is a basic shooter outline that we use. It talks about what to look for and what to do. I have never handed out our outline before, I or somebody from the company is always there to present it. Email for any clarifications. There are no stupid questions. Email me.
In the context of the world that I live in and move around work wise, it’s pretty simple. When I read a Travel Alert by the State Dept. I interpret that that is a location that was not on their radar for being a prior risk and now recently in the last couple weeks has seen some sort of crime uptick, more than your usual arbitrary crime that any city would experience. Arbitrary crime being car thefts, muggings, robberies, etc…
A travel warning is when somebody is telling you that if go to City X the chances that you will run into arbitrary crime are high, how high?
Level 1= Exercise normal precautions
Level 2= Exercised increased precautions
Level 3= Reconsider travel
Level 4= Do not travel
These level are laid out under the State Dept. banner of Travel Advisory.
I don’t see the terms travel warning or travel alert anymore on the states website, probably because it left to much for interpretation and people were justifying going to places they should have never traveled to. I think that’s a good call by the state dept. to just say what the intel is pointing to, you can’t deny or dilute the facts in some of these places around the world.
BLUF: If you look western, or don’t look western but exude western behavior, or light complected, you might be a target for just being you. Stay aware, don’t get complacent and treat every place you travel to as a level 2. It could mean the difference. There are going to be times that you slip back to level 1 but that’s ok. Keep level 2 nearby.
BLUF: Bottom line up front!
Most of the times we spend our days in the background, they go to meetings and we wait outside, or downstairs, or wherever. But in that small window that we have sometimes to impress our client and show them that we are worthy of their business and that the costs are justified many agents fail. Here’s why:
- Get sucked in- speak only when spoken to and when you do be respectful and short, remember you have a job. The client is not your friend. They will try to pull you in…most clients are great people, they are wealthy, and kind, it will be hard for you to say no but keep your distance. It’s not your world. You have one and it revolves around providing top notch security.
- Poor training or lack thereof- No eating in motorcade cars ever…ever…., no smoking, dipping, no gatorade bottles in cars ( you know what I’m talking about), don’t answer your phone or have in your hand around client unless you’re off your corner and passing comms. Never on watch. Heads up.
- No after shave, cologne, sprays, etc… smell like nothing, if you have bad BO or some sort of chronic disease, seek a specialist and good luck.
- No radio(tunes) unless client asks for it, even then keep low, if the client insists on blasting the volume. use high noise earplugs. They work! and explain to them why it’s not good to do that.
- Be dressed to impress but stay comfortable and agile. Make sure your suits fit. Weights fluctuate!!!
- If you have a steady client try to get a uniform going that affords you max comfort and mobility.
- Sunglasses are for the sun, nuff said!
- Stay flexible and take care of the client, you may end up doing something not in your scope and not security related, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your security duties, do it. It may reap huge dividends and may be something simple. If your client takes advantage of your multi faceted skillsets then propose an assistant or hire on another agent to take the load off. If your client really needs it they won’t be discouraged. Educate your client respectfully and don’t be afraid to write up a debrief after every major movt. They will appreciate it in the end.
Just sayin! JG
I personally am an off and on facial hair kinda guy, when I work with agents that have facial hair all I ask is that they keep it trimmed and cleaned up. I believe employers that frown upon facial hair fear agents won’t keep it trimmed enough or that the look won’t have that secret service appearance which most want. In the end if you want to get the work you have to go by what your employer wants.
- Forget about your neck
- Get artistic
- Think employer won’t notice if you skip a day of shaving
- Forget that food likes to hang in your facial hair
- Play with your facial hair/twirl your mustache, hands off
So it’s kinda looking like the easiest thing to do is not have it at all…..
I’ve been in the military for a while and because of that I really don’t like shaving everyday, or at all. I remember having to shave in the field when in the army and having to put on a fresh coat of cammi paint right after. Absolutely hated that. I’m sure a lot of you can relate. People that hire us think of Kevin Costner and the Secret Service – clean cut, suits, high and tights- or low and stupid for those of you in the military. In the end, just get the work. At least you won’t have to put cammi paint back on after.
I’ve been sending guys into harm’s way since 2008 when I first started the company. From Marijuana Burns in the Sinaloa Region to Immigration Routes in Guatemala. This is not something I do easily and with a clear conscious. It takes me some time to decide on a couple of key factors and if the job is even feasible. I’ve turned down many details because the client wasn’t listening to what I had to say. Here are some of the key factors I consider when sending guys into Non-Permissive and Austere environments:
- Does the agent have to have a language capability?
- Does he look the part?
- What kind of Support do I have IVO the operation and how long will it take to mobilize?
- Should I let State Dept. know that we are there?
- Does my guy/team have cell phone coverage and does he need a SAT Phone?
These are just 5 of many factors a manager would have to consider. In the end we do a good area study, determine the threats and lead/plan thru Intelligence and historical atmospherics. Intelligence led, threat based all the way.
These are the words I remember hearing as I muscled my way thru military training. As the training got more physically painful I was always looking for ways to make the pain go away, which in turn led to cutting corners which in turn led to getting caught which then turned into more suffering. The consequence was usually something like endless pushups or sprints to the surf zone. It was a lose, lose situation from the start. So the good news is I got physically hard. Those were the days!
Recently I was asked how I managed to navigate myself and my clients through countless details in MX and South America without being armed. I tell them that sometimes we have armed agents in the detail but mostly we rely on our training to keep me us out of a bad situation. If I find myself in a bad situation I’m going to have to rely on my physical fitness in a huge way. Short bursts of strength and definitly the endurance to get us out of there. When was the last time you got in an all out brawl? Or even just a one on one with somebody? 30 seconds of max effort in a one on one situation for the average man depletes about 40% of your stored energy, so you better make it count. And that’s just one guy. If you’re going to be travelling the globe protecting your Principal(s) without a weapon in this day and age, you better have some skills under your belt…both on the combatives side and on the technical side.
Just saying, JG