The security industry has some unique characteristics which influence its management. What works just fine for management in other business sectors does not work well in security.
As background, decades ago, when Chameleon was an upstart consultancy, we did not benefit from a network of businesspeople we met on the golf course (although we do have some very fine golfers amongst our ranks, let’s be clear.) We were not a group of pedigreed former Directors of the CIA, FBI or DHS, nor former generals with connections in government circles. Not to dismiss this kind of background - these agencies produce smart, capable, strategic thinkers.
What Chameleon offered was a perspective on security from the ground up, versus the top down. Sure, we understand the A to Z of security and yes, we know intimately the challenges faced by supervisors, managers and security executives. But at the end of the day, it’s all about Joe, posted at the front gate, who counts more than anything else. One could say that we are a company of sergeants, not generals. Generals are usually too far from the day to day action to know what’s happening, certainly not first hand. Generals have an important strategic role and need to see the big picture. But as a result, they have to rely on second and third hand accounts from the field. Our goal as sergeants is to make sure that we know exactly what is happening in the field and that Joe fully understands his security mission, and has all the training and support he may need to carry it out.
The only way to accomplish that and to truly measure Joe’s performance is to step into his post in his protected environment and observe. How else can we know what’s really going on? Security supervisors are usually tasked with officer inspection but because much of the time they are putting out fires, dealing with paperwork and administrative tasks or substituting for no shows, inspections drop as a priority. Inspections also offer an excellent chance for coaching. Indeed, one of the things that we promote heavily is training of officers (and supervisors). Regardless of the quality of personnel, if they are novice or if they come from and have experience in law enforcement or the military - training and drilling is essential.
Actually, there is a difference between training and coaching. Both are good. The latter is critical. It takes place in the field, one on one, where a coach/mentor is able to see first hand what the gaps in knowledge or procedures may be. Right then and there, when things are fresh, a lesson can take place. Maybe an officer just needs a refreshment on what threats he is securing against. Or what suspicion indicators he is to be on the look out for. Perhaps he needs a full on 30 minute coaching session on relevant aspects of the SOP he should be following and the reasons behind the procedures. Managing an officer’s performance for a client really can’t be done from an office or on a zoom call, alas. But the results of one-on-one management and training can be splendid - so much of the time officers bloom under such direction, getting the information and impetus they need to be their best.