“…sometimes you can’t avoid the fire, but how you put it out matters.” Tilman Fertitta said this in his book, Shut Up and Listen! Executive Protection is a professional service about how you put out the fire–the customer experience. High Net Worth principals and their families expect a level of service that is accommodating, professional, and discreet.
In Executive Protection operations we will always encumber those individuals who are upset or pushy in an attempt to get their way. This can manifest itself in an operation that individual desires access to an otherwise restricted area or taking a photo of the Principal when the Principal does not wish to be photographed and a myriad of other reasons. The Executive Protection agent is the gatekeeper in such cases. The agent must discern how they will act in their engagement with the individual(s) who are causing distress to or within the operation, all the while:
- Maintaining heightened situational awareness to their environment for fear of the incident may be a distraction for other events to unfold and;
- Protecting the Brand Integrity of the Principal and/or their Business to go along with;
- The Life Safety of the Principal and their loved ones!
Executive Protection agents must-have qualities that display and allow for:
- Time & Priority Management
- Futuristic Thinking
- Customer Focus
- Systems Judgement
- Several others
To go along with these skills and qualities, the agent must have a high level of Emotional Intelligence which will aid them in tempering their response in a stressful situation to allow for the optimal outcome. Generally speaking, the agent must approach situations with empathy and understanding from the other person’s point of view as best possible.
The Executive Protection agent should spin their response to an upset or aggressive individual in as positive a manner as possible, avoiding the use of negative terminology. Doing so will elicit a response back from the volatile individual in a much more reasonable manner as it will help provide a resolution of sorts to their reach towards their ultimate desire.
For example, if an Executive Protection agent is assigned to the CEO (Principal) of a high-profile high-tech company while they are speaking at an event and they encounter an attendee of the event who desires to get close to the Principal to take a selfie with them, and the agent is well aware that the Principal has a strong desire not to partake in such activities this particular day then the agent should respond with something along the lines of “Mr/Mrs (insert CEO name) has a very tight schedule today and is here simply for the presentation only. There are times when he/she does take time for selfies and hopefully you will have another opportunity at future events.” This vernacular should disarm most individuals in such circumstances while presenting hope in the future for the individual’s aspirations (assuming there’s some level of truth to the statement made by the agent). The agent gets their immediate cooperation and compliance with what the operation requires but leaves the individual with positive interaction and recall of that experience.
At PRS, we utilize DISC assessments of our agents to conduct a gap analysis against our customized job benchmark for each and every role (service) we provide. Essentially, we have data sets about each agent that allow us to present the best talent match with a personalized culture fit for our company and our client’s for a specific role, in this case, Executive Protection Specialist.
We are able to provide additional team insights for larger-scale Executive Protection assignments to show each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing the management team to select appropriate personnel who complement each other in a teaming environment.
Ultimately, our clients receive highly reliable services with individuals who are accountable, can anticipate the client’s needs, and adapt to unique environments they may find themselves operating within. The client has less turnover within the operation and a high level of comfort with their personal safety needs being met and brand integrity intact.