What is the Role of an Executive Protection Agent? Separating Fact from Fiction
While it helps to sell tickets, Hollywood’s portrayal of security agents as musclebound, intimidating, and often reckless, reinforces a stereotype that bears little resemblance to real life. Yet it’s only natural for the movie-going public to believe some of what they see on the big screen. In order for executives to understand the benefits they receive when accompanied by a highly trained executive security professional, we must separate fact from fiction. To that end, here are some of commonly held misconceptions stemming from Hollywood’s take on executive security that we’d like to dispel.
Misconception: “I don’t need executive protection. I’m not famous.”
Reality: Today’s executive protection agent does much more than prevent physical attacks against those in the public eye. In addition to possessing the skills to confront a would-be attacker, agents help executives avoid embarrassment, by ensuring they arrive on time to every event on their calendar, or survive a serious medical event such as a heart attack or a stroke by administering life-saving medical attention long before an ambulance arrives.
Misconception: “Bodyguards always attract unwanted attention.”
Reality: The popular image of a physically intimidating individual in an ill-fitting suit may have a strong hold on the public’s mind, yet, the reality is that security professionals do not stand out in a crowd – and that’s by design. In fact, if they advertise their presence, they provide potential attackers with a complete picture of the security measures they must overcome to kidnap an executive or a member of their family, for example.
Misconception: “I’m a private person and don’t want others hanging around.”
Reality: Engaging an executive security professional does not mean that an executive must give up their right to privacy. While security professionals need access to certain parts of an executive’s life, many aspects can remain private, or shared on a need to know basis, and only in sufficient detail to protect the executive from probable threats.
Misconception: “My family doesn’t approve. It scares them to think we need protection.”
Reality: Executives should recognize that despite their family’s lack of comfort with the idea, threats do exist and trying to ignore them does nothing to eliminate them. Conversely, acknowledging that threats exist and taking concrete steps to mitigate the risk can eventually help lessen resistance from an executive’s family members.
Misconception: “I can take care of myself. I don’t need help.”
Reality: Many of the personality traits that executives need to succeed such as independence and confidence can lead them to overestimate their ability to respond to the threats they face. In fact, from time to time, everyone overestimates their capabilities and makes mistakes. Hiring an agent allows an executive to focus all of their attention on business, while the agent assumes responsibility for ensuring their safety and security.
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