Many would-be executive protection specialists have taken the inconvenience and expense of investing in formal education at a college or university. Alternatively, they have partaken in a long-term training program or perhaps served in the armed forces or police force. Finally, many have a considerable background in security. For this and many other reasons, EP industry networking is vital.
Each endeavor represents considerable expense, tremendous investment of time, and performance of studies and duties.
Neither individually nor collectively have these accomplishments resulted in or guaranteed success in obtaining a position. Still, some in the executive protection field believe that with the investment of a few thousand euros and one week of instruction in a classroom or car park, there is instant professional performance capability for a new career in executive protection.
Having completed a few dozen hours of training, they are now qualified to immediately perform executive protection services alongside career operatives with years of on-the-job, real-world experience. I emphasize “real-world” experience.
Possible for some but not a likely possibility for the majority. However, the first step in any career field, as many a job seeker can attest to, is to find a suitable position and build on your skill sets.
The Intersection of Soft and Hard Skills
The top ten per-centers will recognize that you first must intelligently build a solid foundation of ability. This may begin with formal education, training programs, reading, and learning all that is available to you on a particular subject.
These accomplishments blend with solid personal traits of honesty, courtesy, common sense, and personal discipline. Your anticipation must consider your ability to be adaptable, dependable, organized, and flexible in your position as an executive protection practitioner.
And most important, your network to obtain contacts that may directly or indirectly assist you with employment opportunities. Specifically in an industry heavily saturated with incompetence and operators misguided by what the real-world role is like. Enter EP industry networking.
What’s This Thing Called EP Industry Networking?
Networking has been around for a long time. However, most of us still do not fully understand what it is. Basically, it connects people with people. It is a valuable form of communication, and the key to success is making it work for you. You must be committed, dedicated, and motivated to network by understanding what it means to personal success.
Sending or handing out a business card, brochure, letter, or any other paper or cardboard connection and waiting for the telephone to ring is not networking. Instead, people must meet you, talk to you and get to know you to form opinions about you before they conclude to work with you or offer you a job. EP industry networking in full swing.
They have a great deal more at risk than you have if they have made the wrong choice, which is often the case. So, on this point, I rarely recommend anybody for a job these days.
We are in a professionally dangerous time in history where many men and women have adopted the philosophy of self-importance based upon an illusion of “you can do anything you want to do” or “have it your way.”
After all, you must be assertive and self-confident, not be used or abused, and no one can tamper with your illusion of reality. (This may be true if you have taken the time and inconvenience to “become” someone, rather than the all too common notion of wanting “to be” someone instantly.)
Ego in EP Industry Networking
Keep in mind the awareness of ego, which is the most common problem blocking success today. “Good ego,” like “good cholesterol,” is the belief that you can succeed, coupled with the ability and the capability to perform, which is something you need to complete the job well.
As opposed to bad ego, like bad cholesterol, which can cause you problems, when you are not able or capable of performing in the required manner for the specific assignment, and somehow you believe you have the correct answer for any challenge, which again is so frequently the case ― in all trades I expect ― however rife within the security/executive protection industries.
Remember, who you know and who knows you is the basis of networking, and you never outgrow your need for contacts. Networking is not just appearing somewhere one time. It is interacting with people. A network activity merely gives you a place to do it.
You build your own network just like you build anything worthwhile: slowly, with patience and quality.
Whether it works or not is ultimately up to you. Remember, with all contacts, you have one opportunity to make a first impression. Mistakes and errors are costly and very difficult to correct. Unfortunately, gossip and rumormongers love to spread negative, not positive, information about your mistakes.
As in all endeavors, the oxygen thieves of life are waiting to attack the beginners and the winners. People are always more likely to remind you of your failures than your success these days. Again this is in any walk of life.
Networking is not an event. Instead, it is a process of building relationships.
By becoming part of a networking organization, you are not taking over other people’s networks. However, you must do more than merely pay dues to a professional organization. You must appear at activities and events and make personal connections with people when you can.
Then, of course, talk to people, be curious, ask questions, and follow through if you make commitments to call or send an article of interest.
Do not have dead-end conversations, be open and articulate. But, most importantly, you need to listen and accept you do not know everything. Make no mistake: a wealth of knowledge exists in the executive protection industry by our older generation.
Networking is an exchange, not exploitation. Give more than you get. Personal contacts will always get things done. In fact, they speed up the process to success.
You are the owner of your own network, and it is totally your responsibility. No one else can do it for you. Only you can.
- Networking never stops – use every opportunity.
- Courtesy and politeness are key.
- Networking works both ways – listen before you speak.
- Your most important asset is your reputation.
- Networking is a connector.
- Nothing less than your best is ever good enough.
- Don’t worry about who’s right. Worry about what’s right.
- Ability is nothing without opportunity – network for opportunities.
- Never submit your resume unless requested to do so.
- There are no limits to networking. Keep at it.