Security is often an accepted inconvenience in an organization. Employees may not love having to do things like wear a badge on site, enter through one central door rather than whatever door is most convenient, or undergo background checks.
All of those things are slight interruptions to their lives, but they accept all these minor inconveniences for several reasons: because security is necessary, because some security measures make them feel safe, because certain security measures are standard practice, and because certain security measures are so common they’re expected.
That changes when you have to pitch a new layer of security to an organization. How can you convince decision-makers to implement a new risk program that will make a site safer, but may be perceived as more restrictive or inconvenient by employees and management? More importantly, how can you make a cultural shift from seeing security as something a company needs to have, to a proactive culture of risk.
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Best practices for pitching a new risk program
- Acknowledge that there will be resistance (and offer some ways to mitigate it). Changing your culture to be more risk-focused also means the implementation of new security measures as well, and that can ruffle feathers. Employees may not like using a new main entrance, or having to park their cars elsewhere, even if the lot is more secure. They’re likely to complain, and management is certainly not looking forward to that pushback. Start your pitch by acknowledging that people will be upset, but offer some ways to counter it, like offering training, announcing changes well ahead of time, and letting employees provide feedback.
- Show management why the change is necessary. Be very clear about why your security program needs to change. If you’re moving toward a culture of risk, in which security and risk tolerance is as important as other business-side concerns. Show decision makers exactly how the organization is at risk, what the likely fallout would be, and how they can be protected from that threat. Don’t do this in a report, but with a professional visual presentation showing data and statistics your audience will understand.
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- Find a champion. You shouldn’t have to pitch a culture of risk alone. Find someone in upper management who can help you advocate on behalf of security. If you can’t think of a champion who might help, go to the head of the department that generates the most revenue and ask them what their problems are. Tailor your presentation to fixing their problems and protecting the revenue they generate.
- Do a preliminary risk analysis.Your presentation will need to address specific risks, and for that, you’ll need to have completed at least a basic risk analysis so you know what they are, what assets you’re protecting, and how threats can best be prevented. You should also find support from community agencies, like fire and police services, so you’re able to point to best and recommended practices.
- Double-check your standards. Know what’s required of your organization when it comes to security. Know corporate guidelines, industry standards, zoning rules, and the law. You may find that there are conflicts between some of those standards that need to be ironed out — perhaps your corporation requires fencing and zoning rules prohibit fences. You may also find that some standards will help you convince upper management to take a closer look at security.
- Know your budget. There’s no use in asking for risk programs your company can’t afford. Know what budget is available to you, and make your recommendations within that. Be prepared to negotiate to get the risk program the company needs. I have found that if I provide options to choose from, it will go further than just pitching one solution.
Here is an example. If parking around your facility is an issue that needs to be resolved, you can offer three solutions: 1) security officers become deputized and can write parking tickets, 2) You ask for a parking boot for illegally parked cars, 3) You ask for a partnership with a tow company.
Perhaps your solution is a combination of all three. The key is give the final decision maker the options, pros, and cons, to enable the security department to mitigate the issues.
There are also sales tactics you can utilize to help when pitching to decision makers. I know what you are thinking, “How can a sales tactic help me?” The basis is that you are actually selling an idea/solution/need to your company. And one way that has helped me in the corporate world is the: “Good, Better, Best Sales Strategy”. I would suggest watching a few tutorials on YouTube. Trust me, you will be so happy with the results.
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