Is this a threat or an attempt at a selfie?
That question may sound silly, but to an executive protection agent, finding the answer is critical. Executive protection agents are the gatekeepers, the first line of defense for high net-worth principals and their families. And if an individual is getting too close for comfort, the agent has to assess the situation quickly, accurately, and quietly. Whether the person is a true threat or not, the agent must diffuse the situation without causing a huge distraction.
Executive protection agents carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. At all times, they must:
⦁ Ensure the safety of the principals and their loved ones
⦁ Protect the business’s brand integrity
⦁ Maintain constant, heightened situational awareness
⦁ Assess risk in rapidly changing environments
⦁ Act discreetly and professionally
⦁ Accommodate the principal’s needs and preferences
How would that play out in our selfie example? First, the agent must know how the principal feels about posing for selfies. If the principal is opposed, the agent needs to deter the selfie seeker as positively as possible. The agent might say, “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.”
That response avoids negative phrasing and presents hope for the future. It will, therefore, usually elicit a reasonable response and disarm most individuals in that situation. The agent gets immediate cooperation and compliance with what the operation requires but leaves the individual with positive interaction and recall of that experience.
To choose the best response in every situation, an executive protection agent needs a long list of skills and qualities, including
⦁ Time & Priority Management
⦁ Futuristic Thinking
⦁ Customer Focus
⦁ Systems Judgement
⦁ High level of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence helps them temper their response in a stressful situation to produce an optimal outcome. Generally speaking, the agent must approach problems with empathy and understanding, seeing the other person’s point of view as best possible.
And besides these general skills, executive protection agents must have traits that fit with the principal and the business. To build successful long-term client relationships, the agents’ and clients’ personalities must match.
At ShieldIQ, we have a proven system for finding agents with all the requirements. We use DiSC assessments, a behavioral self-assessment tool that can predict job performance. We conduct a gap analysis against a customized job benchmark for every agent and every role. We have data sets about each agent to present the best talent match for a specific position with a personalized culture fit for our clients and our company.
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 accountable individuals who 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 knowing their personal safety needs are being met, and their brand integrity remains intact.
“Customer experience is key in executive protection,” says Mike Delamere, ShieldIQ’s CEO. “To quote Tilman Fertitta, ‘…sometimes you can’t avoid the fire, but how you put it out matters.’ Knowing the science behind our talent ensures that our executive protection agents put out fires discreetly and professionally.“