A Day Devoted to Education

Strategic Security
A Day Devoted to Education

​ASIS 2017 kicked off with its first full day devoted to education, featuring sessions on the most pressing priorities and issues for security management professionals.

Attendees had the opportunity to listen to experts share their personal experiences in security, lead deep dives and panels, and gain insights from 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush and entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

Read below about a few of the sessions that the Show Daily team attended throughout the day.

 Change Management

Change management can be challenging, but it is crucial that security leaders who also want to be business leaders know how to apply its principles.

Fifty-four percent of change management efforts in the U.S. workplace succeed—meaning that almost half fail, according to a study by The Katzenbach Center. Effective change leadership needs to be more widespread in the U.S. business world.

Given this, two leadership experts, Bonnie Michelman, CPP, a former ASIS president who is now executive director of security and outside services for Massachusetts General Hospital, and David Gibbs, CPP, principal at Exante360, presented a primer on change management at the education session, "Change Management: Optimizing an Organization's Sanity and Success."

At the session, Gibbs and Michelman reviewed the underlying philosophy, landmines, and cycles of change management. They sketched out the principles of successful change management and how to incorporate them into a strategic plan and employee development program.

The principles of a change manager that the two experts discussed included:

Addressing the human side of the change initiative and the positive effects it will have if successful. "People want to do something important," Michelman said.

Assessing the cultural landscape of every company involved. This is especially true if the change is a merger, and the two companies have very different cultures.

Starting at the top. Leaders at the highest levels should be directly involved.

Involving every layer of the corporation. Any department or organizational level, be it middle managers or frontline workers, can kill change management if they have not bought in.

Making the formal case for the change. Make sure everyone understands the true reasons and why it will be beneficial.

Creating ownership with people invested in the outcome because of their contributions and direct involvement.

Overcommunicating and spelling out exactly what needs to be done and what people's roles are.

Preparing for the unexpected, and having contingency plans if the unexpected does occur.

Being transparent, clear, and honest for the real reasons behind the change, even if that means conceding that previous strategies and plans did not work out.

With these principles in mind, the change leaders should strive for several objectives, including buy-in and involvement by all involved, positive impact, clear communications, and readiness.

The last objective is particularly important; company leaders must ensure that the change does not happen until there is a readiness for it, which comes through proper preparation.

And finally, change managers should make the effort to truly understand the impact the initiative will have on each employee, not just on the company as a whole.

"Walk a mile in the shoes of those who will be changed in this process," Michelman said.

The session was supported by the Healthcare Security Council and the Leadership and Management Practices Council.​

Emergency Response

The ASIS Retail and Loss Prevention Council sponsored an interactive session on emergency response to active shooter situations at retailers, led by Alan Greggo, CPP, regional asset protection manager of Microsoft.

Attendees split up into three groups to discuss how they would approach an active shooter scenario, and it quickly became clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to crisis management for retailers.

While some attendees suggested following the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Run. Hide. Fight. approach to responding to an active shooter, one attendee pointed out that his facility is at the top of a high-rise building and running down 100 flights of stairs is not an option.

"We're all pros at this stuff, but everyone had to think a little bit—there was some debating," Greggo noted after the interactive exercise. "When you're devising a plan, it's really important for everyone to have a say at the table. However, the only person who can make decisions about what to do in the moment is the person right there in the building who's going through it. Most of us looking from the outside in get a phone call and give advice, but every shooting is different."

Greggo walked attendees through several active shooter threats that Microsoft stores have experienced, and attendees joined in by discussing how best practices differed from store to store, whether it was in a mall, a shopping center, or a standalone facility. ​

Latin America

How do you do business in Latin America? A panel of security experts from the region discussed factors to take into consideration, from risks and threats to communication styles and compliance.

Maria Teresa Septien, director, Latin America at AFIMAC Global, is from Mexico; Alfredo Iturriaga, CPP, external security consultant at GNL Quintero South America, is from Chile; and Alex Omar Garrido, CPP, with Grupo Gresinsa, is from Panama.

Iturriaga opened by discussing the threats and risks that come with doing business in Latin America. Beyond the obvious concerns like corruption and organized crime, he listed issues at the root of those problems. Poverty, the inequality gap between rich and poor, and young people who didn't finish school and don't work all lead to bigger problems in Latin America, he explained. Over the past five years, migration has become a problem as well, he noted.

"Three percent of Latinos feel pushed to move away to escape from crime," Iturriaga said. "This specific problem occurs when legislation about immigration is very old. They do not have the legal tools to regulate this problem."

Septien described the unique aspects of Latin American culture that managers need to take into consideration when conducting business with global organizations. She encouraged attendees to study vetted research on international cultural and communication styles to understand how to relate to other countries.

For example, European countries tend to be individualistic and objective when it comes to business, and Asian countries value collectiveness and avoid confrontation.

"Some of the basic traits of Latin Americans are our emotions, the importance of family, and we talk a lot and don't take into consideration timeliness like other cultures," Septien said, to laughter.

Setting expectations with Latin American countries, and being thoughtful about communication methods—not just a potential language barrier but communication styles—will go far to create seamless global alliances.

Garrido went on to list traits of an ideal international business partner, including someone who understands the industry and can be a strategic thinker and confident communicator.