I’m not a big fan of politics. I acknowledge it and keep up to date because I have to. My role requires me to do so and be aware of its associated risks and impacts for my clients. So this is an unusual article for me in many ways. It’s not a political article in any way and it’s not a reflection on any of my connections. It’s a statement and a cautionary note to those whose emotions may be heightened as we all go through a challenging time.
Over the past few weeks there have been so many posts which have almost prompted me to respond. Normally rational people acting in emotional ways. It’s tough for people at the moment. I can understand that. Over the last two weeks I’ve seen posts from security professionals which were prompted by COVID, mask wearing ,vaccines, events in Washington, drugs, police incidents and many more. I’ve seen people talk about turning down contracts securing test centres and vaccines because they don’t want to take a vaccine. I’ve seen people refusing to work with or for other people because of political opinion and I’ve seen security professionals publicly analysing police activity from the comfort of your own chair
I’ve said in so many articles previously that you are your own personal brand. Your own company image. Like any image your brand should be based on your vision and values for yourself. Your morals and your ethics. Sometimes though emotions cloud those values and ethics. You can’t call yourself a professional and then let personal feelings get in the way. Would a doctor decide to operate on a patient because they disagree with their views? Would a lawyer refuse legal services to someone who had different beliefs to them? I don’t think so and I dont think we can say ‘professional’ and then act in this way.
When it comes to professional services feelings shouldn’t matter. Our role as a profession is to ‘protect’. Regardless of what we think of the person, the place or our team. You don’t have to agree with vaccines. You just have to recognise that others do and protect the asset you have been engaged to protect.
Our role is to protect good people from bad things. Those bad things or malicious actors could be physical (threat actors), biological (a virus) or psychological (fear of a virus). Regardless our role is to protect. Sticking to our professional vision and values and getting the job done.
Free speech isn’t free of consequence
I’m all for free speech. It is the cornerstone of advanced societies. Speech is free at the point of utterance but after that it has a cost. It always does. I’m not a big fan of the ‘ shut your mouth and do the job’ approach either. Intelligent thinking professionals should be free to give considered insight to team members and clients when it relates to the risk associated with the task or asset.
I talked on the podcast last week with Justin about social media hygiene. I think many need to look at it this week. If you are your brand then your social media is your company page. When a client or potential employer views the ‘company page’ of a professional service provider that’s what they expect to see. We all know clients look and we also know that social media and groups in particular are filled with potential employers. If you feel strongly about a subject (especially emotive ones like politics, pandemic, race etc.) that is fine. Your company page is not the place for it though. I’ll go back to my original example. Do you see surgeons and airplane pilots arguing over politics and society in Facebook groups or criticising videos of each other.
I’m not judging and I’m not telling you what to do on your social profiles. You do you. All I’m saying is that those actions may not match up with your professional vision and values. We all get taken over by emotion sometimes (I’ve written more stupid social posts than anyone over the years). It’s natural. Professionals don’t let it impact their role or their brand. Politics and professionals dont mix.