The security environment is a dynamic set of circumstances and conditions in which the number, source, and destructive potential of threats increases and decreases.
In times of crises and increased threat every member of your security organization is a sensor, identifying and processing information about new threats, potential mitigation strategies, customer needs, and internal challenges and opportunities.
The faster information about threats and opportunities are accurately identified, analyzed and transmitted to decision makers, the more agile and effective the organization will be.
Leaders who use a negative, micromanaging, or bullying style degrade the trust, teamwork, and group communication necessary for organizations to succeed in a high-threat security environment.
Driven by an exploding population, violent extremism, global instability, and growing integration of cyber and smart building technologies with control systems, the task of securing federal and commercial facilities is too much for security professionals working in isolation to perform with any hope of success.
Leaders who aren’t approachable, who aren’t authentically interested in their employees input and who don’t solicit their contributions, either won’t receive critical information at all, or will receive it too late to action it effectively.
Here are 3 Ways for Security Firms to Keep up with Change.
1. Realize that Group Harmony is a Must.
In Daniel Goleman’s book “Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence” he discusses a concept developed at Yale University of “group IQ” which he describes as the “… sum total of each team member’s best talents contributed at full force.”
Key to understanding this principle is that it is possible for poor leadership to cause a highly intelligent group of individuals to fail to come together as a team and reach their potential, while the combined efforts of a group of lesser talented individuals might be outstanding.
Creating group harmony and facilitating the coordination of efforts is critical to leading in an organization that must be able to rapidly identify new threats, craft novel responses, and implement them with agility.
2. Remain Open to and Continually Adapt to Change.
The fact is that many security organizations are not evolving rapidly enough to adequately address the challenges they face.
I recently attended a meeting of security executives where several of them jokingly admitted to a limited knowledge of emerging technology including statements to the effect that they did not know what Twitter was. It was clear from their comments that they perceived social media to only be a potential source of embarrassing leaks and public misstatements.
The fact that Twitter has emerged as the number one source of news for in-progress public safety emergencies was unknown to them. This attitude of “hunker down” and avoid public exposure at all costs is reflective of organizational culture that is risk averse and overly-obsessed with avoiding even minor mistakes.
3. Work as a Team.
In organizations with high “team IQ” initiative is encouraged and honest mistakes are underwritten as a necessary cost of innovation and the learning process.
Intellectually agile security leaders know they must seek out subordinate leaders and workers that have skills they themselves lack and develop them into teams of experts, each of whom is encouraged to bring their talents, insight, and questions, to bear.
Poor leaders focus their efforts only in areas they have experience in and feel comfortable with in order to maintain the appearance that they are experts.
Law enforcement and security organizations faces threats ranging from increasing violent crime and civil disorder, efforts by homegrown and international terrorists to kill their personnel and destroy their facilities, to sophisticated attacks against government cyber and SCADA systems.
Meeting these challenges requires intellectually agile leaders adept at forging teams that participate fully in planning and strategy development, feel safe challenging conventional opinion, and who meet complex challenges together in seamless coordination. In short, nothing short of building excellent “team IQ” will be sufficient to the task.