So how have I answered that question in the past? I’ve tried the formal route: “I’m a consultant that specializes in Security Management, Risk Management and Emergency Management” Usually followed by the next question of, so what really is all that? Then I of course would dive in to explain each segment of my statement.
So I changed it up. “I save companies time, money, liability, I inconvenience some but hopefully help to save lives” Well that peaked the interest of many. The money and liability statement peaked the interest of the business crowd whilst the saving lives peaked everyone’s interest.
I was at a personal engagement and amongst the various conversations about this and that, that were totally unrelated to anyone’s work, I made a slightly humorous comment about doing one thing so that we can accomplish another and the gentleman said “…and that from a security guy…trying to figure out all the angles…” and then he said this “…it’s like knowing where the puck is going to be” A wow went off in my head.
You see, as a much younger person I was quite heavily into organized sports, especially hockey and I played defence. In fact I played right defence but shot left. Another story for another time. But to be a good hockey player you need to anticipate where the puck is going to be. So either you can intercept it from an opponent or accept a pass from a teammate, or block the shot, or be able to take that winning goal shot.
Much of what I do is trying to figure out what is going to happen, how best to get it done, how people are going to react and what is the best way to get them to do what they need to do. Anticipating where the puck is going is a skill set that I discovered and honed whilst playing hockey. Bobby Orr was one of my childhood idles and in my opinion was one of the greatest hockey players that did just that. That made him a great defenceman.
But I had another recent related experience while at Spanish class. Yes I took a conversation Spanish class in hopes to learn another language a little better than I know it now. Anyways, it was a conversation with my Spanish instructor in how she delivers her lessons. She hopes not to blow through content and would rather her students learn and understand the structure of the language rather than just learning how to say words, whilst not understanding the basics and having a base to build from Which of course, you guessed it, reminded me of when I was again a younger man learning weightlifting. For the first month my weightlifting coach (Charlie Arnett – great guy, huge, but the kindness and one of the most gentle hearted men I know) only allowed me to lift a broom stick for the first month of training. What! The basics and techniques needed to be learned first before he would let me move on to anything else
So what does Spanish and weightlifting have to do with this? Back to what I do as a profession…I review what your company, organization have in place and I take the basics (known best practices and standards) and I apply them to what your company, organization has ( or even create new), overlaying the knowledge of where the company, organization is, what your business does, and what your needs are. Put that all into either your Security procedures, your Emergency preparedness training or your Emergency Response Plans.
I assist your company, organization in figuring out what it’s broom stick is, what will be it’s foundation. All the while listening, writing, reviewing, coaching, and delivering the company, organization a product that will then allow your company, organization to work with it and begin to see where the puck is going to be.
Plan the Work (creating the broom stick foundation). Work the Plan (learning and honing the skills to see where the puck is going to be)