Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Security Survey As Part Of A Risk Assessment

security-surveyCompanies face greater and greater challenges every year as they address potential and actual losses from theft, terrorism, and natural disasters.  As the threats have increased, many savvy business managers have begun to come to terms with the consequences of not being proactive in addressing these threats.  A thorough security survey, conducted as part of a larger risk assessment, will be any business manager’s most valued asset when addressing these potential sources of loss.

Prior to beginning a security survey, companies will need to identify and have a clear understanding of exactly what needs to be protected.  The assets that most companies are looking to protect consist of their employees, customers, facilities, and proprietary information.  Because every company is different, the particular threats that each faces will be different and also have varying levels of criticality.


Criticality is a risk management concept that refers to the impact that the loss of a particular asset will have on the business as a whole.  The criticality of any asset should be based on more than just the cost of replacement.  It should also take into account the cost of putting temporary assets in place, cost of downtime, and increases in insurance rates.  The process of defining criticality is usually done during a Business Impact Analysis.

Once the questions of what needs to be protected are answered, a thorough security survey  can be conducted.  The security survey will be the foundation for designing a security plan to address the company’s physical security requirements.

The Security Survey

A security survey is a comprehensive analysis of a company’s premises, systems, and procedures.  There are three primary objectives for performing a security survey:

  • Measuring the security that is currently in place;
  • Identifying and quantifying any weaknesses in the current security plan;
  • Determining the degree of protection required.

After the security survey is complete, there should be enough information to make recommendations for improving the current security program.  Conducting a security survey should only be performed by professionals who have extensive training and experience in performing these surveys.

Again, since no two facilities are the same, no particular survey format will be able to cover every facility type.  We have included a survey (ORC Security Survey v2.0) as an example of what one might look like.


Sample Security Survey

The security survey is great tool that should be part of any company’s security program.  But it should not be confused with the overall risk assessment that company’s should be conducting and/or evaluating regularly.

This post only touches on some of the most basic concepts associated with risk assessments.  Do you have other resources that companies should reference when trying to learn about risk management?  What should companies look for when trying to find professionals to conduct security surveys?  Please leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you.



By Courtney Sparkman

Great Leaders Require A Great Philosophy

great leadersOver the past few weeks I have been thinking about all the things that we want to accomplish here at this year.  Although I know that our customers will love the new features and software that we have in the works, I also know that ultimately our success will depend on great leadership. Having great leaders is an essential requirement for any organization to excel at achieving its goals.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to take a great class on leadership.  The class looked at leadership from a perspective that was unlike most business classes on leadership.  The text for the class was “The Philosophic Consultant” by Dr. Peter Koestenbaum. Dr. Koestenbaum is a professor of philosophy at San Jose State University who has developed a concept called the Leadership Diamond®.  The Leadership Diamond focuses on balancing both bottom-line business results and the innate needs and values of an organization’s employees.  By using the Leadership Diamond  leaders are able to address business challenges with a new understanding of the relationship between the business and the employees. The Leadership Diamond has 4 corners, or orientations, which are the building blocks of Dr. Koestenbaum’s philosophy. These four orientations are Ethics, Vision, Courage, and Reality.



In the context of the diamond, the Ethics orientation represents the importance of people, as well as holding on to one’s integrity.  According to Dr. Koestenbaum, life is about serving people, no exceptions. The ethics of leadership requires great leaders to manage the relationships with their team while also caring about them and being sensitive to their needs.  Great leaders should look at their organizations as one interconnected and interactive whole.

  • Ethics also means valuing your team and seeking to help them develop.
  • Being an ethical leader means committing to genuine and truthful communication with your team.


Courage as it applies to the Leadership Diamond, refers to a leader’s ability to be autonomous, a self-starter, and unshakable in facing business obstacles.  The Courage orientation focuses heavily on recognizing the opportunities presented during anxious times. This orientation also focuses on accepting the fear of being free and the responsibility associated with that freedom.

  • A courageous leader will, if necessary, stand alone.
  • Courage means learning and growing from anxious moments.


The third orientation is Reality. Reality requires that great leaders commit to gathering all the information possible and only acting once they have that information.  The key message of the Reality orientation is avoidance of the temptation to make decisions based on sentimentality or wishful thinking.

  • A realistic leader always attempts to be objective and well-informed.
  • Great leaders seek to understand themselves and their organization’s public image, even though that image may not be accurate.
  • Reality means that great leaders accept and understand that there are forces around them that they cannot control.


The fourth and last corner of the diamond is Vision. Vision means focusing on “Big Picture” thinking. To be a big picture thinker, great leaders have to be more than just intelligent.  Great leaders must also be creative in the way that they find solutions and in the way they plan strategies.

  • A visionary leader builds a culture where imaginative creation of strategies to solve problems is a key part of the organization.
  • A great leader will gauge their organization’s success by the degree to which employees participate in addressing strategic issues.

The Diamond and Great Leaders

By focusing on the Leadership Diamond’s orientations, great leaders will have a foundation for developing a culture of accountability and responsiveness. Many times within a profit driven corporate culture we ignore our inner calling to be true, genuine, and authentic.  When in fact, great leaders must understand that being genuine to yourself and your employees will often lead to making your team more successful and profitable.  I believe that great leaders remember that the bottom line is not either profits OR people, it is profits AND people.

Are you interested in getting a better understanding of your leadership style? If so, Dr. Koestenbaum offers a leadership self-assessment that is intended to help you understand your Leadership profile.

So what are your thoughts on the Leadership Diamond?  Is there a place for philosophy when running a business?  Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.


By Courtney Sparkman

15 Signs That Your Company Is In Trouble

signs that your company is in troubleOne of the fatal flaws that security guard company owners and managers make is working so much IN their businesses that they don’t work ON their businesses.  Being so engrossed in putting out the small fires that you face daily sometimes keeps you from paying attention to the signs that your company is in trouble.  So take a moment to review this list to see if any of these signs ring true for you.

Please note that the list that we compiled focuses on the non-financial warning signs.  I assumed that the financial signs are pretty obvious (i.e. not paying bills on time, not making a profit, etc), while the non-financial signs can be a little more obscure.  Although no one sign on the list guarantees that you are headed for disaster, the more that ring true the more concerned you should be.

Personal Signs That Your Company Is In Trouble

1. You’re not in love with what you do.  If you love what you’re doing , you are more likely to spend the time doing the things that will make you successful.  But if you aren’t in love, the long hours that you devote to trying to be successful will lead to burn out and eventually failure.

2. You don’t take criticism well.  If you are not capable of taking criticism you may be missing huge opportunities to improve your business.  Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you have to do everything that people tell you, but you should at least listen.  Good advice is worth its weight in gold.

3. You don’t delegate. Attempting to do it all yourself limits the the true potential of your company. You should be actively looking for opportunities to delegate tasks to employees who are better at doing them than you.

4. You don’t take risks. In order to be successful sometimes you have to be willing to take a risk and open yourself up to failure.  If you are overly afraid of making mistakes, you run the risk of  becoming so fixated on not failing that your security business ceases to grow.  Taking risks is one of the necessary elements for keeping your company ahead of the curve.

Customer Related Signs That Your Company Is In Trouble

5. You are not continuously communicating with your customers.  Failure to understand your customers’ perceptions of your services can be a death knell for your company.  Communicating with your customers about the service and support that they are receiving will help you see signs that your company is in trouble.

6. Your customers are not recommending you.  The best form of advertising is and will  always be word of mouth marketing by your current customers. If your customers are not recommending you to their colleagues chances are you probably aren’t doing that great of a job. Being able to purchase ads is great, but having customers speaking on your behalf is what really fuels a company’s growth.

7. There is no plan for client retention. Most companies spend a lot of time and energy finding, qualifying, and closing new business.  From my perspective as a sales professional that is GREAT!  But if you don’t have a formal plan to retain them other than making sure their posts are filled, you may be losing more customers than you should.

8. Your customers aren’t willing to meet. If your clients are not willing to meet with you it could be a sign that your company is in trouble.  When customers are frustrated with your service, or  don’t think that meeting with you is a valuable use of their time, you may start getting the cold shoulder.  Sometimes what your client aren’t saying can be just as telling as what they have said.

Cultural Signs That Your Company Is In Trouble

9. You can hear a pin drop. If you walk the halls of your office and there is no sign of liveliness or energy it might be a sign of low employee morale.  Low employee morale can lead to poor productivity, absenteeism, and unnecessarily high turnover.  Low employee morale can also cause a toxic environment that can affect other parts of your business.

10. You have an “Anti-Fan” club. When your company culture does not produce fulfilled and engaged employees, the employees become less likely to contribute to solutions.  It becomes easy for them to point out every flaw within the company which then results in loss of productivity and poor service.

11. There is not a culture of “Yes”.  When employees are quick to say “No” to  colleagues and customers, it becomes impossible to move your company in a positive direction.   Having a “No” attitude shows negativity and negativity breeds negative outcomes.  Fortunately, the same is true for positivity.

Organizational Signs That Your Company Is In Trouble

12. You continue to make the same mistakes.  As I have discussed before, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making mistakes.  Mistakes and failure offer you and your employees an opportunity to learn. But repeatedly making the same mistakes means that there is a HUGE disconnect within your organization and is one of the main signs that your company is in trouble.

13. Failure to take action. If you and your colleagues or employees find yourselves in meeting after meeting with nothing getting done, you are wasting valuable time and resources.  This lack of action may be a sign of fear or lack of delegated authority.

14. There seems to be a lack of direction or goals. When you or your employees are not sure what you should be doing from week to week it is a sign of poor leadership.  When no one is sure of the direction that you are going people will end up rowing in opposite directions.

15. Your company has become complacent. The classic case of a company embracing complacency was Kodak.  When is the last time you bought an instant camera?  Complacency may very well be the precondition for the beginning of all failures. Companies must continue to innovate and raise the bar. If you find yourself talking to your customers and colleagues about the same topics and issues year after year it is time to breathe some new life into your company.  Innovation has always been a catalyst for increases in productivity and business growth.

Are there other signs that you look for when you are trying to determine the health and future of your company?  If so please share them below.


signs that your company is in trouble


By Courtney Sparkman

Use LinkedIn Groups To Become An Expert On Your Customers

expertIn order to be successful in the security guard industry you must truly be an expert on your customers and their needs.  Successful businesses must know their customers as well as they know their own families.  In addition to knowing basic market facts, like size of the market and number of potential customers,  you must also be an expert on each of your individual customers and prospects.  The type of information that you should be collecting includes:

  • Names
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Number of children
  • Hobbies
  • Personal interests
  • Associations they are involved in
  • Magazines they read
  • Wants and wishes
  • Challenges they face

Possessing this depth of knowledge about your customers allows you to deliver the solutions that they need at the right time, place, and price.  There are several methods for gaining this type of knowledge including sending surveys, networking at business events, and leveraging social media.

As social media becomes more ubiquitous, platforms such as LinkedIn have increasingly become the go to tool for becoming an expert on your customers and prospects.  Specifically, LinkedIn Groups are an excellent tool for learning about your prospects and customers.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups were developed to provide a place for professionals to share content, post questions, find answers, and to connect with people with similar interests.  If you are not currently participating in LinkedIn Groups you are missing out on a huge opportunity.  Here are a few tips to maximize using LinkedIn Groups:

  • Join Groups that your customers join – Resist the temptation to just join groups that are specific to your industry, you should be focusing on the groups that your customers are part of.  Take a moment to find several customers or prospects that you would like to connect with.  View their profiles and find out which groups they are part of and join those groups.
  • Don’t use Groups for advertising – Although you are joining these groups to eventually build connections with prospects, avoid using groups to self-promote.  No one in a group wants to see a lot of advertising for your company.
  • Join the maximum number of groups – Currently the maximum number of groups you can join on LinkedIn is 50, so join 50.  Although this might seem like a lot, failing to join all 50 means that you are missing out on news and discussions that help you better understand your customers and prospects.
  • Remain active – Remaining active in the groups is the number one thing that you can do to increase your understanding of your customers.  By remaining active and engaging in discussions you will continue to learn things about customers and prospects that you would not normally have the opportunity to learn.
  • Ask questions – Part of being active in Groups should include asking questions that are compelling, thought-provoking, and relate to your company’s expertise.  By asking questions you will be more equipped to deliver products and services that speak to your clients’ wants and needs.

You’re An Expert…Now What

Now that you have gained a deeper insight into your customers’ needs and wants, it’s time to put that information to use answering questions and providing useful materials.  First, consider speaking at local community events or offering a free webinar for customers or prospects.  As with Groups, don’t use these events as a way to self promote, use them to build your standing as an expert.  You will begin to see that prospects convert to customers at a much higher rate when you are seen as an expert in your niche.

In addition, if you find that customers and prospects are asking the same questions repeatedly consider drafting a white paper or other document for download from your website.  An even better way of sharing your expertise is setting up a blog where you can share your knowledge with others on a routine basis.

Buyers tend to be much savvier these days and do a lot more research about companies before they decide to make a purchase.  By knowing what buyers’ wants and needs are, it is much easier to position yourself as an industry expert.  By doing so, they are more likely to trust your advice and purchase your products and services.

Do you have some expertise that your clients or prospects need?  How are you leveraging your expertise to convert more prospects to clients?  Please leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you.


By Courtney Sparkman