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Can we keep up with the changing times?

Changes in the world are increasing our responsibilities and challenging our competence as security directors. To fulfill these responsibilities and meet these challenges, we must learn skills for our expanded roles. Realistically, the only way we can survive is by adapting to those changes.

In the past, security directors were generalists. However, in the 1990s being a generalist is not sufficient. Companies demand more from us. To keep pace with these demands, we have to enhance our talents and knowledge.

The key to our future success as security professionals can be summarized by three words: education, education, and education. In addition, the security profession needs a long-term vision that uses history and culture as training support.

We are not experts in technology, the environment, or the law, nor are we expected to be. However, security professionals must not only protect life and property but also prevent threatening acts. To meet these responsibilities, we must have some knowledge in other fields.

As in a security survey, we must first start by conducting a thorough needs analysis of ourselves. This analysis can identify important areas in which we lack knowledge. We should be prepared to list all our vulnerabilities, which include those topics that we need to know more about.

Improving our legal knowledge is a good first step since we are the liaisons to company lawyers in may legal cases. If we understand the basic principles of laws and legislation, we can make better contributions when helping to handle liability claims against employers.

In the past, the security professions's vulnerabilities have shown up in the public's eye. We as security professionals should also work to restore the public's confidence in the profession. We need to be personally responsible for educating the public about our knowledge.

The public confidence crisis has consistently haunted security directors because the issues have not been adequately explained. We should use our skills and knowledge not only to interpret issues but also to explain them to others.

Another way to meet the challenges in our new roles is to speak at industry meetings, high schools, universities, and to other audiences. This will help educate other groups that are unfamiliar with the security profession.

We should know enough about other disciplines so that we can effectively communicate with practitioners in fields, such as law, accounting, auditing, statistics, public administration, social environment, and finance. From each of these disciplines, we must extract those elements that are germane to our needs.

In security, as in so many other fields today, the educated person is not someone who claims to know it all but rather someone who knows where to find it all. Knowing where to turn - where to find information, whom to call, and what to read - is important in meeting the challenges ahead. In addition, we as security professionals should keep up with current events in security management, particular related industries, and in the economy as a whole.

Addressing the challenging changes ahead is the key to our role as successful security professionals. We can do it by educating ourselves and those around us to the expanding role and importance of the security profession. Most of us view security management as a promising career. Thus, it is our responsibility to ensure that the profession meets the future needs of the decade.

Mark H. Beaudry is director of safety and security at The Westin Hotel In Boston. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:security management
Author:Beaudry, Mark H.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Column
Date:May 1, 1992
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