Thursday, September 29, 2011

Escaping from a Wrist Hold

               One of the most common types of attacks is for a suspect to grab you.  This could be done for a variety of reasons.  The attacker may be trying to intimidate you.  He or she could be setting you up for a punch or other attack.  Or it could be that the assailant is trying to force you to come with them (see The Most Dangerous Time in a Crime).
               Last month, we looked at how critical footing and balance are to any self-defense move.  Now, we are going to add techniques to escape from a wrist grab.
               Unlike in the movies, most street fights are not glamorous or long kick-boxing matches.  Usually, they turn into a grappling contest, perhaps with a couple of strikes thrown in.
               One common grab is for a suspect to grab your wrist.  The important thing is to be able to escape the hold quickly, before you can be jerked off balance, struck or have someone put you in an arm lock from which escape is extremely difficult.

               When someone grabs your wrist, whether with the same side or opposite hand, the escape technique will be essentially the same.  You want to pull against their thumb.  That is the weak link in a hold.  If you try to escape by pulling or pushing against their palm or four fingers, you will fail.  The best approach is to twist the wrist within their grasp so the thinnest side is pointed towards the thumb and immediately rip it away forcefully.
               Done quickly and without hesitation, this will work.  Another approach uses the strength of your whole arm to break the grip.  Twist your gripped arm upwards, over the attackers arm.  Then grasp your own hand as if shaking your hand and pull sharply to your outside.  This will break the hold even if the attacker is larger and stronger.  It also puts you in an excellent position to strike back at their face with your elbow.
               An attacker may grab you with both hands.  Not to fear, the same basic escape is used.  Usually, when you grab an arm in front of you, both thumbs will align on top.  In this case, grasp your locked arm with your other hand and pull up, towards you while stepping back and twisting away, while maintaining your balance and footing (step back and drop your center of gravity).
               There is one more way to escape a wrist hold.  With your free hand or foot, punch, kick or strike the suspect by stepping into the hold as you counter-attack.  Be prepared to follow up with more strikes as needed until the attacker is down and you can escape.
               Practice with a friend, relative or spouse so that your response becomes instinct and you can do the escapes without thinking.  Remember to keep your feet placed so you do not lose your balance.


Have you wondered how to deal with an aggressive employee or phone threats against a staff member?  Do you have the security system you should?  Are you worried about how your business would handle an emergency situation?  There are lots of worries as a leader in your organization.  Security risks do not have to be one of them. 

Get solutions to your questions.  Contact eric@businesskarate.com. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Secret of Avoiding Crime

               How do you predict when or where a crime will happen?  Obviously, if you can manage that task, then you will almost certainly never have to worry about being a victim of crime.  Is that even possible?  Well maybe not completely, but the good news is that there is some predictability to crime.  Just as with real estate, one key factor is location, location, location.

               It is no surprise that some neighborhoods are worse than others are.  And of course, there is some logic behind that view.  Some inner city, high-crime areas are that way because of the highly dense populations.  If you throw in many of the demographics and social characteristics such as economics, access to drugs, poor family support, gang activity and lack of role models you can see how these specific areas become high crime.         

               But there is more.  Many criminals are creatures of habit and fall naturally into certain patterns.  Where they commit their crimes is one of those patterns.  A criminal may have found a target area that fits his or her style.  Perhaps there is lax security, easy getaways, or little chance of discovery.  Whatever the factors, once it has proven to be successful they will likely go back.  Or hit in the same general locale again.

               And bad guys talk to each other.  Often they work in groups so pass on their habits and methods to others, which can continue crime patterns.  Law enforcement has noticed the trend and even uses software designed to track wildlife as a means to track and predict criminal activity.

               So past criminal activity should be a factor in assessing risks, both on an individual basis and for other organizations.  It is important to remember that a certain target zone may not appear to be a high-crime neighborhood, but could still have a history of problems.  For example, the Cherry Creek area is considered an upper-end locale.  Still there have been crime problems as it has been the target of several high-profile cases.  These include abductions and one robbery in which the suspect grabbed a bag with a brand new iPad and severed the victim’s finger when it became stuck in the bag.

               There is another piece to the location puzzle.  Crooks stick to certain regions that have worked for them before.  But, they also want to get something for their misplaced effort – the goods, the loot!  Crooks have to go where they have something they want.

               If a thief is looking for a particular item, then he has to go when that can be found – and where it is vulnerable or exposed.  That begs the question – what do crooks want?  And the answer is – it depends.  Some want money, some drugs, some are looking for something popular and easy to trade or sell on the street.

               One emerging trend has been, however, the growing popularity of smart phones and laptops.  One study cited in “Security Director’s Report” noted that these items were replacing car stereos or TVs as the plunder of choice.

               This directly effects where crime happens.  Now a criminal may move from a parking lot or an empty house to where the smart phones, iPads or laptops are – on your person.  Even the type of crime changes from a property crime to a robbery if force or threats are used (see “How to Survive a Robbery”).

               Now a crook may target individuals leaving work; perhaps at crowded bus stations, subways, and commuter train stations or just walking down the sidewalk.  People are often relaxed or distracted thinking about work or about their plans for the evening, creating opportunity for the bad guys.

               So what do you do to protect yourself?

1.      Know your neighborhood.  This includes the area where you work and play as well.  Check police crime data or websites to find out what types of crimes go on around you.  Many departments have interactive crime maps that allow you to enter addresses and time frames to customize the data.

2.     Know your “bling.”  What makes you a target?  Review what items you carry, wear or use that could be a daily item to you, but valuable loot to someone else.

3.     Stay aware.  Do not get distracted or fail to pay attention to those around you.  That bad guy may be watching you, assessing your loot and looking for an opportunity to steal it.

Follow these crime prevention tips and you’ll go a long way to avoid becoming a victim.  Remember that crime, like real estate, is all about location, location, location. 



Have you wondered how to deal with an aggressive employee or phone threats against a staff member?  Do you have the security system you should?  Are you worried about how your business would handle an emergency situation?  There are lots of worries as a leader in your organization.  Security risks do not have to be one of them. 

Get solutions to your questions.  Contact eric@businesskarate.com. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Value of Security

Security, or the lack of, can have a huge impact on organizations.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) has reported that 1/3 of businesses fail due to thefts or other security flaws.  One out of three fails due to crime!

Large companies are not immune either and likely have more areas of vulnerability.  Think of all the large banks, credit card companies and universities that have exposed hundreds of thousands of customers to identity theft by losing their private information.  Pan Am, once one of the top airlines in the world, went bankrupt in part due to the costs from one terror attack (Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland). 

If the thought of failure doesn’t worry you, then perhaps some other associated risk will.  There are two more main ways that security risks will have a very direct cost.  One is premise liability and the other obvious one, is the actual losses due to theft or other criminal acts.

Premise liability can result from a variety of different circumstances, but poor or lax security is one.  For example, one hotel was recently sued for $4 million after ignoring crime problems until guests became the victims of an armed robbery.  In that case, management chose to ignore the problems and refused to hire or add security personnel due to the costs.  Four million dollars would have paid for a lot of security coverage and would not have had the negative publicity that a lawsuit had.

The average lawsuit from premise liability costs property owners over $600,000.  Imagine the impact of one loss like that on the bottom line.

The other concern is the direct impact on profit margin.  What is your company’s profit margin?  Some industries might eke out 1-2%; others 8-9%; some might even be higher.  Let’s say that your losses are 1% of gross revenue.  That amount has a direct impact on your profits and earnings.  If your business grosses $100 million, 1% loss due to lax security or other operational risks easily becomes $1 million of lost income; that is money that could have been used for expansion, advertising, new employees, capital equipment or better wages and salaries for employees. 

There are intangible benefits as well.  Employees worried about their safety at work can impact productivity and turnover.  Most employers do not tout on their list of benefits a safe workplace.  It is something of an expectation.  However, I’ve personally conducted surveys in the past in which almost 15% of employees had considered a new job due to concerns about crime and their personal safety.  That is more than one out of every 10 employees!  What is the cost of turnover in your organization?  The U.S. Dept of Labor has estimated that turnover costs 1/3 of the new hire’s annual salary.

A security program should achieve two things:

1.      Create a safe workplace for employees, customers, vendors and other visitors

2.     Increase profit margin by reducing losses

That is exactly what the Business Karate blog is about; tips to reduce losses and creating safer work environments.  Both accomplishments add up to increased profits and that is something that appeals to the C-suite at any organization.  

There are many specific steps to follow for a sound security or protection program and the details will vary from one business to another depending on their situation.  The one underlying question comes down to this – Is security an afterthought or nuisance, or is it a true business practice helping to advance your organization’s strategic goals?





              



Have you wondered how to deal with an aggressive employee or phone threats against a staff member?  Do you have the security system you should?  Are you worried about how your business would handle an emergency situation?  There are lots of worries as a leader in your organization.  Security risks do not have to be one of them. 

Get solutions to your questions.  Contact eric@businesskarate.com. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Forgotten Secret of Good Leaders

           Jedediah Smith paused on top of a ridge and looked out at the terrain in front of him with his spyglass.  All he saw were rugged mountains and snow.  There was no sign of a pass or way to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

His group was near starvation and exhaustion.  In the last six days, they had eaten one beaver and one colt.  Jedediah desperately wanted to cross the mountains and believed that was the quickest way to get back the summer’s rendezvous of all the trappers and mountain men in the Rocky Mountain area.  That was also the chance to get with his business partners, sell their furs and buy new supplies. 

The question before him, and him alone as the leader of the group, was whether or not to press on and hope to find a way through or turn back.  Turning back meant facing Indian tribes that had become increasingly hostile.  It also meant giving up on a way to get across the mountains to the rendezvous.  Did he forge ahead?  Or, did he turn back?

In his journal, Jedediah later wrote that he “learned one thing which I did not know before – that I must sometime be turned back.”  Jedediah was a determined explorer, but realized that pushing forward would not ultimately accomplish what he hoped and would likely mean his destruction as well as all of those for whom he was responsible.  The group retraced their steps and set up camp at a lower elevation.  Later, Jedediah did make it to the rendezvous with two others, nearly dying on the way.  The rest of the party stayed behind until Jedediah rejoined them in September of that year, five months later.

It is easy for an organization or an individual leader to become so focused on one goal or strives for a certain outcome that they ignore changing circumstances.  That could mean ignoring the threat of a new competitor or changes in the market.  It could mean continuing a policy or process in the work place that doesn’t work as intended and affects morale or actually damages productivity. 

As Kenny Rogers once crooned, a gambler has to know when to fold’em and when to hold’em.  A good leader needs to know when to change course, even if that means abandoning expectations, ideas, hopes or even a practice that was successful in the past, but no longer will be. 

The best leaders know when to push forward and, what's more, when to give up on an idea and change course.  Most leaders do not like to give up and may not want to admit that they are on the wrong course.  Determination, perseverance and follow through are more often the skills or qualities that create a good leader.  However, there has to be room for that judgment call, to say this isn’t working anymore or is the wrong path and it is time to re-evaluate and change direction.

Unfortunately, there is not one simple formula to tell a leader when to throw in the towel or to persevere.  The overall secret is the ability to inject sound judgment and not to be blinded by what you want to see.  To do this, you need to take a step back and take an objective look at whether the course of action will accomplish the expected goal.  Then you have to be willing to cut your losses and move on.  This is a challenge in and of itself.  There is already an investment behind your actions, money spent, time spent or other commitments.  In the case of Jedediah, he had traveled a long time heading north from California looking for a way across the mountains.  The last several days had been spent on the verge of starvation traveling deeper into the mountains.  When he changed course, that effort was essentially lost and they set up camp back down the trail.  Nevertheless, he realized that continuing to push on out of stubbornness or determination would likely lose much more - all of their lives.

Telling the difference between determination and thickheaded stubbornness can be tricky.  To help evaluate and re-evaluate your own motives, use the following questions as a guide.

1.       Are goals being met or is the current course moving you closer to them?

2.     Are you seeing what you want to see or are you seeing reality?  Be careful not to delude yourself.

3.     What do your instincts tell you?  Instincts are often built on years of experience tied into judgment and can help guide your actions.

4.     Are you willing to cut your losses and change direction?  Just like in the song about gamblers, it is sometimes necessary to fold on a poor hand to win the game in the long run.

If you follow these basic steps, you may discover the forgotten secret of success that is sometimes needed by truly successful leaders.  Especially those that succeed in difficult times and challenges.



              



Have you wondered how to deal with an aggressive employee or phone threats against a staff member?  Do you have the security system you should?  Are you worried about how your business would handle an emergency situation?  There are lots of worries as a leader in your organization.  Security risks do not have to be one of them.  To learn about business coaching sessions, send an email to eric@businesskarate.com.