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For non Spanish speaking, the translation is below.
Translation of Con Seguridad program on Radio Caracas, 6 June 2020, Alfredo Yuncoza interviewing Michael Gips
Totally by chance. I served as a legal clerk to a New Jersey State Supreme Court Justice. During my year there I was responsible for death penalty cases. Then I moved to Washington to be a commercial litigator, and it bored me. It was awful. I left that gig and started writing freelance articles about crime, justice, and security. Then, I got a job with ASIS International as an editor and writer for Security Management magazine. At ASIS I went on to develop the CSO Roundtable and work with many security executives, and I eventually also became responsible for education, standards and guidelines, the magazine, certification, and other areas. I now have my own company that creates security content, performs business development, and provides thought leadership.
First I want to thank Julio Fumagalli Macrae, CPP, the president, who introduced me to this impressive group.
Our mission is to gather knowledge from technology experts, identify innovations and create first-hand experiences that provide best-in-class security and safety practices around the world. On their behalf, I am developing a stream of knowledge, such as articles, white papers, case studies, and more, in addition to partnering with other groups around the world, such as ASIS, SIA, OSAC, etc.
Let’s assume you have experience with physical security. In that case, there are four key competencies that you need: First, risk must be understood in its varied forms, that is, risk must be mastered. Second, you have to have soft skills, emotional intelligence to communicate well and ability to express empathy. Third, cybersecurity must be understood. I’m not talking about arcane issues like Sybil attacks or hash functions, but basic principles, so that you can collaborate effectively and knowledgealy. Finally, you have to understand how the organization makes a profit, so that you can serve as a trusted advisor and communicate with executives in terms that they understand, such as profit margins.
I think we should always update our training. The problem is that it costs time and money. Today we need to focus on how to listen and have empathy—understanding people’s psychology during a pandemic, global recession, and civil rights demonstrations that sometimes become violent. Finally, with the pandemic there is a new emphasis on safety and hygiene issues, and security has to get up to speed there and continue to learn. The world isn’t standing still.
First of all, needless to say, Paul Krugman knows a lot more than I do about the economy. Be that as it may, however, I’m not sure he’s right. If the world is becoming much less integrated, the reason isn’t Covid but rampant nationalism and isolation of countries by the likes of President Trump and the leaders of Brazil, India, Hungary, the Philippines, and other countries. The globe is balkanizing. Those phenomena are having impacts on the security industry. We already see companies turning insular, condemning anything seen as foreign; consider the western backlash against Chinese companies and the reduction in outsourcing to countries where there are perceived enemies. Nations are turning inward. It’s part of a historical cycle.
I hope not, but I’m not sure. We’ve already seen a steady erosion of privacy. We you and I, remember when CCTV was controversial. And then facial recognition became the ominous Big Brother. Now that’s largely a memory. But you’re right about privacy implications during Covid. We use infrared cameras to take staff temperatures to make sure people aren’t sick. Because we’ve tacitly agreed that community health is more important than personal privacy. And that’s not unreasonable. But it’s a slippery slope—when will we get to the point where there is nothing less important than personal privacy?
A difficult but important question. In short, I think these groups have existed on the margins for quite a while but resonate with people today because of the divisive political rhetoric that is saturating the United States. During an era of deep distrust and acute social ruptures, America is leading with caustic rhetoric rather than with healing words. I hope that these groups return to the margins and disappear. But rather than disappear, they will probably morph.
I have a personal example of how these movements can lay dormant. There is a very nice man who comes to my house twice a year to maintain my heating and air conditioning system. We chat amiably, and he is a great worker. In one case, he helped me fix a broken ladder to my attic..
So a good man. But on one occasion, during the Trump impeachment hubbub, we talked about politics, and President Trump, and he told me that he is part of a group that is ready to mobilize and descend on Washington with weapons if Trump were to be found guilty and removed from office. He also told me of another of his clients, an elderly couple with whom he has a genial relationship. They know his politics and lightly mock his support of President Trump. So I asked him, if this elderly, unarmed couple tried to stop you from mobilizing, would you shoot them? And he answered: “In a heartbeat.” I think that’s pretty scary.
First, companies have to embrace the principles of anti-corruption themselves. For example, commit to an anti-corruption program ‘From Above’. Then create and act on a plan, then monitor controls and progress, and report internally and externally on the program. With their own house “in order,” these countries can work to pass stricter laws and enforce them.
They’re already doing just that! Here’s an example. I do work for the ASIS Foundation, documenting how companies from various sectors and geographies are managing the pandemic. In many cases they have acted without much guidance from states or other institutions. They are coming up with it by themselves, with ad hoc partners, and through studying emerging best practices. Moreover, companies have the moral duty of care for their people, and many are exceeding the government’s recommendations, for example by letting workers stay at home, or offering masks, or staggering worker shift times. They’re filling the leadership gap.
In my opinion, most large organizations do not understand what protection leaders actually do or can do. They expect them to limit losses, prevent attacks, and all on a small budget. Actually, they can do so much more. Protect the brand, conduct due diligence investigations on potential partners, and create value for shareholders. And that’s just the beginning. But most business leaders still perceive their security team as corporate police. We have to change that perception.
There are many similarities. More than there are differences. For example, with global organizations, you have to understand the “global footprint” of the company. Protect the global supply chain, understand how to work with and manage staff from various regions and cultures, stay up-to-date on best practices, have the ability to communicate and have emotional intelligence, a focus on risk, broadly understand new technology, etc.
With transparency, integrity, honesty and compassion. And with one eye on the bottom line. And with a lot of resolve and determination. The most important aspect, I think, is to lead by example. The best way to lead is to inspire.
That’s a very profound comment, but then again, he’s a philosopher, and that’s what they do! To answer the two questions: yes, and yes. Countless research demonstrates how collaboration and teamwork is superior to those environments in which everyone works alone. Otherwise, you develop an adversarial and hostile culture. That may work in some environments, but those are exceptions.
Fear is incredibly powerful. Perhaps the most embedded trait since man roamed the ancient savannahs. We have to communicate honestly. Be visible and available to your people. Inspire confidence with integrity. Leaders need to understand that fear can be harnessed, and their energy can be focused to bring out the best in their teams and businesses.
I’m enmeshed in million things. And I’m very grateful to be on this wonderful and esteemed program. I write an article every month on leadership for Security magazine. The ASIS Foundation is about to launch a study I wrote about blockchain and security. I often conduct webinars and podcasts and other content for clients. But the most exciting thing is that I’m developing a cross-referenced incident-based knowledgebase on the insider threat with a partner. My partner, Lou Mizell, was part of the American intelligence community and served all over the world. The guy is a force of nature! In fact, we are giving a webinar on the insider threat this week.
This gringo considers himself Latino in soul and spirit! The leaders in this region are as good as they are anywhere in the rest of the world. Don’t doubt yourselves. And I can tell you that your skills and your language and your skills are in high demand by multinational corporations. This region is bubbling over with talent.