Exclusive: Getting security a seat at the C-Suite table
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Acquiescence to an unfairly portrayed image is an injustice to all men or women that don a security officer uniform and his or her management. Immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, global entrepreneurs have either invested in or created boutique services in private security. Fear became a catalyst for business and security multiplied because of mindsets fuelled by insecurity. Unfortunately, now two decades later, the majority of private security as an image to most clients seeking security services are labeled more as an insurance policy and compliance via subcontracted agreements.
The world hosts a diverse blend of private security organisations, which invest time, money and effort to ensure that their officers, supervisors and frontline management are provided the best resources to perform to the best possible standards for the client(s). Chief Security Officers (CSOs) and proprietary security management have for years been trying to ensure that he, she, or they, have a seat at the C-Suite table; however, another seat is often overlooked; the seat of the private security team, in the form of the private security manager at that very same table. In order to get that seat, we need to understand the two types of contracted service – General Contracted Security Service and Third Party Contracted Security Service.
General Contracted Security Service
Clients come in a wide manner of aspects from corporate property management to industrial factories. The owner(s) of the property has a choice to either hire a property management firm to subcontract security services or contract directly with the security service organisation.
Third Party Contracted Security Service
In the event that the owners of a property decide to contract their property management services (i.e. – building engineering, building maintenance), the property management service will then subcontract a third party security service. Whichever subcontracted security service is awarded the contract(s), the private security management would coordinate directly with the property management contact.
Contracts indeed vary and are diverse; however, regardless of if the private security team is contracted by the owners or subcontracted by property management who have been contracted by the owners, the security service must have that voice with their clientele management counterparts. Sadly, because of the “pulse at a post” mentality combined with a reactive outlook, the voices of some private security management teams are almost mute. So, how is this remedied? RAISE THE VOLUME! However, this must always be done in a respectful, professional manner and through the hierarchy, otherwise it will set back the objective so far that the walk up a slight incline will become the equivalence of scaling a mountain.
The reason why private security does not have that essential seat at the C-Suite or client management table is simply due to leading by reactiveness. If you want to have a seat at the table, never assume there will be an open invitation; private security managers must proactively break the ice and prove that the contract security team is essential not only during times of need but also during the course of normal operations:
Show that you have a vested interest in security and are not fulfilling your role simply as a job
Regardless of if this is your primary career choice or transitioning career (i.e. – from law enforcement or military), set weekly meetings with the client contact. Even though some weeks the meetings may last for only a few minutes, it still substantiates that the contracted security manager has a vested interest in what he, she, or they are protecting. Remember to lead by example as some clients may assume that reactivity is indicative of the mentality of the entire contract security team.
Image Says EVERYTHING
As the adage goes, “Common sense is not that common.” To ensure that the contract security team is in proper and complete uniform, a suit for a security manager regardless of gender has to be as evident as making sure you leave the house with your cell phone and keys. This is especially crucial if it involves a first time meeting. There are no, “casual Fridays.” Every day should be viewed as if the contracted security manager will have a meeting with the C-Suite.
By Matthew Porcelli, CPP
You can connect with Matthew on LinkedIn here