Don’t Call Us Contractors – We’re Entrepreneurs

October 13, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

Getting left of bang is more than a tagline or a point on an attack timeline. It is also a mindset and a pursuit that the professionals who make up our nation’s military, police departments and security companies strive to accomplish. Our goal at The CP Journal is to help these protectors attain that ability by teaching them how to read behavior, but doing that requires that we maintain a specific perspective about our business to support that effort. Even though we work with the government from time to time, we are not contractors. We are entrepreneurs. This might seem like a small difference in wording, but an entrepreneurial mindset means that we define success differently than government contractors, and this has a significant impact on the Tactical Analysis ® program we offer you.

While I was in the military, whether a civilian standing in front of me associated himself or herself as a contractor or an entrepreneur wasn’t a question that I ever asked. I didn’t know that I needed to care. To show how our Continue reading »

A Must Read Article About Mass Shooters

September 18, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

This week, Tom Junod, a writer for Esquire Magazine published an article about mass shootings.  He had the unique opportunity of talking with and getting into the head of a person who made the decision to kill his classmates and understand what drove him to make that choice.

It is a long article, but it is well worth it if you are in the Threat Assessment field. There are always lessons to be learned.

You can find the article here.





Behavioral Analysis in the Civilian World

August 14, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

My background has always been in finance. I know about stock, bonds, mutual funds, insurance and annuities, but when I first started spending time with Patrick Van Horne and learning more about the concepts he was tasked with teaching our nation’s military while he was a Marine, I was fascinated. I loved hearing about how he was working to improve people’s ability to identify threats and act proactively on the intentions of others.  As I began working more closely with Patrick, collaborating with him on how he could turn the programs he’d built into a business, I jumped at the chance to officially become a part of it.  I joined The CP Journal because I believe that the concepts Patrick teaches our nation’s protectors directly correlates to the civilian world, and that people everywhere can greatly benefit from improving their own ability to analyze behavior.

In my time in financial services I successfully transitioned from financial planner to wholesaler to leading a large sales team. I liked the investment world, but what I loved specifically was working with the people. I love learning and development and have a passion for understanding the reasons why people interact with each other the way they do. These are skills that aren’t simply picked up by reading a book or watching a movie.  They are skills that take time to develop by assessing yourself, the people around you, and the environment you are a part of.  I spent the first few years of my professional life making most of my decisions based on what I felt was the right the thing to do.  Fortunately for me, many of the decisions I have made along the way have turned out positively, but I realize now that I wasn’t consciously aware of why exactly I was making these decisions and what would come as a result of them in the near and distant future.

The first time I sat in a room with clients of The CP Journal and watched the group work to understand the concepts of Tactical Analysis, I immediately thought back to my sales training.  I can recall specific instances where I would be seated in front of a potential client, walking them through the fact-finding stages of the meeting, then walked them through all of the features and benefits of an investment idea, and handled all objections to complete the sale.  While the language and terminology may be different in my new context with The CP Journal, the overall concepts are the same.  Later, as a sales leader I taught others how to do the same.  I have always been good at helping people tap into their natural ability.  My businesses have been successful and my year-end reviews were filled with praise for understanding my team and getting the most out of them.  I was good at it, but I was not an expert.

In joining this firm I look forward to helping spread the importance of understanding human behavior in the worlds that exist outside of the battlefield.  I realize that becoming an expert takes time, and I am looking forward to continuing to work on developing programs to help more organizations improve their ability to analyze human behavior as part of their processes.  Whether it is a sales team looking to increase business, a hiring manager improving the process of interviewing talent, or a team of customer service reps that need to quickly assess the intentions of their customers, the skills we teach at The CP Journal can make human interactions more effective.  I look forward to the continued work helping you better understand the intentions of others and improving your ability to make more conscious decisions.

The Unwavering Veteran

June 30, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

A refusal to quit.  Stories with that element can make you consider the actual meaning of the word awesome, and this one is no different.  Not awesome in the way it is used in everyday language, but something that is awe-inspiring.  That feeling you get when you see a person doing something so incredible and overcoming such extreme odds that you can’t help but be humbled and admire. Romy Carmago is awesome.

In 2008, CWO Romulo “Romy” Camargo was shot in the back of the neck on his third deployment to Afghanistan, paralyzing him from the neck down.  Facing conditions and adversity that many people would consider to be insurmountable, he pushed forward.  Instead of giving up, he started the Stay In Step Foundation to create a recovery center for those dealing with spinal cord injuries in the Tampa area. In his own words:

Nobody expected me to live. But I did.
Medical experts told me I would never breathe without a ventilator. But I do.
Doctors said I would never again be able to walk or use my arms. But I will.

That is the drive that veterans can bring to a community or a business – unwavering perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.  While starting a business isn’t an easy process, if there is anyone who has the commitment to see this through and succeed, this would be the group.  If you want to help Romy and the Stay In Step Foundation out with a donation to get their recovery center off the ground, here is a link to their donation page.

Never Forget – Never Quit Romy.  Good luck.

Keep Airport Security Active

June 5, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

I recently spent several hours in a major California airport. Unfortunately, my time spent in the airport was for naught, since my flight was cancelled. However, in spite of my traveling woes, I was able to reflect a bit on airport security. I can’t say that I am a very frequent traveler, but I’ve probably flown through U.S. airports well over one hundred times. I’ve also had the opportunity to fly internationally several times as well. This hardly puts me in a frequent flyer category, but I’ve spent my fair share of time in airports and probably have the same frustrations as most other travelers with airport security personnel, procedures, airlines, small seats, bad food, etc.

What I want to reflect on now is the use of security personnel in U.S. airports. Here’s a comparative anecdote. In my more than one hundred trips through U.S. airports, outside of the usual procedures at security checkpoints, I’ve never once been approached or engaged by an airport security agent. I’ve never been questioned, spoken to, or greeted. In contrast, I’ve had a significantly different experience flying out of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. I’ve only traveled to Israel once, and so my experience is minimal. However, my experience at Ben Gurion is also significantly different than my hundreds of experiences in U.S. airports. I traveled to Israel to participate in an archaeological excavation and to tour. After five weeks of excavating, I flew my wife out to tour the country. We spent a week visiting historic sites, eating great food, and meeting splendid people. However, because our trips were purchased at different times, we had different flights out of the country. My wife flew back to the U.S. one day before I did. I didn’t just drop my wife off at the airport. I parked the rental car, walked in with her, and waited as she made it through the ticketing and baggage check procedures. As she was going through the line, I sat on a bench facing toward the entrance and exit doors of the airport, looking out at the sky and minding my own business. In the, perhaps, twenty minutes that I sat on that bench, I was approached by plain clothes security agents at two different times. Each of these agents asked me a series of questions. Questions such as: What are you doing sitting by yourself? Why don’t you have any bags? When are you flying out? Who are you waiting for? What are you doing in Israel?

The next day, when I flew out of Israel, I was asked a very similar set of questions by uniformed agent checking my passport prior to even checking my baggage. What did I do in Israel? Who was I with? Why wasn’t I with them any longer? Etc.

According to the Ben Gurion website, in 2013, more than 13 million international passengers flew through the airport on almost 97,000 flights. The airport also served more than 760,000 domestic passengers on nearly 8,000 flights. Many U.S. airports are much busier than Ben Gurion. In 2012, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport boarded more than 45 million passengers. That’s more than three times the number of passengers that fly out of Ben Gurion. When stacked up against U.S. airports, Ben Gurion would be the twentieth busiest airport.

There can be no doubt that in many ways the security personnel at the busiest U.S. airports have a much more difficult job than do Ben Gurion airport security agents. Of course, there are many Continue reading »

Stop Using Names – Use the Incident

June 2, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

I was doing research this weekend into the recent shooting at UC Santa Barbara and came across this CBS News article that was written after the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora.  The premise of the article is that we shouldn’t use the name of the shooter to describe the event but describe the incident instead.  The reason is that using a shooter’s name allows them to leave their legacy, be remembered, and continue to instill fear in people even after their death or incarceration.  Instead of remembering the shooters, it should be the victims who are at the forefront of the conversation.  In the passage below, Julia Dahl, who wrote the article for CBS news, really drove this point home for me.

“I can tell you Virginia Tech, the shooter was Cho, Norway, the shooter was Anders Breivik, and I can tell you that here Denver, in Colorado, not long ago we had Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I don’t want that to happen here. I want the victims to be remembered rather than this coward.”

The long-term effect of referring to these attackers by name gives them power as it reinforces the sense of fear they wanted to create.  As Gavin de Becker, Tom Taylor and Jeff Marquart talk about in their book, Just 2 Seconds, human predators are seeking power and to damage something is to take it’s power away from them.  Making the attacker the focus of the conversation lets them be the celebrity and our goal should be to take that away from them.

So I have some work to do to make sure these names aren’t on the site and need to make some changes to our Preventing The Active Shooter Course to eliminate their names from the conversation, but I ask that you do the same.  Don’t use names – use the incident.  Don’t glorify the criminal – remember the victims.

Not using an attacker’s name though doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from them. Subscribers to the online Training Center can take a look at a behavioral analysis of the video released by the shooter who opened fire at UC Santa Barbara in May.  Identifying the changes in his behavior as he goes on his rant allows us to focus on his behavior, identify the changes that reveal the repeat topics we are looking for and practice integrating behavioral assessments into our conversations.

Corporal Kyle Carpenter Video

May 23, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

If you haven’t had the chance yet to see the “Just Getting Started” video for Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter, you’re missing out.  Cpl. Carpenter will receive the Medal of Honor next month for his actions to save the life of a fellow Marine by covering up a grenade. That day was near the start of his journey, not the end.  His commitment, his passion, his perseverance, and his example are absolutely awe-inspiring.

Semper Fidelis Corporal Carpenter.

I originally found this video on Task and Purpose – the blog for Hire Purpose. Hire Purpose provides resources to transitioning veterans and if you are getting out of the military, know someone getting out of the military, or want to hire someone getting out of the military, you need to take a look at what they offer.

Support By Fire – Creating The Conditions For A Sale

April 24, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

In the military, when you are attacking a fortified and defended position, the responsibilities of the support by fire (SBF) position are some of the most important tasks of the entire mission.  The SBF position is responsible for ensuring that the right conditions exist before the guys who will actually be assaulting the position become exposed to danger and get within the range of the enemy’s weapons. In some instances these conditions might be simply ensuring that there is enough machine gun fire focused on an area to keep the enemy from being able to fire on the assault force until it is too late.  It might mean that certain portions of the enemy’s defenses are destroyed before the assault force even begins their attack.  Regardless of what the exact requirements are, the people who man the SBF position are trusted to understand the goals and expectations of the assault force (the main element which is being supported) and are then trusted to accomplish their mission in the best possible way.  In the business world, this same relationship often exists between a company’s marketers and its sales force.

In the business world, the “assault force” is often times the company’s sales force since it certainly isn’t illogical for a company to believe that one way to succeed and grow is to simply get more customers.  In this case, the sales teams are the people who have to “close with the enemy.”  They are the ones who are walking into meetings with potential clients.  They are the ones who need to “fight” their way to a deal through a presentation and negotiations. But their ability to succeed depends a great deal on the shaping efforts of those who are tasked to support them.  In this situation, it is the marketers who shape the outcome of a sales presentation by interacting with potential clients before the sales force ever shows up. In online marketing that might mean Continue reading »

Emergency Messages

April 22, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

Emergency messages or notifications are common means by which organizations, states, and even countries inform their members of critical incidents that may affect their safety and security. In the best cases, these messages are prompted by credible and reliable information about a potential future attack—and therefore are left of bang. In the worst cases, these messages let people know of an attack that has already occurred but may still affect their safety. Recently, I was sent an emergency message by a campus that I’m associated with; a message that spurred my thoughts about how to effectively inform people of potential safety and security risks. I have removed location specific information. I received the following message via email in January of this year:

“Suspicious activity was recently reported to [the] [c]ampus. [Local] Police officers patrolling the [c]ampus have said this is a very low-level threat.

We are continuing to monitor the report of this suspicious activity and will update you with more at a later time. This is a good reminder to be aware and to report any suspicious activity to xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

The above message was all that was sent out by the organization’s security department. I would like to take a look at this brief message to discuss how to effectively inform people of emergency situations so that they can stay safe and make good decisions.

While it may not be clear, this is a left of bang message. Nothing had happened yet; only someone had been reported to security officials that something may happen. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the language of this message. Continue reading »

Translating military interests to the business world

February 28, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

A few days ago, I realized that it has been just over two years since I left the military.  It feels like it has been a lot longer than that, but this realization led me to think about the amount that I have learned in what is actually a relatively short amount of time.   In the time since I’ve been out, I’ve worked (almost the whole way) through an MBA program, I’ve finished writing a book that will be published in the next couple of months and I’ve started a company.  It has certainly been a journey and I’m proud of it.  I think a two-year separation has given me enough time and experience to provide some objective feedback about the transition out of the military.  It is long enough where I have been able to see how different decisions that I made early on have played out over time, but it also isn’t so long that I’ve lost touch with the process entirely.  Maybe it is the Marine in me, but as I think about the last two years, I also think I could have done it better.

I have had a number of conversations over the past few months with veterans who have made the same transition to the civilian world as me, and have found one common trend across almost all of the conversations.  I find that most of the vets I talk to, when asked, aren’t really sure about the next step. They knew they were ready to get out of the military.  They knew that they wanted to get started in the private sector.  They knew that there would be something within the umbrella of “business” that would interest them, but many just didn’t know specifically what they wanted to do.  I think one of the most challenging parts of the transition process ultimately stems from the fact that many vets have a significant lack of clarity about what it is that they want to do as a civilian. Looking back on my own transition, a lack of clarity is certainly something that hindered me.  Many of the vets that I have spoken to on the topic went back to school with the hope of figuring this out, but as they prepare to finish either their undergrad or graduate level programs, they still don’t really know what job or field is going to ultimately interest them.

Many people will tell vets that this is ok and it is just part of the process.  I won’t argue with them about that, it certainly is part of the learning process, but it also doesn’t actively help either.  Is having a lack of clarity anyone’s fault?  No, but it is a problem nonetheless. Continue reading »

Starting A Business – How Fast Can You Learn?

November 18, 2013 in Veterans, Business, and Security

“A compass, I learned when I was surveying, it’ll point you True North from where you’re standing, but its got no advice about the swamps and deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp, what’s the use of knowing True North?”

The above quote is one of my favorite lines from the movie Lincoln.  It transcends its literal meaning and is metaphoric for the journey that entrepreneurs embark upon when they start their companies.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post talking about “remembering the trigger” and, while I was writing it, I kept coming back to the thought that the goal every founder has when starting their company is the True North that Abraham Lincoln refers to in the quote.  Whenever I hear the statistics about the overwhelming percentage of small companies that go out of business in their first few years, I always think to myself that an overwhelming majority of those people had to have started with great ideas.  Many of those companies didn’t fail because they had bad ideas; they failed because, even though the founder knew where they were trying to go, they might not have known how to get there.  How fast a person can learn and adapt to the changing landscape is often the difference between success and failure in any field.  This is especially true when starting a business.

I’m not a big fan of learning from mistakes.  A mistake doesn’t necessarily teach you what to do, only what not to do. In a start-up, there is limited time available to learn how to navigate your way through the swamps to get to True North before you run out of money and resources.  When you launch your company you have the least amount of information that you will ever have.  The familiarity you have with your own product, the market, the industry and the customer is at its lowest possible point.  Tomorrow, if you don’t know a little bit more about each of those things than you did the day before, you have done something wrong.  Each thing that you learn provides a little bit more clarity to the overall picture and map that you have of your business plan, which you will in turn use to chart your way forward.  In some ways, learning your way to business growth is like establishing a baseline and observing human behavior.   Each cue that you observe adds another piece to the puzzle.  When it comes to both learning and observing, it’s important to remember that your perception of the situation plays a huge part in determining how to more forward.

I was reminded of the importance that perception plays in decision-making a few months ago while I was attending a seminar hosted by Charlie O’Donnell in Brooklyn, NY.  O’Donnell runs a venture capital firm and I went to hear him talk about personal branding.  While I was waiting for the class to begin, I noticed this diagram drawn on a whiteboard in the room that must have been left over from an earlier class. There was no context for the diagram, since it wasn’t part of his presentation, and there was no heading and no explanation, but for anyone who has started a company the meaning was immediately apparent. The blue line shows the emotional roller coaster that an entrepreneur takes when launching a new company. When the company is started, a founder sees countless opportunities available and sees everything from a very positive light at the beginning, but at some point, they peak and begin to realize that gaining traction is going to be more difficult than they originally thought.  This makes the consequences of starting business seem very real, as the founder’s uniformed optimism turns into a pessimism informed by the challenges the founder has faced.  It is during this part of the process when the founder’s pace of learning becomes incredibly important.  How a founder perceives the situation and their prospects for growth impacts how creative they will be when looking for solutions to new business challenges, learning from what has worked in the past, and charting a new (and informed) way forward to succeed or fail to find the answers.  The faster you learn the right way for your business to deal with each challenge will allow you to be more confident that you have chosen the right path for your business and are now on the path of informed optimism and success.

The impact that perception plays in overcoming business challenges is very similar to the impact that perception has when learning to observe and assess human behavior.  The emotional outlook that you have as an observer can Continue reading »

Remembering The Trigger

October 30, 2013 in Veterans, Business, and Security

There is always a goal driving people when they decide to start a their own business.  My goal might be lofty, not yet clearly defined, and more of a dream than anything else, but that goal has to be there.  The dream I had was important because it was how I planned to change the world and while I wasn’t entirely certain how I was going to do it, I knew what direction my path was heading in.  That goal is important because once you step off on that path and start a business; it can be easy to forget that world changing vision that held in your head because running a business is complex.   Because of that, when you take a major step forward in accomplishing your original goal, it is important to take step back and reflect on what it took to get there. For me, that day occurred last week when we made our Tactical Analysis Level I class available online.

In the two years I’ve been building my business, there have absolutely been some successes, but getting this course online is unique in my eyes.  As I think back to when I first decided to start my company after serving in the Combat Hunter program, I saw what I wanted to change. I saw how the program Continue reading »

Calmness Under Fire

October 23, 2013 in Veterans, Business, and Security

Sadly this week, we had another school splashed across the headlines with reports of an active shooter and school violence.  As more information comes out about the situation that unfolded at Sparks Middle School, just outside of Reno, NV., the only thing that remains clear are the steps that Michael Landsberry took to ensure that no additional students were hurt once the shooting had begun.  A former Marine, a National Guardsman and a math teacher at the school, Michael Landsberry turned towards the sound of the gun fire and calmly tried to talk to the shooter and get him to put the gun down.  Even though he paid with his life, he provided the time needed for the other students to clear the area, undoubtedly saving more lives.

We owe a thanks for the sacrifice of this Marine and all of those serving today – Semper Fidelis

The Career Path of a Protector – How Can We Improve The System?

June 11, 2013 in Veterans, Business, and Security

When someone decides to go into either the military or law enforcement they commit themselves to a field that offers little in the way of options for a lateral career moves.  People join the military for however many years they choose to serve and, once they separate from active duty, there aren’t any options for them to come back.  There is no option to spend five years in the Marines, leave the service to spend time working in another field, and then return to active duty.  Yes, there are the reserves, but that isn’t the same as being a full time member of the military and isn’t really what I’m talking about here.  A Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in the logistics field cannot go work for FedEx for a few years, learning new skills and new ways to do his job, and then come back into the military and bring those outside influences in.  From what I understand about careers in law enforcement, the same dynamic exists, that once a police officer decides to leave the force, only very rarely are they able to come back in.

There are, of course, options for moves within a police department, or to a different unit within one of the military branches, but this is much different than the options that civilians have available to them.  Continue reading »