Nannyguards has been selected by the Leaders Network team at Meta

We are very happy and quite proud to announce that Nannyguards has been selected by the Leaders Network team at Meta to showcase our success story. It has been a tough road and many long hours since the very first day Nannyguards was created and we feel extremely blessed to share our work and heartfelt passion with some amazing professionals who have since joined our team. Dr. Mary Beth Wilkas Janke (Psychology), JD Elkin (Cyber Security Awareness), Kelly Sayre (Situational Awareness) and Chris Grow.

Want to learn more about Nannyguards? Visit www.nannyguards.com

The importance of educating Security Personnel and Intelligence Analysts about biases

Bias is a topic that many industries like to avoid, and the security and intelligence industries are no exception. However, there is a profound need to discuss biases in regard to the security industry and when educating security practitioners and intelligence analysts. When the subject of biases has been raised in the past, the majority of commentators cannot seem to agree, in fact, they will often argue against the existence of biases and/or why there is a need to discuss them in the first place. In this article, we would like to address the topic of bias – what bias is, who has biases, are biases wrong, and what types of biases there are. Then, we will highlight WHY it is important for security professionals and intelligence analysts to be able to identify their biases and address them, and, then, we will share HOW one can identify his/her biases.

Now before we start, there is one thing on which we can all agree: As a security professional, you don’t only make assessments about incidents or places, but also about people. Keep this in mind as we proceed further, we will come back to it.

What is bias?

To answer this, we will use the definition according to the American Psychological Association

1. partiality: an inclination or predisposition for or against something. See also prejudice.

2. any tendency or preference, such as a response bias or test bias.

3. systematic error arising during sampling, data collection, or data analysis. See biased estimatorbiased sampling.

4. any deviation of a measured or calculated quantity from its actual (true) value, such that the measurement or calculation is unrepresentative of the item of interest. —biased adj.

There are a few key words from the definition — predisposition, against, tendency, preference”. Keep those words in mind when thinking about how they affect the threat assessment of a security professional. While you do that, think of a scenario when a security guard has to assess, either by observation or by interviews, any visitors in the area for which he/she is responsible. That security guard believes that women are less likely to commit a crime (bias) and, during his/her threat assessment, he/she misses the fine details that a woman is, in all actuality, a terrorist. You think perhaps this couldn’t occur? Well, it has actually happened. In July 2017 in Mosul, a female suicide bomber, holding her child in her arms, managed to walk by security guards and detonate her bomb.

No alt text provided for this image

The security guards, instead of being observational and watching her hands (in which she was holding the detonator), just saw a mother with her child. Many people see women as weak and incapable of committing acts of terror, especially one who is carrying her own child. This is not the only incident when ‘’miscalculation of threat or of threat actors’’ was catastrophic.

(A woman suicide bomber walks past soldiers, the trigger in her right hand (Al-Mawsleya TV)

Do all people have biases?

Before we answer that, ask yourself, “Are there people, things, or ideas you like better than others? Are there places/events where you feel more comfortable than others?” We are sure your answer to these questions is “yes” and that is because all humans have biases. Some biases are passed to us through evolution and some are learned through socialization and/or direct experience. One must understand that biases serve a purpose. Simply put, because the human brain has the tendency to categorize information, people, events, experiences, etc. during his/her learning and development process, the brain will connect the new information and people to past experiences. Once that is done, the brain will respond to it in the same way it does to other things belonging to that same category. So, by putting people with similar traits into a specific category, one believes that everyone else in that category must be the same. Biases are not limited to race, gender, ethnicity, religion, social or political groups but many characteristics may be subjected to one’s biases such as physical appearance, sexual orientation, educational level, profession, etc.

Are biases wrong and racist?

When discussed, the majority of people tend to disregard biases, believing that even acknowledging those biases will label them as racists. The first mistake when talking about biases is when someone considers someone else good or bad based on his/her biases.

According to Matt Grawitch, PhD ‘’Biases make decision-making easier by giving us a starting point, an initial prediction, or a “leaning of the mind” regarding which choice to make. We anchor our original judgment in the biased conclusion and then adjust it based on supplemental information.’’

Having biases is not necessarily bad, wrong, or racist. In fact, we’ve discussed that biases improve the decision-making process and help the human brain to categorize new information. We could say that since biases help us simplify information processing, they basically function as rules of thumb that help us make sense of what is happening around us and make faster decisions.

However, biases can become bad and even dangerous when we treat or judge someone unfairly or when the accuracy of the decision is of the utmost importance, such as behaviour or threat assessment. In addition, what can make a bias shift from ok to “bad” is when an individual allows their biases to influence their decision-making process in such a way that they allow those biases to affect someone else in a negative fashion by either being unfair or causing a miscalculation in the threat level.

Not being able to recognize and address our biases can lead to neglecting or discounting information that would be valuable for our job functions. Information that we process and use to make decisions can directly affect a risk/threat and vulnerability assessment, an interview with a suspect, the analysis of intelligence and data, or the use of link analysis in putting together an intelligence report. In these situations, biases can become a systematic thinking error that can cloud our judgment, and, as a result, impact our decisions, thus rendering our final product limited or even useless. 

What types of biases do people have?

People can have conscious biases (biased attitudes toward specific ideologies, events, groups of people, etc. that we are aware of) or unconscious biases (biases we are not aware of, cannot control, are difficult to access and can quite often influence our actions more than conscious biases).

In one of her articles, Kendra Cherry mentions that ‘’some of our cognitive biases are related to memory. The way you remember an event may be biased for a number of reasons and, that in turn, can lead to biased thinking and decision-making. Other cognitive biases might be related to problems with attention. Since attention is a limited resource, people have to be selective about what they pay attention to in the world around them.’’

If you are aware of a biased attitude, it is more likely and consciously possible for you to be able to address it during your decision-making process. However, the unconscious biases are the most ‘’dangerous” ones since it often takes specific training and study of yourself to be able to identify that you have them. Here, Carly Hallman is listing 50 types of unconscious biases. Have a look and see how one or more of them can affect your decision-making process.

  1. Fundamental Attribution Error: We judge others on their personality or fundamental character, but we judge ourselves on the situation.
  2. Self-Serving Bias: Our failures are situational, but our successes are our responsibility.
  3. In-Group Favoritism: We favor people who are in our in-group as opposed to an out-group.
  4. Bandwagon Effect: Ideas, fads, and beliefs grow as more people adopt them.
  5. Groupthink: Due to a desire for conformity and harmony in the group, we make irrational decisions, often to minimize conflict.
  6. Halo Effect: If you see a person as having a positive trait, that positive impression will spill over into their other traits. (This also works for negative traits.)
  7. Moral Luck: Better moral standing happens due to a positive outcome; worse moral standing happens due to a negative outcome.
  8. False Consensus: We believe more people agree with us than is actually the case.
  9. Curse of Knowledge: Once we know something, we assume everyone else knows it, too.
  10. Spotlight Effect: We overestimate how much people are paying attention to our behavior and appearance.
  11. Availability Heuristic: We rely on immediate examples that come to mind while making judgments.
  12. Defensive Attribution: As a witness who secretly fears being vulnerable to a serious mishap, we will blame the victim less if we relate to the victim.
  13. Just-World Hypothesis: We tend to believe the world is just; therefore, we assume acts of injustice are deserved.
  14. Naïve Realism: We believe that we observe objective reality and that other people are irrational, uninformed, or biased.
  15. Naïve Cynicism: We believe that we observe objective reality and that other people have a higher egocentric bias than they actually do in their intentions/actions.
  16. Forer Effect (aka Barnum Effect): We easily attribute our personalities to vague statements, even if they can apply to a wide range of people.
  17. Dunning-Kruger Effect: The less you know, the more confident you are. The more you know, the less confident you are.
  18. Anchoring: We rely heavily on the first piece of information introduced when making decisions.
  19. Automation Bias: We rely on automated systems, sometimes trusting too much in the automated correction of actually correct decisions.
  20. Google Effect (aka Digital Amnesia): We tend to forget information that’s easily looked up in search engines.
  21. Reactance: We do the opposite of what we’re told, especially when we perceive threats to personal freedoms.
  22. Confirmation Bias: We tend to find and remember information that confirms our perceptions.
  23. Backfire Effect: Disproving evidence sometimes has the unwarranted effect of confirming our beliefs.
  24. Third-Person Effect: We believe that others are more affected by mass media consumption than we ourselves are.
  25. Belief Bias: We judge an argument’s strength not by how strongly it supports the conclusion but how plausible the conclusion is in our own minds.
  26. Availability Cascade: Tied to our need for social acceptance, collective beliefs gain more plausibility through public repetition.
  27. Declinism: We tend to romanticize the past and view the future negatively, believing that societies/institutions are by and large in decline.
  28. Status Quo Bias: We tend to prefer things to stay the same; changes from the baseline are considered to be a loss.
  29. Sunk Cost Fallacy (aka Escalation of Commitment): We invest more in things that have cost us something rather than altering our investments, even if we face negative outcomes.
  30. Gambler’s Fallacy: We think future possibilities are affected by past events.
  31. Zero-Risk Bias: We prefer to reduce small risks to zero, even if we can reduce more risk overall with another option.
  32. Framing Effect: We often draw different conclusions from the same information depending on how it’s presented.
  33. Stereotyping: We adopt generalized beliefs that members of a group will have certain characteristics, despite not having information about the individual.
  34. Outgroup Homogeneity Bias: We perceive out-group members as homogeneous and our own in-groups as more diverse.
  35. Authority Bias: We trust and are more often influenced by the opinions of authority figures.
  36. Placebo Effect: If we believe a treatment will work, it often will have a small physiological effect.
  37. Survivorship Bias: We tend to focus on those things that survived a process and overlook ones that failed.
  38. Tachypsychia: Our perceptions of time shift depending on trauma, drug use, and physical exertion.
  39. Law of Triviality (aka “Bike-Shedding”): We give disproportionate weight to trivial issues, often while avoiding more complex issues.
  40. Zeigarnik Effect: We remember incomplete tasks more than completed ones.
  41. IKEA Effect: We place higher value on things we partially created ourselves.
  42. Ben Franklin Effect: We like doing favors; we are more likely to do another favor for someone if we’ve already done a favor for them than if we had received a favor from that person.
  43. Bystander Effect: The more other people are around, the less likely we are to help a victim.
  44. Suggestibility: We, especially children, sometimes mistake ideas suggested by a questioner for memories.
  45. False Memory: We mistake imagination for real memories.
  46. Cryptomnesia: We mistake real memories for imagination.
  47. Clustering Illusion: We find patterns and “clusters” in random data.
  48. Pessimism Bias: We sometimes overestimate the likelihood of bad outcomes.
  49. Optimism Bias: We sometimes are over-optimistic about good outcomes.
  50. Blind Spot Bias: We don’t think we have bias, and we see it on others more than ourselves.

WHY security professionals and intelligence analysts must address bias training?

As a security professional or intelligence analyst, seeing what biases are and how they can significantly affect us, do you see how important it is to recognize and address them during the decision-making process? Do you see how biases can affect your risk and threat assessment, information gathering and analysis as well as behavioural assessment while you are conducting a first interview with a visitor, suspicious person, etc.?

We will give you an example. During the Manchester arena attack investigation, one of the security guards claimed that he did feel something was “off” with one of the terrorists but he was uncertain of how to approach and ask questions (first interview of a suspect) because he was afraid he was going to be labelled a “racist’’.

Being trained in how to recognize and address your biases will not only help you to make a better decision but will also give you peace of mind and confidence knowing that you are approaching and properly interviewing a person whose presence seems to be unjustified and/or suspicious. You will be able to clearly gather more information and assess the risk without feeling that you are merely racially profiling that person. You will also build more awareness of the subjects with which you hold biases and that awareness will lead to more choices. More choices will lead to a more ‘’open mind’’ and allow you to seek further information before you make a decision.

In connection to why biases and the training on them are important and related to the security industry, we must mention here Richard Gasaway, Ph.D, the creator of the Center for the Advancement of Situational Awareness and Decision making, has highlighted the fact that ‘’Confirmation bias is particularly challenging to situational awareness because it can prohibit the uptake of critical clues and cues that can foretell impending doom.’’

Now that we have discussed the many aspects of biases, what they are and how they can affect your decision-making process do you want to test yourself and find out what biases you have? You can use one of the many online tests available, the Implicit Association Test (IAT) created by Harvard.

This will help you assess and better identify all that biases you or your staff may have that can affect risk and threat assessments as well as intelligence gathering and analysis. In addition, your staff’s performance and how they interact with others to make sure their decision making will be as accurate as can be ascertained from the information provided and not just from their own personal biases.

If you are an individual interested in receiving training in biases or you represent an organization looking to train your employees in this very much needed and important topic, please reach out to us.

Chris Grow

AUS Global Special Services Travel Team

Managing Partner LeMareschal LLC

Denida Zinxhiria Grow

Founder & CEO

Athena Worldwide & Nannyguards

Managing Partner LeMareschal LLC

SECURITY RESPONSE TO GLOBAL CRISIS, a Conference Sponsored by Executive Security International and Executive Protection Institute

For all professionals working in Security Industry you don’t want to miss this opportunity: Two of the most well known internationally Security Training Providers,  Executive Security International and Executive Protection Institute are joining their efforts to offer an epic Conference that will take place in Las Vegas, from November 30 to December 2, 2012.

The 2012 Conference is a historic alliance of the two largest executive protection membership alumni associations in the country: Executive Security International’s ESI Alumni Association and Executive Protection Institute’s Nine Lives Association. The top two Executive Protection schools in America have joined together to co-sponsor this annual conference. ESI is the host of the conference in 2012 and EPI will host the conference in 2013, alternating hosts thereafter.

A TIMELY THEME

The Associations of Nine Lives and ESI Alumni have selected a conference theme that focus on contemporary critical issues:

Security Response to a Global Crisis

Core Topics:

Corporate Response to Internet Vulnerabilities

Keynote Speaker: Cynthia Hetherington, Founder of Hetherington Group,

Cynthia Hetherington, has been working with private investigators, security specialists and law enforcement professionals since 1993. A widely published author, Cynthia authored Business Background Investigations and co-authored The Manual to Online Public Records. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Internet & Online Intelligence Newsletter, and she is recognized for providing corporate security officials, military intelligence units, and federal, state and local agencies with training on online intelligence practices.

Data about your client, members of their family, business partners reside on the Internet. Everything about their world is readily available, including street level and satellite images of their residences, credit records, physical and intellectual assets. Some of the information is loosely posted on social media – Facebook, Small World, My Space, Linked-in and others that can be mined for images, schools attended and work places can be located and placed under surveillance.

This workshop will teach attendees how to find this information and steps to removing it as an essential to protecting your clients from unwanted exposure and inappropriate contact.

*Early registrants to the conference will receive a free copy of Hetherington’s book, “Business Background Investigations”

Corporate Crisis Management

Multi-national corporations confront the whole range of challenges from natural disasters to active shooters on property, stalkers of employees and executives, and kidnap & ransom policies in foreign environments. The conference will have representatives from major corporations to discuss these pressing issues.

Speaker: Peter Dordal J, Senior Vice President, Garda World

Emcee for Corporate Crisis Management Forum and Panel

Pete DordalPete Dordal began his career with 8 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Beirut, Lebanon with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion and then at Quantico as a combat skills instructor. He has a degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of over 25 formal military, law enforcement and security training courses. Pete graduated from ESI in 1984 while still in the Force Recon Unit, and Pete is the principal advisor and consultant on ESI’s PSD Protective Operations training program.

Mr. Dordal began his private security career with Vance International, which Garda acquired in 2006, where he served as executive protection team leader for a Middle Eastern ambassador to the U.S. and trained the Saudi Arabian Secret Service in advanced protection techniques. During the first Gulf War he went to Saudi Arabia to train that country’s Secret Service in advanced protection techniques.

Pete is Senior Vice President of Garda World, the Consulting and Investigation / Global Risks Group of Garda World Security Corporation. In his position, he is responsible for the delivery of security services to a variety of government and commercial clients in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Speaker: Filippo Marino, Director, Executive Protection & Intelligence | McDonald’s Corporation

Crisis Management in the Age of Global, Real-Time Communication:

We will first revisit the core principles of successful crisis management practices and the organizational features that contribute to resilient, global enterprises. The second portion will focus on how these practices have had to – or should – evolve to address dramatic changes in the media and Information & Communication Technology (ICT), and specifically why Executive Protection holds increasing relevance and influence in this arena.

Filippo Marino is responsible for the design and execution of McDonald’s Executive Protection efforts impacting senior corporate leaders and other at-risk personnel, and for shaping global best practices. Additionally, Filippo leads corporate initiatives in the areas of Global Risk and Early Warning intelligence, Crisis Management, Workplace Violence Prevention, and Major Events’ security. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Filippo’s career in the Risk Mitigation industry started as an officer of the Italian Army and spanned across almost 20 years, many of which as a successful adviser to Fortune 500 companies and High Net-Worth individuals. During his tenure as founder and CEO of Securitydirector, LLC, he lead operations ranging from Open Source Intelligence and Threat Assessments, to Crisis Management and Executive Protection across multiple geographical and cultural boundaries, for some of the largest and most complex organizations in the world. As an author, adviser, and entrepreneur, Filippo has contributed to several process innovations and best practice models for small and large organizations, and security professionals alike. He holds a Magna Cum Laude B. A. degree in Behavioral Sciences, and has obtained multiple certifications in security and protection services. He is a California certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and an accomplished firearms instructor, scuba diver, skydiver, mountaineer, and survivalist. He speaks fluent English, Italian, German and some Spanish.

Speaker: Beth Brown, Manager, Corporate Command Center, Target

Beth Brown is currently the Manager, Corporate Command Center (C3) for Target and has more than ten years of experience as a business and crisis management professional. She has held roles in operations, workforce management, and Target Financial & Retail Services.

Her areas of responsibility include Target’s Corporate Command Center, a 24×7 facility in Minneapolis that monitors Target’s business operations, travelers, and potential disruptions around the world, and leading Target’s cross-organizational response to business disruptions and security incidents.

Speaker: Charles Randolph, Director – Executive Protection & Intelligence, Microsoft Corporation

Charles Randolph has seventeen years of experience in the protective security industry and over 20 years as a military officer has uniquely qualified Chuck to take on a typical day’s work of planning, strategic development, tactical deployment, and management of both a global sized executive protection and an intelligence unit. Having previously been the Director of a protective security company with Fortune 500 clients, Chuck has the experience and insight needed to provide Microsoft with top-level protective and intelligence leadership, and the business acumen for corporate budgets and fiscal matters. He is responsible for both the Executive Protection Team and the Microsoft Intelligence Unit – globally placed teams that produce critical data on which the enterprise relies for making decisions.

Since joining Microsoft in 2000, Chuck has taken on ever-increasing responsibilities and expanded the scope of the services and assets his teams provides the company. Under his leadership he has transformed the executive protective services and intelligence unit to function beyond their traditional roles of body guarding and information provider, tothat of a strategic enabler.

Running Protective Operations in Mexico

Keynote Speaker: Rick Sweeney, President of Secfor International,

Rick oversees all of Secfor International’s (www.secforintrnational.com) training, protective details and recovery investigations. He has been in the security field for 25 years and specializes in high-threat protective operations, spending much of his career leading security teams in places like Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Iraq, and for the last 5 years, Mexico. When not on detail, Rick teaches security subjects to civilians and Military personnel and has Program-Managed U.S. Government Anti-Terrorist security training programs for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Special Operations Forces. Secfor has been featured on Discovery Channel’s ‘Kidnap and Rescue’ series, as well as in the Washington Post and other journals and publications in the U.S. and Internationally.

Mexico Security Operations

Mexico is a unique and challenging environment to provide protective services. Many believe that their experience in Iraq, Afghanistan, Military, or corporate security positions, may have prepared them for a Mexico posting but, we have found that Mexico is unlike any other environment our experienced staff has worked in. Other high threat working environments may develop certain skill sets that are pertinent to Mexico operations, though the specific threat in this part of Latin America is very unique and may be different than anywhere you may have worked in the past.

Below are topics that will be covered in the seminar. We will cover the types of details you can expect, specific threat to your client and your teams, kidnap mitigation strategies, tricks of the trade directly from our agents in the field, additional training that must be considered when working in this region and practical advance packages that every agent must have before heading south.

Some specific points that Rick Sweeney will cover on operating in Mexico:

  • Why Mexico is a unique operating environment for Executive Protection Specialists?
  • What are the legalities of working security in Mexico – Licensing – Visas
  • What companies are working in Mexico and what they look for in new agents? (What not to put in your resume or CV)
  • Different types of details you are likely to encounter in Mexico
  • Realities of the violence in Mexico – Difference in Northern & Southern Mexico
  • The kidnap threat and current methods
  • Life saving driving tactics operationally proven on the streets of Mexico
  • The firearms question: Who can be armed? Can Contractors work in Mexico?
  • Working with local security forces – The pros and cons
  • Local law enforcement – A double edged sword
  • Communications: Local Mobile phones – US & foreign carriers | Nextels | Black boxes
  • GPS Tracking | Vehicle | Personal tracking devices | The Chip
  • Medical issues: Local capabilities. What medical training, and gear, you should have before working in Mexico?
  • Intelligence: What is reliable and what isn’t? What you’re not being told, CAN hurt you
  • Mission Package preparation: What is it and why you must have it.
  • Surveillance Detection Techniques specific to Mexico. How they will watch you & what you can do about it. Recovery Investigations (Kidnap & Ransom support)

Who Attends the Conference?

The unification of the two largest training academies and their respective associations as the sponsors of the 2012 Conference will provide new opportunities of networking and professional connections. The EPIC-Lifeforce Conference is organized to meet other working professionals face to face.

Talk with your professional contacts from other training schools. We are truly moving this conference into a “come one come all” professional event. We all know highly qualified, professional members of our industry that have not come through the ESI and EPI pipeline and we want them to come and share with us the great training, the networking opportunities, and to meet other alumni – to break bread with our brothers and sisters from around the world.

If you are a newcomer to the field – or an experienced professional looking for new opportunities – or simply interested in the networking opportunities provided by the conference, this is a must event. Many regard the NETWORK event held on Saturday afternoon the most important part of the conference, providing a chance to learn about jobs and the industry companies who employ the professionals.

BRING FRIENDS

We are offering an incentive to Alumni Members who bring two non-members to the conference by reducing Registration fee by $50 for first time attendees. It is a unique and inexpensive opportunity to find out more about the protection field and to talk with professionals who are working in the field or operating their own business.

CORPORATE SPONSORS

The EPIC-Lifeforce Conference actively solicits Corporate Sponsors to offset the cost of Guest Speakers and running the conference. For those sponsors who contribute will receive special recognition before and during the conference and a Free Table at NETWORK. Sponsors can set up a table at the conference and receive honorable mention in all promotional material. We are looking for more. Corporate Sponsorship schedule is the following:

SILVER $500 – GOLD $1,000 – PLATINUM $1,500.

EPI AND ESI PLANNING COMMITTEE

Bob Duggan, President ESI Jerry Heying, Executive Director EPI
Fonda Delcamp, Vice-President ESI Gene Ferrera, EPI Director of Training
Cory Smith, Executive Services, Target Rick Colliver, Eaton Corporation
Barry Wilson, President, Anlance Protection JJ Sutton, President, Foremost Security

CONFERENCE FEES

ESI or EPI ALUMNI ASSOCIATION MEMBER……………….$295.00
NON MEMBER……………..………………………………..……..$350.00
FIRST TIME ATTENDEES DISCOUNT………………………….$50.00
PRE-REGISTRANTS PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1, 2012: Free Copy of Cynthia Hetherington’s book, “Business Background Investigations”.

To register online please visit: http://www.esi-lifeforce.com/alumni-association/alumni-association/conference-registration.html