The Insecurity in Security part 1: The rarest thing of all

The Insecurity in Security - The rarest thing of all part 1

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Tim Wenzel, CPP, Co-Founder and President of The Kindness Games, begins his new and exclusive series “The Insecurity within Security” with SJA on a positive note about embracing confidence within security.

A new time

Happy New Year! 2024 is here and it’s time for your New Year’s Resolution…

It’s from this angle that I’ve planned my Security Journal Americas series for the year: The Insecurity in Security.

I began talking about the Insecurity in Security as a concept in 2017.

During a LinkedIn article series entitled the Audit & Challenge Initiative, I began discussing these factors as I saw them play out in the industry.

Since then, the Insecurity in Security has shown up in most of my industry speaking engagements… and I’ve never had to explain it. Everyone in this industry has experienced it. 

Again or anew

Last year, I mentioned the phrase the “insecurity in security” in Again or anew, the first article in my Crossroads in Leadership series with SJA and my inbox filled with messages about how well this phrase describes so much of the tension we feel each day in this industry.

That six-part series finished up with The fearless leader.

The Crossroads in Leadership series was meant to assist the development of a single person on their leadership journey.

This year, I aim to remake teams, departments and entire security organizations.

This ten-part series will get to the core of the insecurity we feel in relation to the clients and businesses we serve.  

Over my career, I’ve become a fixer. Beginning as a paramedic, I brought lessons and insights back from Iraq to the rural community I worked in and led discussions on how to implement lessons from the battlefield.

As I transitioned into the security industry, I would spend years as a security contractor in Iraq.

This experience culminated in my manager sending me to teams and sites that “he never wanted to hear from again.”

It was here I learned to embody “the calm” that clients are looking for. 

I could identify the root causes of the problems and quickly create plans to bring calm to troubled people and places. 

As I entered the executive protection space in the US, I was puzzled time and again by teams that literally wandered in the dark, because everyone was afraid to ask the principal how things were going or how they wanted to experience their family’s protection.

Then one day I was assigned a security program to assess.

I met with the leaders of this detail, contracted to a Fortune company and I saw the same behaviors I had seen in the women and children that I had evacuated from the grips of domestic violence in the past.

The difference? These men were former police, former SWAT, prior service; all beaten down and abused mentally by corporate security management who were themselves, scared to death to make a mistake… everyone at every level was literally afraid of doing their job – the job of security.

It’s easy to say these are bad people, but as a professional fixer of teams and departments, I’ve spent a lot of time with really good people who allow and perpetuate this insecurity, anxiety and sometimes abuse.

I’ve learned that it’s not usually fueled by malicious intent. It’s something else.

Insecurity in security

The Insecurity in Security is so prevalent that I began to measure it and search out its root causes over the years. 

In 2023, as a member of Kroll’s Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) practice, I wrote their Security Organization Maturity Model.

Fear and anxiety’s role in decision making is measured as a key marker at different levels of the maturity of a security organization within this model.  

In my experience, the rarest thing of all in the security industry, is a team, department or security organization in which fear is not a primary factor in their tactical and strategic decision making.

In the dictionary, security has two primary definitions:

  1. freedom from danger, risk, etc; safety
  2. freedom from care, anxiety or doubt; well-founded confidence

How can we be the agents of calm to the people and organizations we serve when we are often overcome by anxiety, doubt and insecurity ourselves?

This is not impossible. Over the last several years I have built teams and global programs in which the Insecurity in Security was engineered out. 

These teams did not feel anxious. Fear had no ability to become a factor in our decision making because of the clarity we had infused into our programs, operations and procedures.

Try telling a candidate during an interview that within the team they are applying, fear and toxicity are not allowed to exist and won’t be an external factor in their work. They won’t believe you.

In fact, as new members have joined my teams and we’ve reiterated this expectation, we’re often met with skepticism, even distrust.

Would you like your team, department and organization to be among the rarest of all? 

Let’s get to the point where fear and anxiety is banished from your job. 

Let’s unleash teams who are free to conduct their work with clarity, free of fear of the unknown…  

Do you believe it is possible? Then 2024 is your year. Let’s go!

Make sure to keep an eye out for Tim’s next installment in the Insecurity in Security series – coming out 28 February 2024!

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