10 Feb 2020

It is the person not the weapon! ISIO endorses soft-skills

Opening this topic, it is stated ‘’it is not the weapon that causes havoc’’ it is people!  Consequently, it takes people to limit or mitigate collateral damage.

When the head of security has the experience and knowledge to know that their biggest nightmare is not knowing what is truly happening on the ground, then, they are highly proactive and not waiting for something to happen when they would need to be reactive.

The practitioners in this field could be handling aggressive and violent issues be it physically or verbally. They are trying to protect against the forever thinking criminal or terrorist that is trying to out-think or outsmart the security system (technology or manpower). They interact with people that lie or hide information besides tricksters (conmen/con-woman) to which, some of these criminals are pretty good because their livelihood depends on such.

Considering the theory that security success depends on the level of situational awareness of the people on the ground (decision-makers) and their reaction speed, then, we have to look at the whole and not just part of such.

The majority of issues related to security is focusing and dealing with people, therefore, the security practitioner must be investigative minded.

Obviously, the issues above may seem logical and fundamental but are these practitioners truly trained to do the above. Investigative interviewing may not be effective because there may not be sufficient time to evaluate the person-of-interest. Critical situational awareness interviewing would be more effective and only if there is a reason for concern would the person of interest be sent up the ladder for a deeper form of investigation. Body language or just facial assessment may not be the answer because, a person of another culture may misinterpret or be misunderstood which could lead to a higher volatile issue. Perhaps the person is responding to their thoughts and not necessary plotting or implementing a plan therefore they need to be quickly interviewed to determine the threat level. The point is – security practitioners cannot afford to be misled and may go into conversation with others to determine the true threat level.

Perhaps there are larger issues in theatre. These practitioners may also have to identify the insider or outsider related to, information theft, fraud, bullying, blackmail and extortion that could be linking and involving transnational crime, local organized crime, street gang crime or the lone wolf predator. Therefore, they have to rely on their knowledge of crime, and criminal behaviour in their field of interest. This is besides their interpersonal skills being a vital component, besides skills to out-think and outsmart (thinking-out-the-box/critical thinking, meta-thinking).

Therefore, not all people in security are the right fit for such, as the demands are in-line with the fast changing vulnerability landscape.

Some of these heads of security have been consulted during the research from professional academics when designing the education. Hard skills are taught at accredited institutions where the intellect relating to skills can be measured.  Within the subject content, the curriculum would contain the laws of the land besides the ethics. Then the knowledge relating to the job function and the security management thereof, how to keep design a risk plan, how to calculate the number of staff to use, what type of equipment is used for access control, cctv and perimeter security and budgeting for such. Included in such, are the concepts of what others do, such as Close Protection Officers, Security Guarding, Polygraph examiners, or other service providers. The subjects such as leadership and management methods may talk to the strengths of a good leader or manager but, it seems that there are no soft skills added into the curriculum.

ISIO believes that the security is only as good as the people. To find the person that is fit for the job, is not only the degree or the diploma they obtained, but the skill-sets and character traits of the people are just as important. Sure, there are leadership and project management subjects built into the courses, but are these ‘security styled’.

Security styled means that there are major issues related that call for attention, stresses and spotlights ‘accurate reporting. Any action or reaction based on insufficient or unreliable information is inviting collateral damage. For example; who knows if all the information is provided, perhaps misinformation is provide on purpose besides, uneducated or unethical information is provided. This info could be from outsiders and insiders that could lie, hide or volunteer information for their own agenda. Consequently, this points to the fact that the security practitioner must be investigative minded and being proficient in their field of interest. Furthermore they must be educated with strong social skills, and, they must have character traits that are conducive to extract information from people besides managing their own emotions and that of others.

Considering daily functions; such as; managing the job function besides vetting and compliance, investigations or investigation management, meeting sales people, and handling staff issues calls for social skills. In summary, yes, the hard skills are important to run a shipshape secure site and the soft-skills are vital in the handling of people, identifying the crime and formulating methods to limit or mitigate collateral damage, such as, critical thinking.

Point making – the practitioner on the ground cannot afford to be misled, so one cannot simply select some soft skill program without researching for the most effective method. Reason being and simply put, is that these practitioners could handle life impacting or life and death situations. Professionals purposely purchase the tools required which involves knowledge of subject content, easiest and most effective training methods and know how to measure such.

ISIO [International Security Industry Organization] Endorses and Supports HIM (view the comments) Security and Criminology Investigation to weaponize the professional practitioners. Security Directors and Managers should view the virtual group meetings.