HOW DOES YOUR COMPANY VIEW YOUR SECURITY TEAM?
My company HQ is in Nashville, TN where I’ve lived for 25 years. It’s not this way anymore, but a long running joke in town was that you had to do a two year stint in the music business to earn your citizenship. I did my share of time in the music business – and then some. I learned a lot of great lessons, and at the top of the list is about representation. I was a manager, which means that I ran point on every piece of the artist’s business. The money is made on the road, so managers spend 70-80% of their time on concerts and tours. The most important person on the road is the tour manager because that person sets the tone for the whole tour and represents the artist in every little interaction on show days. The tour manager is the first person off the bus in the morning and the last one back on late at night. If the tour manager is professional, courteous, patient, kind and fair, then everybody from riggers to runners to caterers to volunteers believes the same thing about the artist or band. Artists run the gamut from relaxed to quirky to difficult, but it doesn’t matter with a good tour manager. He has the power to make a nice artist look great, and shield a difficult artist so that the experience is positive.
Security Programs are in a tricky spot in most companies. Besides the fact that Security people have a general reputation of focusing on the “no”, there’s also several reasonable questions people within companies ask. First, how do we know that the Security team knows what they are doing? Second, how much money do we spend on Security folks and what is the return? And third, how does the Security program perform compared to others? These are good questions considering that the field is fairly young, filled with all kinds of weird certifications that don’t necessarily prove competence, has a difficult time showing ROI, and lacks metrics to show comparisons between the competition.
Training Security people in all facets of an organization to act like good tour managers is critical. There is mystery surrounding your Security Program and it’s not going to change, so training your team to win the popularity contest is really important. Here are a few tips:
- Train Security people to creatively problem solve. Sometimes you have to say “no”, but if it’s too often it becomes lazy and unprofessional. Security professionals must understand that their perception is doom and gloom, so instead of “no”, the answer should be, “not in this form, but what if we…..” or, “that might be doable, so let me check it out and come back to you with the best method….”. Colleagues want to hear that Security staffs are willing and positive problem solvers.
- Never chid a colleague for not understanding Security procedures if they’ve done something dumb. This sounds elementary, but people in your company are doing things like marketing or accounting. If they did something careless or dangerous, maybe your education program needs to be better. If not, then realistically, your job is to help secure your company. Being positive, patient and educational goes a long way. Most people don’t mean to do dumb stuff, and it leaves them feeling foolish and sorry for the trouble they’ve caused. Be positive, understanding and helpful. Train them. Then you can go back to your office, calmly shut the door and kick your file cabinet.
- Always go the extra mile. Your Security Program probably has a moving target on it’s back. Take it for what it is, reach out and be kind. Don’t stick together in little packs at lunch. Spread out in the company meeting. There is a mystery to a company Security Program. People have questions and if you present a demeanor of friendliness, the reaction is usually a genuine interest in what’s going on “over there”. Building relationships and helping to educate in informal settings wins every time.
A primary goal of any Security Program should be to de-mystify itself and to put it’s most professional and friendliest foot forward. The CISO must lead this effort, and if the Security staff follows enthusiastically, you will make fans and friends across the company.