With the Olympics upon us, we thought it would be a great time to talk about winning gold. No, not in sports. While we are active and do a lot of triathlons here at Invictus Consulting, we’re not Olympic-caliber athletes. We mean winning gold in security and protecting your people. Here are some key factors that help both athletes and professionals achieve their goals.
Have a strategy. Athletes need a clear strategy and training program to reach their full potential. Winning gold is the goal, but getting there requires a clear plan. Marathon runners train with a plan that allows them to physically peak at the right moment (i.e., the days of the Olympic competition). In the world of security, you also need a clear strategy to reach your goal. Whether that goal is implementing an anti-bullying policy at your school, securing the perimeter of your campus, or drilling your employees on your Emergency Action Plan, you need to have both a clear goal and a clear path of how to reach that goal. Goals don’t need to be lofty – a goal of having your faculty and and students drill your reunification plan twice in the school year is a fine goal – just choose a goal and make a plan to help you achieve it.
Success is a journey. Olympic athletes don’t wake up one morning and find themselves accidentally competing in the 100-meter dash. Simply earning a spot on the Olympic team, let alone winning a gold medal, is a gargantuan task that takes years to achieve. The success of making it to the Olympics is a journey, not a magic bullet. Every single gold medalist began their chosen sport as a novice and worked their way up to world-class status. Improving your organization’s security is a journey too. Installing 40 new cameras, hiring 4 extra security guards, implementing a mass notification system, and installing access control measures at the entrance to your campus is a noble goal for improving security, but it’s not going to happen overnight. The best plans are thorough and step-wise, where the big picture is there but you also have phases that can be implemented. Maybe this semester you get a mass notification system, next semester you upgrade your cameras, and you hire new security personnel when the budget allows. Don’t throw your hands up because your goal is gargantuan or far away – success is a journey.
Learn from your challenges. Olympic athletes know that failure can be a powerful tool. Instead of throwing in the towel because they didn’t make it over the 6′ high jump, an Olympic athlete will learn from that failure. Was is the stride length? Approach angle? Take-off? Failure is an opportunity to learn what worked and what didn’t. The same is true in risk management. Maybe your goal is to clear the building in less than 3 minutes and yet every drill finds people still in the building after 5 minutes. Drill after drill fails to achieve the goal. This is the time to learn from your failure. Is the time unrealistic? Do people not take the drill seriously? Are there special needs people in the building who need something extra? Success comes when you analyze what does and does not work; don’t waste the opportunity to learn from your challenges or failures.
Be prepared when the time comes. Olympic athletes know that they have to train under the conditions they will face in the event; they need to be prepared when the time comes. Training for a marathon that will take place in the summer months at a location near the equator requires training under hot conditions. Racers who train on cool, dry, flat courses will be in for a shock on a hot, humid, hilly course. Athletes who train alone under quiet conditions may perform poorly when faced with large crowds, lights, and noise. Being prepared when the time comes is equally important in risk management. Writing a reunification plan is great, but unless you’ve drilled it and trained your people on the plan, you won’t truly be ready when the time comes. Writing an extensive Emergency Action Plan to deal with emergencies is great, but what happens when a tragedy strikes, the media shows up, and you have no plan in place with how to deal with the media? Risk management involves planning for all aspects of a crisis, including the time period in the hours, days, and weeks after a crisis.
We want you to be successful in your risk management endeavors. Think about the mindsets above that Olympic athletes employ to win gold in their sports to help you win gold in your organization.