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?”


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 in 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 or follow me on FB (Craig McKim Business Development) or Instagram (@craigmckimbizdev)