|The Stimulation Piece
"You cannot be serious"
John McEnroe's famous protest to the umpire at Wimbledon might find suitable supporters when we open up our latest challenge. - Can we learn anything from what has been going on in Human Resources (HR)? For those who already term it "Human Remains" - perhaps not. There is of course another, and more successful side. There is clear evidence in some quarters of the value of effective HR.
Good people management can do things like lead to lower mortality rates in hospitals. An organization that increases its investment in HR by 10% can boost gross profit levels by £1500 per employee per year. But however you look at it, having crusaded hard to get a seat at the top table, the last couple of decades has seen too many HR departments, whatever they call themselves, becoming too slow to embrace change and respond to evolutions in business thinking and practice as fresh needs and demands have emerged. While Corporate Security has, by and large, not achieved similar levels of penetration on Boards of Management, efforts to increase presence, influence and effectiveness in C-Suites and above might be aided by thinking about the experiences of HR, and learning valuable lessons from it.
A closer look will reveal a number of things corporate security management should be thinking about. Believe it or not, there are parallels in influence and responsibility, and perceptions from other functions that can put the two in a similar orbit.
HR has been considered to be many things, and one of them can be summed up as "ubiquitous and useless". That's quite a low base, especially in enterprises where the cost-of-doing-business functions are sneered at vs. perceived "value-adding" functions.
HR is often regarded as being process and procedure driven, an admin function that does the drudgery that otherwise would diminish the sparkle of the superstar managers, in other words, they are the messengers with bad news to deliver. They are also seen as not understanding the business of the host company they work in, and their senior people are often not up to the mark to join the others in the C-Suite and above. Such opinions and perspectives may have elements of distortion in them, but they also contain significant amounts of information and feelings, that are based on genuine empirical experience.
The same holds true for many a security function, arguably most - an undesired cost of doing business, disconnected from the core operations, lacking credentials to sit at the high table.
Let's pause for a minute. There are heaps of functions and people all clamouring to be heard and rationalizing why they too should be a respected voice within the Board of Management. There are certainly some exceptional people from such disciplines who might well enjoy accolades from their colleagues for their outstanding contributions, but by and large there are too many fighting a lost cause for attention in a management group with other things it wants to focus on. Take a look at some of HR's troubles and challenges.
HR is often regarded as another "cop" with its own language. It is considered as being defensive, insular and whiny. It is incriminated by senior management people wishing to present themselves as "clean-skins" with imposing long-term pain on those who are meant to be delivering short-term profit. In the process, it is accused of suffocating innovation and slowing down business efficiency. It is the "Go to" fall guy for when things go wrong. It gets worse.
It is regarded as a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules, resists creativity and impedes constructive change. HR people remind the rest of the organisation about inconvenient realities and back it up with the enforcement of rules and the punishment of bad behaviour. Finally, it is seen as experiencing great difficulty transiting to a function that deals intelligently with a sense of business purpose. Are you ready to ask for a transfer into HR as Head of Blame now?
But just hold it for a second. Re-read the last two paragraphs above but substitute Corporate Security for HR. Of course, none of that would apply to you, would it, but we bet you know of others that the charge sheet could be brought against! Of course, some people are trying to address this situation in HR, both in positive ways and not so positive ones. For example, there is a flurry of department and job description re-naming going on that simply confirms the nature and extent of the problem. You could opt for an Orwellian 1984 approach, with a Director of People title, or a US-friendly Chief Talent Officer, or stick with the long-running words, like keeping "Personnel" somewhere in the descriptor.
Start-ups, faced with these identity crises, are abandoning these types of HR operation altogether, recruiting differently, and passing administrative functions like payroll to the finance department and employment legislation issues back to Legal. They don’t have the time or the inclination to listen to people trying to justify or define their existence when extinction is on the horizon. They have wiped out or outsourced what recently was still regarded as a vital in-house function. Outsourced security? Get used to the idea of that coming to meet a developing and evolving market.
Corporate Security needs to understand two things - how close it sometimes is to the dilemmas facing HR, and what should be thought about and done now to move forwards. In the beginning it won't enhance survival if you bring in people from former Armed Forces or Law Enforcement agencies who believe security is somehow above the rather shady layers of stuff that goes on called business. Within an organization, it is going to be a difficult review when, after being tasked with protection you are given no power or access to those who shape the strategies that make a key difference to the business. Yet one challenge here for both HR and Corporate Security is that they don’t necessarily attract people with great strategic strengths or vision. Let's make it even more uncomfortable for a moment.
Imagine that from tomorrow your department is now under the wing of the Design function (and someone like Sir Jonathan Ive, the Design Director of Apple, is your boss). From now on, you are expected to work alongside those who role is to unlock further capability and creativity in people throughout the organization - safely. That's what the top dogs of the organization want. It's where their attention is focused. You probably don't have to fret too much if you are in an organization where management still largely regards people as one commodity among many others, purchasable and disposable as needs change on a quarterly basis. Which type of organization would you be more comfortable in?
There are many different types of corporate culture, and they can be successful in different ways. It is important to find a "fit" between your own goals and values and those of the organization you are in, or wish to be in.
We have just introduced that key word - values. Both HR and Corporate Security functions need, in most cases, to be able to move from a rule-based modus operandi to a values-based one, eradicating clogging procedures and inappropriate cultural baggage along the way. This reflects our own fundamental operating premise, that of trying to "Raise Values and Lower Costs" wherever we can.
Both HR and Corporate Security need to work harder to build a deeper understanding of the businesses they are surrounded by, and might consider an appropriate form of skill-sharing or integration where it makes sense to a metrics driven management looking for incremental value. Many talented people push to be in Finance or Accounting because they see a fast-track path to a seat on the board that way. It is vital to build relationships with these people and their functions, not to be in smug silos and bunkers, so you can get a better grip on analytics, and get closer to being able to understand and then deliver on strategic issues and demands.
The CEO already has a strong partner in the CFO, and together they subscribe to these two major objectives - build and assign talent, and unleash the organisation’s energy. You need to feel comfortable both with these concepts, and an ability to deliver measurable and meaningful results to these key players. One area of growing and sustainable interest is in being principal partners and agents in the areas of trust and ethics, and in many cases, transparency. HR can own this, or Corporate Security, or both, inextricably joined to a CEO who shares the same values.
At Burrill Green we also believe passionately in practices that deliver results that reinforce our core objectives when working with organisations and they are
. . . to create and maintain a secure condition in which people are safe, the business will flourish, the organisation's reputation will be enhanced, and opportunities for improvements can be identified and acted on.
Once again, this means being value driven, not compliance driven. Perhaps your colleagues in HR can benefit from this shift in thinking as well. Whatever, we encourage you to develop a constant watch on your role and function, and how they are perceived by a number of users and audiences and influencers – you need to be a change agent to meet emerging needs, or else you just might be going the way of the old dinosaur - Human Remains indeed.
(This piece drew inspiration from open source debate in the Harvard Business Review, The Times, The Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD)'s Work Magazine and discussions with professionals in each domain).
|Burrill Green Consulting
To streamline efficiency, and to enable our online presence to cross the burgeoning range of platforms of accessibility, we have harmonized all our service divisions under the aegis of Burrill Green, consolidated into one group website.
From now on, all our practices can be easily accessed through this one portal, www.burrillgreen.com. You will no longer be able to access services through our former discrete websites for Security Leadership Recruitment, Analysts for Security, Security Solutions Now, and the Burrill Green Corporate Security Business School.
We believe this move will enhance our ability to serve client needs quickly and easily and early feedback for our fresh approach is very positive.
We welcome into the team three new members - Ewan Duncan, Andrew Jackson and Mustafa Taner:
Congratulations to Bonnie Butlin
We are also delighted to report that our efforts to support and nurture other professionals in corporate security roles produces dividends we are very proud of, as the following piece about Bonnie Butlin, a Canadian citizen, testifies.
Since our launch in 2006, Burrill Green has always sought to encourage diversity in corporate security departments - diversity in respect of gender, age and background. There is no doubt that progress is being made and that security benefits as a result. Our efforts in this regard, which have included a direct written appeal to Chairmen/CEOs of FTSE 100 companies, will continue and will be reflected in our thought leadership, our consultancy service to clients and through our power to lobby.
We can announce that David Burrill's nomination of Bonnie Butlin, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Security Partners' Forum (SPF) and International Coordinator of the Women in Security & Resilience Alliance (WISECRA), resulted in her being named as a winner of the Professional Security Magazine's 2015 Women in Security Awards (Security Manager category). Bonnie is a star player who combines intellectual leadership, pragmatic energy and absolute commitment to all that she does, and she does an enormous amount. Hearty congratulations Bonnie.
David is very happy to take on speaking engagements to any women in security audiences on a no-fee basis.
Our ever-moving Director of Training, John Hedley, flew to Brazil recently to conduct a successful workshop on Crisis management, and below you can see him in his familiar hard-working pose of passing on extensive practical knowledge and wisdom to the delegate group.
Our new Corporate and Cyber Security Executive Masterclass, run in conjunction with our partner MIS, will take place in London from 7-11 December.
Late registrations, up to the evening of Sunday 6 December, can be accepted. Please contact
Chris Clarke on: +44 (0) 7872 576246 or email: CClarke@misti.com
Our first Corporate and Cyber Security Executive Masterclass in 2016 will be held in Copenhagen in conjunction with our partner Praesidio from 7 to 11 March. For more details contact:
Susanne Diemer at email: email@example.com
We continue to develop programmes that combine variations of residential, in-house and distance-learning. One of these is our Country Security Managers' Course that has become the first also to be conducted entirely on a distance learning basis. We were kindly sent this Appraisal by Salvatore Grasso, a successful student currently living in Australia.
"The Burrill Green Country Security Managers' Course teaches managers how security techniques can meaningfully contribute to the achievement of business outcomes. The course instructs students in how contextual expertise and parallel consideration of functional priorities can result in more effectual business processes, cost savings and a safer workforce. I was extremely fortunate to have the course delivered by Tony Judge, who began as my teacher and within a short period also became my mentor.
I will feed what I have learned into my aspirations to assist organisations in both the public and private sectors with transparent, proactive, metric based and cross-functional risk management. To ensure a safer, more stable and more efficient business environment for people and for organisations, I aim to bridge the divide between security in the public and private sectors and encourage a culture of reciprocal learning, synergy and interdependence."
Salvatore, who also has EU citizenship, can be contacted at emaI: firstname.lastname@example.org
We actively help all former students of ours in their career progression whether in current employment or in seeking new positions.
Support to a new University in the UAE
We are now helping a new university in the United Arab Emirates to develop its business courses. Ocean University, in the Emirate of Fujairah, received its license in December 2014 from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and will admit students from September 2016.
David Burrill has been invited to join the university’s International Advisory Panel, composed of experts in the various fields of study planned by the university, and he has enthusiastically accepted the invitation. Other panel members include former Editor of The Independent, Chris Blackhurst, Berlin media lawyer Dr Christoph Wagner, and Mozambique’s High Commissioner in London, His Excellency Carlos dos Santos.
Ocean University CEO Julian Allitt said, "No business today can afford to neglect the issue of security and we want this to be an important thread in our bachelor's and master’s business programmes."
David Burrill commented, "We greatly welcome the opportunity to assist Ocean University to bring an inspired approach to security into its business programmes. The university has the opportunity to bring an intellectually-rigorous yet practical approach to achieving better security for business. That in turn can add value, enhance reputation and improve governance.
It should also highlight the value of partnerships in the field of security between business and the public sector - to the great benefit of both. In short, this relationship offers the prospect of global leadership - intellectual and ultimately pragmatic."
Fujairah, located on the UAE's Indian Ocean coast, is the world's second largest bunkering port after Singapore. It is also a key gas and oil terminal.
|Security Solutions Now
Operational work for Burrill Green has increased over the last quarter. We have been engaged in a fraud investigation on behalf of a customer in northern Europe, assisting our Danish partner company Praesidio.
Mustafa Taner is now operating on our behalf in Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East.
Cesar Tapia is also providing his specialist skills in Central and South America, and a supply chain and marketing survey in South America resulted in a highly satisfactory outcome for a large corporation. We are about to embark on an in-depth anti-counterfeiting operation in that region.
On behalf of another client, we have undertaken some background reference checks in Iran.
Our team member in Bulgaria has been deeply involved in the planning and execution of a large and complex workshop in Europe for a multi-national company. Due to his meticulous planning, the event went off without a hitch, much to the delight of the client.
Burrill Green also been engaged in several business intelligence operations in Eastern Europe over the past few months.
We continue our coverage in Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East, demonstrating our ability to be able to react quickly to situations where companies and individuals need our help and advice.
Our locally based associates react promptly and efficiently to customer needs in local languages and they are in a position to understand the varied and detailed nuances of these regions.
|As we move closer towards the end of another year, our business continues to flourish, a scenario we constantly try to emulate with all our clients. We will introduce further updates and challenges to thinking in our next, 2016, newsletter, and for now,
best regards from
David, Kevin and your whole team at Burrill Green.