Friday, June 27, 2014

Take Me To Your Leader



Space aliens, at least in B-movies of the 1950’s, immediately order the first person encountered to, “Take me to your leader.” Of course, you have to wonder how an alien smart enough to fly across the galaxy could not have figured out how to land on the south lawn of the White House.
"Take me to your leader."

Even so, these slightly wayward aliens may be on to something. After all, the best way to get something done is to ask the person with the authority to make any necessary decisions. Sales people stress the need to ‘sell’ to the decision-maker – anyone else is a waste of time. Even so-called customer service centers have figured this out. They avoid actually solving customer problems by making sure the leaders who can make a decision are never available. Try it. Call with a complaint and ask to speak to a supervisor – they are always in a meeting and not available so you get the promise of a call back, which never happens. No matter the perspective, alien, customer service or sales, leadership matters. It is every bit as important when it comes to protecting a business as well.

When it comes to security, many companies have no leadership. The end result, as you would expect, is a disjointed and unfocused security program at best, or worse, no security at all.

Many businesses may not be large enough to justify a full-time security leader. That does not mean then that there should be no leader. It may be a collateral, or side, duty of another leader in the business. For example, the facility director may be assigned security leader functions as well.

This leadership should be identified in the job description and included in any future job postings. Be sure to tie the role to a clearly identified position rather than one individual. If that person leaves, there may be confusion about who will take over. For many organizations, there will be even more confusion on what those security duties are.

By identifying a leader, you provide focus and direction. There is also one person responsible for security decisions. The security leader becomes the primary focal point and can work with other leaders to coordinate security concerns. For example, it may be necessary to coordinate the issuance of keys with HR and maintenance departments. This ensures that employees have the appropriate access that they need to do their job.

So who should be the security leader? First, it should be someone with a direct reporting relationship to the c-suite. This ensures the right level of authority to act if there is a serious safety issue or concern. 

Second, if it is a collateral duty, the primary role of the leader should overlap the security role. This could vary on the type of business industry or specific needs. Security can be found in a broad range of company functions. It may fall under legal, human resources, facilities or operations. If your company is focused on physical security of the buildings, the best fit may be facilities. However, if the focus is on protecting employees then HR may be the best fit. If compliance or regulatory requirements are the focus, the legal department is the better option.

Security is truly inter-related into so many areas, the best fit may be director of operations. For many companies, operations covers or works with other departments and security may be a perfect complement.

Make sure that your business has a security leader. This is the only way to have a cohesive protection program that keeps employees and visitors safe, protects vital assets and reduce losses. And any visiting space aliens will know where to go with any security questions.

For more ideas on how to protect your business, check out Workplace Security Essentials. For a limited time, the publisher is offering 25% off the cover price so act now.

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Get a Business Black Belt for your organization – visit www.businesskarate.com/karate-belts.



Learn self-defense for your business with Eric Smith’s new book, Workplace Security Essentials! Every aspect of protecting a workplace is compared to a self-defense skill taught to budding karate students, all in a practical and entertaining style, drawing on Eric’s law enforcement and security experience.


Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces. To learn more email Eric at businesskarate dot com.

Monday, June 16, 2014

4 Ways to Protect Yourself During a Burglary


Imagine sitting in the comfort of your home, your castle, and suddenly finding yourself face-to-face with a burglar or two, breaking in while you are home alone. This was not just a scenario, but also a very real and scary reality for the mother of a colleague of mine.

The mother was home alone and heard the doorbell ring. She went to the door, peered through the peephole, and saw two girls outside. She didn't recognize them and assumed they were selling something. The homeowner did not want to be bothered with a sales pitch so she did not answer the door.

Perhaps a minute after the two girls walked away, the woman heard the doorbell again. She peered through the peephole once again and this time saw two men outside the door. Again, she ignored the doorbell, thinking that the two were more solicitors. However, this time the two did not just walk away. One of the men walked across the porch to a nearby window that opened into the front room. The window was open and he immediately began climbing through the screen into the home. The woman began screaming and ran to another part of the house. She turned and saw the male climbing back outside and she had the presence of mind to realize that the two burglars might try to enter through the back door, which was unlocked as well, or one of the other open windows. She ran to the back of the house and began locking up before calling police.

She was not hurt and nothing was taken. For many police officers and security professionals, this would seem like a relatively minor offense. After all, it is a property crime and no one was hurt. However, my friend's mother was extremely upset afterwards. She would not stay home alone and insisted that an alarm system be installed. The family even considered buying a firearm for protection. In short, she no longer felt safe in her home.

The good news is that the police caught the suspects a few days later. All four were working together, with the girls checking on which homes were empty for the two men who were following and would commit the burglary.

Burglary crime prevention tips usually focus on how to protect yourself when no one is home. This case though points out the risks when you are home during a burglary. Some crooks are so brazen that they will enter a home in the early evening during dinner and sneak to bedrooms or other areas, searching for valuables. These thieves have found that homes are often unlocked in the evening, but these thieves are a rare breed and target large, upper-scale homes.

Most burglars who encounter an occupant will be just as upset or even scared as the victim. And that could be dangerous too, if the burglar resorts to violence in a panic.

So, what should a homeowner do, if you happen to surprise a burglar in your home?

1.     Prevention. Keep doors locked even when at home. If you want open windows, an ideal solution would be to block or lock the window where it is only open enough for air flow, but not large enough for someone to come in.

2.    Plan. Think through your plan in advance. Ask a couple of simple what-if questions about how to respond if you encounter a burglar. It is no different from thinking about how you would escape during a fire.

3.    Create a “safe” room. Set up a location where you can escape to, if you cannot leave the home. A room with a sturdy lock and a phone is ideal so you can call for police. If you are comfortable with the idea, you may keep a gun here for protection as well. Most crooks, as in the case above, will leave once they realize they’ve been discovered. However, some may try to corner the homeowner and this becomes a very dangerous situation. In fact, it is no longer a burglary, but a robbery, and the victim could be in danger. If the crook knows you are barricaded in a room, the police are on the way and you are armed, then they may very likely leave in a hurry.

4.    Stay calm. It is easy to say, but harder in a real-life scary situation. Take deep breaths and stay focused on what you need to do. Having a plan will definitely help as you will be following steps you already thought about. Ultimately, your mind and ability to outthink the crook is your best weapon and best defense.

Realizing the potential risks and thinking through the steps you will follow helps you survive a chance encounter with a burglar.



Get a Business Black Belt for your organization – visit www.businesskarate.com/karate-belts.

Learn self-defense for your business with Eric Smith’s new book, Workplace Security Essentials! Every aspect of protecting a workplace is compared to a self-defense skill taught to budding karate students, all in a practical and entertaining style, drawing on Eric’s law enforcement and security experience.

Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces. To learn more email Eric at businesskarate dot com.


 

If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at Eric at businesskarate dot com.