Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Godfried Hendriks – 2020 Global President at ASIS International (Netherlands)
Donna Kobzaruk – Executive Director, Regional Manager at a Major Financial Institution
Juan Muñoz – CEO at Associated Projects International (Spain)
Don Randall – Independent Advisor (UK)

Key points

Godfried Hendriks identifies what he sees as some of the key skills for security leaders, amongst them are the ability to lead; a willingness to cooperate; and a positive attitude. This is not the first time in this webinar soft skills will be referred to. He does not shy away from recognising that some security personnel undermine security noting a small number lack ‘emotional intelligence’ and are ‘intellectually challenged’, weaknesses which are shown up via social media and they become a focus. You will witness Godfried discuss the merits of the value proposition in recognising the importance of security and a focal point for security leaders in order they can impact on strategy in organisations. He recognises value is easier to evidence in sectors like retail than others because of the reference point of shrinkage although he makes an interesting point about the potential of benchmarking as another measure, and the ROI. He advocates the benefits of ESRM and the holistic approach including collaboration with cyber security professionals. He makes a call for engaging with young security professionals, we should all do that, they are our future.

Juan Muñoz notes that there have been two common themes in conferences he has attended: the need for security to demonstrate that it is a worthwhile investment; and the ambition of security to be recognised in the C Suite, where a key component is for the security strategy to be aligned with the company strategy. He argues that this has been the same for 15 years but it is no more advanced now. He does not shy away from confronting the realities that some security leaders are not good enough.  That many CEOs do not understand the potential of the security function, or what to expect from security leaders is a gap. The blame for that rests with the latter. He calls for more education. You will hear him highlight how Covid-19 is presenting opportunities, and as a final statement he emphasises the importance of locating security in the value chain.

Donna Kobzaruk calls on stakeholders to give security professionals the credit they deserve. She laments the emphasis on those who come to security from military and police backgrounds and fail to engage with the culture of a business, a theme echoed in different ways in this webinar.  For her the key skills of leaders are also what may be termed soft ones and include: decisiveness and being a calming influence. The role of security leaders needs to involve: close engagement with stakeholders; avoiding silos; setting up meaningful partnerships; and crucially understanding the mindsets of CEOs.

Don Randall highlights the benefits of security leaders being business people with policing knowledge, echoing too the point about working for the police being different than being involved in commercial security. Leaders, he argues, need to be conscious of business priorities and you will witness him discussing concepts such as multifunctionality, convergence, threat intelligence, incentivisation (of suppliers), and resilience. Key soft skills he mentions are common sense as well as business sense.

Clearly there is more progress that the security sector needs to make in being recognised as a truly professionalised essential business function. It is on a journey and there is scope for leaders to push the case more and show how others can do so more effectively. It gets a rough ride at times, but the examples of good practice provide a reference pout for how good could it can be, just as bad practices highlight the opposite. That too needs to be a focus.