During COVID-19, we are witnessing a truly global crisis on two levels. Firstly, the people affected directly and indirectly by the virus, whether through sickness itself or forced from their jobs.
Secondly, many industries are suffering as a result of both voluntary or involuntary closures and a lack of customers/clients. The executive protection industry is just one of them, but it is the one that we know well.
We’re a business operating within the international security services, so our main responsibility is to ensure our clients are safe. And today, that translates directly into a clear recommendation to our clients to avoid any travel. Unfortunately, by doing so, we also put our workload into hibernation mode, effectively closing our doors until the pandemic abates.
However, as with many people around the world at this unprecedented moment in time, we now have the opportunity to turn from the outward to the inward. It can be a time of reflection, review, consolidation, planning for the future, and developing our existing skills.
In this article, we aim to offer an alternate, “glass-half-full” take on the unfolding situation by dissecting the executive protection industry and COVID-19. We offer to choose and see the current global crisis as an opportunity to improve our capabilities and subsequently, yours. To grow as an organization and as a team, and to come out on the other side as stronger businesses and individuals.
So, to help our fellow security industry peers, here are ten things you can do during the crisis to use your time effectively. Hopefully, we can come out on the other side with a positive view of the industry and the wider world.
Conduct a Tabletop Inquiry
Choose the most and least successful operations from 2019 and investigate them together as a team. Try to reach a conclusion that has three positive behaviors/decisions to keep and maintain, and three to improve.
Make sure to share the results with your team, either in person, through email, or over a conference call. That will help build a consensus on what needs work and what your team can take away as a win.
Run Penetration Drills
Send each of your team members, as individuals or in pairs, to either public facilities or to facilities that are owned or subjected directly by you. Alternatively, virtual penetration drills may also be conducted using Google Street View. Give them 24 hours to collect intelligence under the context of a penetration drill from the penetrators’ point of view.
After 24 hours, have your team sit down (either physically or virtually). Then, they can present each other a breakdown of the target, their challenges, and their plan of execution. Doing this will allow you to improve your hands-on approach to routine work. Also, it’ll provide insight into the way your next assailant might choose to penetrate any facility you’re protecting/spending time in with your principal.
Refresh and Sharpen Your Medical Capabilities
In addition to the periodic medical training your team undertakes, you can use this opportunity to cover scenario-based medical situations. Use the company medic-kit or any other equipment you keep on hand.
You can plan out real situations, assess how your staff reacts, and consolidate their knowledge using training materials. There are also plenty of first aid training courses available online — another ideal way to refresh your team’s knowledge while at home.
Get out into the community and see who needs your help. At times like these, nothing is more valuable than offering your help to your local community and giving something back. It can be as big as helping to stock up food banks or as small as heading to the pharmacy for an elderly neighbor.
We would genuinely recommend maintaining this habit in the future, even when things return to normal.
Our team currently volunteers at a school for children with special needs. But during this period of quiet, we have decided to expand our voluntary commitments to another community project. It helps deliver food packages to those that are placed in home quarantine. Additionally, helping others and supporting your community brings those who take part closer together, and it shapes both you and your team.
After all, it’s simple and raw good karma. The act of giving always gives back.
Organize Your Admin
Explore new productivity tools while you have a chance to test them thoroughly. Then introduce them to improve collaboration between your team, different departments, and management.
Tools such as Slack, Spike, and MS Teams can make internal communication easier. On the other hand, G Suite, Trello, or Monday can help you organize project admin and build creative ideas with your team. Now is the perfect time to test out something new without it disrupting your day-to-day operations.
Organize Professional Training
The classic, casual choice to use business time — either in your own facility or through an external arrangement. Take 2–3 teams (according to your country’s restrictions) and choose your preferred/required subject to strengthen.
Try some close quarters paintball practices, test your team, allow them to create threat scenarios (hot or cold, as your risk dictates). Do it according to what they feel necessary, or determine the scenarios yourself. You can gain a lot from listening to your team, allowing them to be an active part of the growth of the organization.
Follow What’s Happening Around the World
Use your time to follow the inter/intra-national plans for the aftermath of the crisis. Divide the geographic area that is relevant to your routine working area and ask each member to follow the COVID-19 status within it. Have them document every change of the situation in the respective area, any widely accepted opinions of experts, and any future milestones while coping with the epidemic.
To share the information, conduct a daily video call, perhaps even a “coffee video meeting.” Then, each member of your team can give a brief on the situation in his/her designated area.
Excepting the value of being always aware of things happening in your locations of interest, you will also potentially gain valuable post-COVID-19 knowledge, which will be highly important once the world is back to work.
The novel COVID-19 virus will surely be a part of the motives and factors that will determine the way the market behaves over the coming months. Being aware of the processes working within your places of interest will give you the tools you need to adapt.
Set Team-Building Exercises
This is an opportunity to create quality bonding time for your team. The more organic and positive your team is to one another, the more productive it is during your regular workflows.
Your team-building exercises can take a variety of forms and it could be anything. It can be indoors or outdoors, a challenge, or a fun activity that requires your team to connect and collaborate with each other.
Pull Out the Paperwork You Saved for Later
Work on all of the administrative aspects that get squeezed out of your day during your busy routine. Actively search out those tasks that you always put off and are as time-consuming as it gets.
You now have an opportunity to kill all those ongoing jobs, bring order, and streamline your workflows. You can also reach out to your partners to conduct vetting processes, DD, NDA’s. Basically, any other requirement you have from them that takes free time to deal with. Whatever it is, you’ve got plenty of time to deal with the paperwork.
Try to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Look for ways to create a strategy that will suit your needs. Try to plan ahead.
This point will probably be more relevant when the epidemic is finally contained and is in remission — hopefully, sooner rather than later.
However, the main takeaway is to attempt to form a recovery strategy using the things you can control or anticipate. You can’t let the crisis completely manage your future.
To summarize, here at SCS, since the crisis had already reached us, we have begun to practice what we preach. We hope to follow as many of the above points as we can in the next period while staying operational. We invite you to practice the same and to grow both as individuals and as organizations.
Also, we want to take a moment to wish everyone strength and patience during these difficult times. Those who are not infected with COVID-19 should do their best to care for those that are or those who are most vulnerable in society. Additionally, by practicing restraint and avoiding panic, we can work through this crisis together and come out the other side healthier and more prepared.
DISCLAIMER: Ensure that all actions are conducted in places that do not put you and your team at risk of COVID-19. They should not cause you any issues with the law and that do not break any quarantine rules. The same is true for any team-building exercises or other team gatherings. Always check with your local health authority as to the current status of quarantine rules and laws.