We talk to a number of companies, large and small, about executive protection programs every week. Sometimes, the conversation starts something like this: “Executive protection? Yeah, we tried that a few times, but it didn’t really work out for us, so we gave up the program.”
At times, the conversation ends there. There are other times when this makes for the beginning of a great dialogue.
A Fortune 500 company approached us because they were not satisfied with the management and execution of their EP program. The company’s board of directors had mandated a robust protection program for several of its top executives, all prominent figures in an industry that gets a lot of media attention, but program results were far from the board’s requirements.
The principals were frustrated with the program’s design and execution. Three program managers, all without the appropriate experience, had been put in charge and had left. The EP team members were overworked. At a time when its worldwide responsibilities were growing fast, corporate security management was spending more than 50% of its time dealing with EP team issues – much more than it should be.
Could AS Solution turn the EP program around so that it would satisfy the board mandate?
Our initial analysis identified the key problems, outlined a number of options and prioritized which improvements should be implemented first.
We discovered that the existing program lacked consistency, flexibility and scalability. There were no documented standard operating procedures. The readiness of their EP team members was discouragingly low, and the team’s professional development was non-existent.
Working closely with the client, one of the first things we did was to provide full-time, contracted support personnel to ensure that the program met the requirements of the board mandate as soon as possible. Drawing on our pool of vetted, experienced EP professionals, we were quickly able to pull together team members who fit the principals’ lifestyle, corporate culture and security requirements.
In addition to staff, we also provided a full-time, contracted EP director to stabilize the program. Given the history of previous EP efforts, it was essential to establish the right partnerships within the company and to nurture relationships with a number of key stakeholders.
While our EP strategy was written to address all foreseeable requirements, its implementation was designed to be flexible. Our recommendations were accompanied by a range of options so that the client could proceed at a pace that best suited its needs and budget.
The EP business is about people – both on the client side and on ours. That’s why the standard operating procedures that we created included documenting and training the entire team. We helped the client hire all the full-time EP team members, including a new EP manager, and develop career paths and performance management tools for them.
As mandated by the board, we have now put in place a fully functioning EP program to protect the corporation’s principals. The program is flexible and scalable, and there are strategies to serve additional principals at home or abroad as needs arise.
Importantly, we have been able to develop trusted relationships between the EP team, the client’s principals and their immediate staff, and the client’s corporate security management and other related departments.
We continue to provide full-time senior-level strategic advising and consulting to the company’s EP manager, global security manager, principals and their support staff.