Today’s executive protection (EP) services require a higher level of flexibility and personal tailoring to meet complex operational needs. In addition to standard EP packages, agents are now expected to assist with a variety of everyday corporate VIP needs – travel management, local procedures, last-minute itinerary changes, and more.
It is therefore increasingly important that EP agents develop good communication with the VIP clients for maximum coordination and safety effectiveness throughout the operation.
Customizing a close protection operation today must include EP professionals evaluating the business values and corporate culture of the VIP client. An effective EP team should develop shared guidelines and convey standard operating procedures to the client:
1. Standardize the risk and security program: A standardized program is measurable and repeatable, but with built-in flexibility to meet individual clients’ demands when tailoring is needed.
2. Set measurements for success criterion: This ensures that clients have reasonable expectations, and that the EP team can concretely demonstrate success.
3. Schedule regular communications briefings with clients: The VIP should be informed of what works and what should be avoided, as well as be provided with the opportunity for feedback.
4. Link risk initiatives to corporate values and needs: Demonstrate to the client that values are aligned, as well as cost-effectiveness for each EP service being provided. (In the face of often pricey security detail requirements, the client must understand the bare minimum investment needed to employ an effective EP program.)
Smaller, more discrete operations are increasingly in demand by traveling VIPs. A low-profile operation means zero hype – which means the client should seek EP professionals with exceptional “people” skills and the ability to blend in.
The EP professionals must also have the capacity to develop a high-level of trust with the client. In the case of an emergency, a client following the split-second command of the agent could save his life.
In the case of executive foreign travel, the EP teams will need to augment their security protection plan according to local conditions. This could include knowledge of local language, customs, and laws to avoid any mishaps during the operation. In most cases, it is necessary to hire local security personnel – ideally, the security team should have access to local contacts prior to the operation.
In conclusion, when the VIP client and EP team can clearly communicate to each other risks, expectations, and progress along the way, it is a win-win situation for both parties involved in the operation.