The challenges of achieving consistency and standardisation in global security operations
Chair: Martin Gill
Pallavi Ade – Geopolitics and Security Risk Analyst, Co-Founder of Asian Pathfinders (India)
Melissa Mack – Director at Witt O’Brien’s (US)
Mike Croll – Global Security Adviser (UK)
Melissa Mack notes that some global companies with regional operations tend to function around an approach where Headquarters takes a strong lead insufficiently nuanced by local input. For effective operations she stresses the importance of establishing the key pillars in the programme which needs to be directly related to the Mission of the company. Interestingly highlights the importance conducting a ‘listening tour’ of stakeholders to better understand the pillars, addressing issues such as: what factors should be business critical? And recognising the importance of local knowledge. Building on the output of the previous webinar she highlights some of the limitations of security leaders with police/military backgrounds. Thinking about what differentiates the delivery of security internationally Melissa refers to regulators, the level of resources and budget devoted to security; and the role and ability of people.
Pallavi Ade also highlights factors that characterise regional differences, and here she refers to: time zones; languages; cultures; regulatory controls; and offence profiles. As she says, organisations need to understand what they are addressing, what it is they are protecting and how this is to be done and these need to be done well and take account of area variations. The roles of security teams are to standardise performance around the world, albeit adapted to local circumstances. You will hear Pallavi highlight the value of international standards not least because they provide a reference point. A final point she makes, following Melissa, is to highlight the importance of people in an effective security approach.
Mike Croll devotes time to understanding why consistency is important and you will hear him discuss the ways in which it contributes to building trust. But it is also about increasing understanding: knowing that a fire alarm is always a bell and not sometimes a buzz is both a case in point and an example. Consistency also makes building a career path easier. Yet security varies. There is an interesting discussion about the role of the Head Office, often viewed (sometimes by itself) as the focal point of wisdom when it only sometimes is. Mike highlights the value of a performance management framework alongside the adoption of international standards, the latter providing a reference guide the former focussed on measuring effectiveness.
This webinar highlights some of the tricky issues that need to be negotiated in order to provide security consistently on a global basis. It is a challenge for many reasons. While the panellists thought standards played a part, they also noted that these were a starting point and not an end in themselves. Good security teams balance a commitment to consistently high performance while recognising regional differences although not all security professionals are up the task. Once again, we hear about the importance of business acumen in our security leaders alongside security knowledge.
27th October 2020