Developing the Right Skills and Mindset

Professional Bodyguard AssociationIn recent years we have witnessed a divergence from teaching the fundamental skills needed to be successful in this profession giving way to the more thrilling aspects such as shooting or driving because that is what people are willing to pay for.

Don’t get me wrong, these skills are important, and this is where regular training will help you master the practical, but what about the thinking processes that precede given actions?

While certain hard skills are necessary for any position, employers increasingly look for job applicants with certain soft skills. That’s because it’s generally easier for an employer to train a new employee in a hard skill (such as how to follow SOPs) than to train an employee in a soft skill (such as tact and diplomacy).

What skills are most important for companies that are hiring?

There are some skills and qualities that employers require of all applicants for employment, regardless of the position they are hiring for. These are called soft skills, and they include the interpersonal skills and attributes you need to succeed in the workplace. They also include the professional skills that are essential for workplace success.

Of course, there are the more tangible skills you need in order to do the job effectively. These are called hard skills, and they are the specific knowledge and abilities required to do the job. You’ll need both for most jobs, and it’s important to show employers that you have the skills they need when you’re applying and interviewing for jobs.

Below is a list of some of the skills that employers consider as most important when recruiting and hiring employees. In order to get your application noticed be sure to incorporate the skills you have that are required for the position for which you are applying in your resume and cover letter. Also, highlight your most relevant skills during job interviews.

1. Analytical
Employees need to be able to figure things out, so you will need to have some analytic skills to succeed in the workplace. The skills you need, and the level of skills required will vary depending on the job and the industry. In conjunction with being able to analyse, employees are expected to be able to organize, plan and prioritize effectively.

2. Communication
The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, is essential, no matter what job you have or industry you work in. You will need to be able to communicate effectively with employees, managers, and customers in person, online, in writing and/or on the phone.

3. Interpersonal
Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are the skills you use to interact and engage with people. It is not unusual for someone to be hired purely because of his or her ability to connect with people as that could trump the other skills the employer might be seeking, so be sure yours are up to par. Your interpersonal skills will be evaluated during your job interviews, so it’s important to prepare for the interview so you are as comfortable and confident as possible when interviewing.

4. Leadership
When companies hire for leadership roles, they seek employees who can successfully interact with employees, colleagues, clients and others. Even if you’re not applying for management jobs, leadership is a valuable skill to bring to the employer.

5. Positive Attitude
Attitude might not be everything, but it’s extremely valuable. Employers want employees who are positive, even in stressful and challenging circumstances. They want to hire applicants with a “can do” attitude, who are flexible, dedicated and who are willing to contribute extra, if necessary, to get the job done.

6. Teamwork
Regardless of the job, employers want to hire people who are team players who are cooperative and work well with others. They don’t want employees who are difficult to work with. When you are interviewing be sure to share examples of how you worked well on a team.

7. Technical
The technical skills you need will vary, of course, depending on the job. However, most positions require at least some technical skills. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for candidates who can jump right in on the first day of work and start helping the company achieve its goals. That means finding people with the right technical skills to get the job done.

Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks. They are practical, and often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks. These technical skills require training and experience to master. They are also typically a type of hard skill that can be taught in a classroom, and can be defined, evaluated, and measured (as opposed to soft skills, which are personal attributes that help you succeed at work).

This list of technical skills can come in handy for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Included is a detailed list of some technical skills that are most desired across industries including ours.

Data Analysis
Nearly every industry today relies on data, whether it is data about their clients or the success of their product. While it is easy for companies to get data, they need employees who can collect, organize, and then interpret that data.

Project Management
This might seem to be more of a soft skill than a hard skill, but project management is critical for all technical projects. Being a good project manager means being an effective leader, delegating tasks, and measuring the success of each project.

Social Media Experience
Throwing a phrase like “experienced in social media” into your resume is no longer enough to impress most employers – today, so many people use social media. However, if you can explain your experience with certain media platforms and quantify your results, you will be able to stand out from the competition.

Technical Writing/Computer Literate
Many jobs that involve written communication require you to explain complex things in a way that is easy to understand. You might have to send messages to clients or write press releases, web content, or manuals for clients. Being able to communicate complex ideas in a clear way will make you stand out in many jobs.

Let Us Help You Showcase Your Skills
Allowing us to help you develop the right skills and mindset (a mindset is the thinking processes behind a given action) will enable you to showcase your top skills and qualities when you’re job hunting.

Please contact craig@pbagroup.com to learn more about how we can help you.

Craig Knowles, Professional Bodyguard Association | United Kingdom

Do You Plan Your Routes?

Do You Plan Your Routes?

You get THE call. Your employer needs someone that can adapt and make it happen. Here’s what the employer needs: “Can I count on you to meet up with the team, pick up the principal at the airport, take him to his event and get him safely back on the plane?”

You say, “Absolutely.”

The employer responds, “Great, that’s exactly what I need right now. He lands in 8 hours.”

“Do you plan your routes?”

I’m confident that almost all of us would say, “Yes, of course I plan my routes…!”

“Do you analyze your routes as well?”

“Huh?”

Can you explain the difference between route planning and route analysis?

Allow me to borrow from my experience in the military. Of course, the following is a simplistic (and in some instances, a textbook) view, which may not accurately reflect the experiences of the reader. But let’s address that later.

In the military, route analysis for the combat engineer or the motor transportation specialist take into account variables such as load weights, bridge ratings, road material and weather. I’m sure there are a million other variables with books and books of data tables to pull information from.

But the infantryman has an entirely different perspective on route analysis. The infantryman is thinking about how to counter known and potential threats. Such as how to use the terrain to mitigate the effectiveness of the enemy’s weapon systems. Or how best to maneuver an obstacle in order to avoid known enemy tactics.

The military commander has the ability and wisdom to consider the various inputs of route analysis, but the commander is different. Responsible for the overall accomplishment of the mission, the commander is focused on route planning. He or she is constantly considering the best routes for efficient completion of the mission.

So… what’s the difference, exactly?

Let’s look at the first question I asked, do you plan your routes?

Does that plan incorporate the appropriate analysis of the route? Did you or someone else consider the most likely and most dangerous enemy weapon ranges? Trajectories? Firing positions? Recommendations?

Did the analysis identify what actions the enemy would have to do in order for him or her to bring harm or embarrassment to your principal? How about enemy timing of his actions and equipment needed? What mitigation actions can you take?

Did the analysis identify and recommend countermeasures to potential hazards? Such as weather and road conditions or trip and fall hazards? The teammate that’s going to be opening the door, does he or she have a cold or cough? (Might want to reassign that team member.)

I think you get the idea. It can get complex. So how do we make it all happen?

In our industry, we probably don’t have the resources to commit to such an exhaustive planning effort on every route. But we do it anyway, in the time we can squeeze out and with whatever resource we can find.

There lies our challenge.

As protectors, we have embarked on a massive, never-ending quest of learning to be better, faster. We need to be able to tailor route planning and analysis to our everyday life as a protector, learning how to quickly and effectively apply those skills. I am thankful for the education I received at the Executive Protection Institute Providing Executive Protection Program and the Professional Bodyguard Association Recognition of Prior Learning course. The information I received helped me to understand how I could bring it all together.

Through practice, I have become more efficient than I ever was. I’m confident in my ability when an employer calls and says, “Can you adapt?”

Justin Bondietti, PPS; Executive Protection Institute Graduate, NLA Member

3 Best Practices in Networking

Tis the season…for the Close Protection Conference! We are less than 3 months away from another incredible experience in Vegas…and yes, I mean the CPC!

As we grow nearer to the CPC and the holiday following, it’s time to brush up on our Networking skills. Well, maybe not so much our skills but DEFINITELY our mindset around Networking.

In my last blog we talked about WHY we Network. Let’s adjust ever so slightly and talk about HOW to get the most out of not only Networking at the CPC but anytime and anywhere we find ourselves. This will be inevitably valuable when we are all at holiday parties throughout December with family members, co-workers, friends of our significant other’s 😉 and so forth.

Allow me to identify 3 best practices while Networking:

First…and I mean FIRST…Smile. Smile when you meet someone for the first time. I realize there is a lot of military, police, Feds, security professionals, etc. in the crowd. And we are all serious doing a serious job. But greet new (and existing, for that matter) contacts with a smile. It is the quickest, easiest and least expensive way, BY FAR, to improve your appearance.

An authentic smile is a couple things: It’s inviting. When people see you smiling, even if it’s not at them, they are more inclined to feel welcomed to join a conversation. And that’s what we are looking for while we are networking, agreed? It’s also encouraging. Have you ever walked up to someone new, even after being introduced, and the person doesn’t smile until after he/she meets you, or sometimes not at all? I cannot stand that! Don’t be that person. Be the person someone wants to get to know even before you meet 🙂 And finally, smiling is a no shit way to improve your mood. It is scientifically proven that even if you are in a bad mood and you force an authentic smile, your happiness goes up and your stress level goes down. Anyone ever stressed walking into a Networking event?

Second, and you’ve read the word a couple times now. Practice authenticity. Being yourself is exactly who you should be. But, you must be the best version of yourself. Anything less is unacceptable. You owe it to yourself to be your best and to the people you will be meeting.

The easy part of this is when conversations are happening around things we know. However, while Networking, we are often around new people with different experiences. Nothing screams authenticity like showing a little humility. Become a student, if even momentarily, and ask questions. Especially for the newcomers to the industry, take this opportunity to learn the lessons the storyteller learned without having to go through it. Networking is so much about learning from others, it’s absolutely crazy! Take the opportunity and use it for everything you can get!

Which leads me to the third practice, be interested NOT interesting. Which is to say, listen before you speak. Show interest in others. This can be tough because we want to share our story (Ourselves is our favorite topic!). We will get our chance. Spend time listening to others. Allow them to talk then ask follow up questions, then let them talk, and ask another follow up question, etc., etc. and so forth. And here’s the most important idea to this, listen then respond to what the other person is talking about. Don’t wait for them to stop talking so you can start. If that person is doing it right, they will then ask all about you. There’s your chance!

This reminds me of an excerpt from Devora Zack’s book “Networking for people who hate Networking.” She tells the story of meeting a gentleman at a Networking event and they speak for about 15 minutes, of which, she speaks for about 3. At the end of the discussion, they exchange cards and go on about their business. In the near future, she got a follow up email from the same guy saying how much he enjoyed their conversation and how he was looking forward to referring her business. She let him talk, that’s what he needed, she then benefitted from being a fantastic listener. Nothing wrong with being a listener! You can learn way more that way 😉

Anyway, that does it. Smile, be authentic and be interested not interesting. Work at all three of these and you’ll find your time at the CPC, family gatherings, parties, etc. much more valuable, and because of that, much more fun!

Stay safe out there!

Craig McKim, PPS; Executive Protection Institute Graduate, NLA Member

For questions on networking, feel free to email me at Craig@craigmckimbizdev.com or follow me on FB (Craig McKim Business Development) or Instagram (@craigmckimbizdev)

Bodyguards? Buddy Guards? Executive Protection Agents

Security Guards blocking paparazziThe following article was published by Nine Lives Associates Member Kent Moyer and The World Protection Group, INC.

CASE STUDY: KIM KARDASHIAN

The story reads like something out of a James Bond film. Armenian princess of American television fame gets robbed by a band of notorious jewel thieves in an exclusive Parisian hotel while on holiday attending international fashion galas. The only thing different about this version of the story, this real life story, is that the princess-in-question had absolutely no protection at her royal service. Where were the armed men standing by? Where were the trusted bodyguards hired to protect and serve, prepared specifically for a harrowing situation such as this? How could this have happened? How could her trusted men have let it happen?

Unless of course, it was an inside job.

In today’s crossover landscape of multimedia entertainment platforms, the lines between staged filming, actual life, and social media “presence” have become blurred. The allure of ‘fame by association’ has introduced a dangerous element: the transition of bodyguard to “buddy guard,” severely impacting the level of protection being offered to celebrity clients. The Paris robbery of Kim Kardashian is one of the prime cases being examined in order to upgrade safety precautions in the executive protection industry.

First, let’s look at the facts: Read More…