The Defuse Podcast - Taking the guesswork out of protecting your privacy, reputation and status.

The Online Bodyguard with Bryan Flannery – Creating a Psychologically Safe Workplace with Behavioural Threat Management

August 08, 2023 Philip Grindell MSc CSyP - The Online Bodyguard®
The Defuse Podcast - Taking the guesswork out of protecting your privacy, reputation and status.
The Online Bodyguard with Bryan Flannery – Creating a Psychologically Safe Workplace with Behavioural Threat Management
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Show Notes Transcript

In an increasingly unpredictable and sometimes divisive world how do we help the workplace be a safer place, not just physically but psychologically?

 It is one thing ensuring that your workplace, place of worship or education is safe, it is quite another making it a place where you feel safe.

 Do mass shooter drills at schools make students feel safer or make them feel anxious and scared?

 In this masterclass, Bryan Flannery, President of Foresight Security Consulting based out Portland, Oregon shares his significant experience and expertise.

 Bryan shares his wisdom on how behavioural threat management achieves this through education and practice. Recognising that understanding the baseline behaviour of a person of concern is the key, and how it’s the deviation away from that baseline that is the key.

 Bryan explains that by adopting this non-punitive caring practice organisations benefit from increased reporting and a proper management process that seeks to keep everyone safe, including the person of concern.



Bryan Flannery:

Bryan is the Founder and President of Foresight. His passion for keeping people safe inspired the development of Foresight’s robust, holistic approach to security and safety. Bryan’s deep experience with personal and executive protection, risk mitigation, security vulnerability assessments, and behavioral threat assessment and management underpin Foresight’s collective subject matter expertise and client services. Bryan’s background includes:

·     Twenty-two years of military and law enforcement experience, specializing in Behavioral Threat Assessment, Physical Security, and the Protection of elected officials.

·     Seventeen-year member of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, and currently  serves as President of the NW Chapter Board of Directors.

·     Graduate of the California Highway Patrol Protection of Public Officials course.

·     Certified Defensive Tactics Instructor. 

·     Medal of Valor recipient from the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association and Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

·     Dynamic speaker having presented to international audiences in Personal Safety and Security, Threat Assessment, and Targeted Violence detection and response.

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Philip Grindell:

Hello, and welcome again to the online bodyguard. And I am delighted to introduce to you today a really good friend of mine, who I only met in person, I don't know, maybe four or five months ago. But since then we've spent a lot of time in each other's company. He invited me out to Montana. And we and I had all sorts of delights, which we may get on to around sort of weird breakfasts, and we're happy to have in America but but some gravy with biscuits was sold out about anyway, but come back to that. So Brian Flannery and Brian has got a really, really fantastic history. So not only has he worked for the US Air Force, in their security police, but he's also worked for law enforcement agencies in the US. And then a few years ago, he started his own company for site security consulting, which is a Northwest based national security consultancy offering clients a holistic and proactive risk mitigation solutions. They work with all sorts of different people, everything from people in the education, environment, colleges, universities, houses of worship, small and large businesses, media groups, and of course, high net worth individuals. And effect, Brian, as I understand it, you're expanding to LA. And you've got a new member of Team, your team joining you in in August. So So first and foremost, welcome. And tell us about your your new exciting news.

Brian Flannery:

Yeah, thanks, Phil. Good to see it. Good to be on here.


Fun to talk to you as always. Yeah. Well, you know, the expansion is happening. I think. I think probably you're recognising this and anybody that's in the security industry is recognising that the need has pretty significantly grown for all of us to provide the services that we provide, globally, since the pandemic where it always existed. Certainly, I know that we have seen some pretty substantial need in the communities that we serve, since the pandemic. So yeah, I mean, a little more kind of background. I was very fortunate. You know, you mentioned the law enforcement time, in 2003. I was a patrol deputy for a sheriff's office in Oregon, and gotten to a traumatic incident and decided that I didn't want to be on patrol anymore. I came off the road and became a school resource officer. And that's where I was very, very fortunate to find the Salem Kaiser threat management team. I was mentored by the likes of John Vendrell and Dave Okada and Alan rainwater and some of the people that wrote the book on student threat assessment, quite literally wrote the book. And it changed, it changed my life. You know, the idea that we can get in front of some of these absolutely horrific incidents, and actually help people on the way to wellness in the meantime, is really profound. And so every decision I made in my career since then, has been to stay in that work. And then so after some time at the sheriff's office, I did six years as an SRO, I ran court security operations to do physical security for the county court. I did you know, threat management and protection for the judicial officials there that were the the elected judges for the county. And then in 2012, was one of the first two deputy marshals sworn into the State Judiciary by the Chief Justice building their threat management programme and was responsible for executive protection for the Supreme Court and the chief justice for the state of Oregon, which was in and of itself, an incredible experience being around that level of, of mind is is pretty impressive, and not lost on on me. And then in 2018, I started to recognise the need, like we're talking about this, this kind of ongoing need for security consultancies, who have been stepping in a lot with guards and guns and, and those types of things to really start stepping back and looking at the umbrella of the human behaviour associated with workplace violence, mass attacks, assassinations, domestic violence, all of these things that we see, especially in America. Right, we have a real problem here comparatively, with mass shootings, and and those those active violent active assailant attackers. So in 2018, with two little kids and a house payment, I quit my job, I cashed out my retirement and started a company. My wife is incredibly supportive, and has just really been an amazing anchor. And like we said, It's expanding. People are asking for what we're doing. I think they're seeing the value in the what we call better care for people, which is kind of the byproduct of that threat assessment piece. And through that we have we have made amazing friends in our network. You and I, for example, right? I think we met in January in London in a pub, which is I think befitting for both of us. Had we known each other but Well, that's where we would have met anyway. So hats off to chuck Randall for an excellent introduction between the two of us. And, and, yeah, so So the expansion into Los Angeles is less about the expansion into Los Angeles and more about the ability to bring on another thought leader, another leader in this industry in Bryan Bixler. So, Brian is going to be foresights new Chief Operating Officer and the senior vice president. He is also the first executive hire we have made since I started the company. Brian has been with LAPD for 27 years. He's currently the captain of LAPD Metro. So he oversees SWAT and the air unit and like all of this other, you know, just a tonne of pieces of the big version of the Los Angeles Police Department. And also is a big name in the threat assessment world. He ran the threat management unit for five years, and the behavioural health unit for five years. He speaks nationally at a tap TMC, we're, we're super, super excited. But I will tell you, the moment I knew he was our guy, is I you know, we had a couple of names in my head for people that we were thinking about that I was wrestling with to try and maybe bring on as an executive hire. And I remember sitting down with him at dinner. And I asked him, I said, Why are you considering this? 27 years with LAPD you've been around, you really could probably have your choice of jobs. Why are you considering this? And he said, You know, I have been trying to love my people through a culture that I cannot change. And all I want to do is be a part of something where I can help build the culture and create the kind of place we want to be. And if that was it for me, I knew that that was the guy. Fortunately, he said, Yes. You know, and yeah, so he starts August 1. And I think our team is greatly going to benefit from his, from his addition. I think he's going to be great. Yeah, well, I mean, I've met most of your team, I think, and it's a strong team. So to add Brian to that team is just gonna make it even stronger. And even, you know, I mean, it's an impressive, it's an impressive outfit. I, you know, I've got to know you well, and I know how your thoughts over most your peers, and, you know, sat and listened to you and talk about the subject. And it's, it's, it's one that, you know, you and I've talked about in terms of the differences between the UK and the US in terms of how the subject seen how it's understood some of the issues? I mean, I know, I know, you know, you talked about guns and all that sort of stuff, and mass shootings, etc. But, you know, I equally aware that you, you know, you deal with target, you know, stalking, harassment, all the other stuff as well, that that is kind of the bread and butter of this subject. Yes, I know, at the more extreme end, and the more serious and you've got that side, and I know you do the armed close protection work as well. But it's all about everyday occurrences and behavioural issues and problematic people, how they, how they see how they choose to execute the end, and attack or whatever you want to call it is, is perhaps difference, but actually, the basis of it is the same in terms of with dealing with problematic people. Yeah, I wonder if this isn't, you know, it's a bit of a continuation of some conversations that we I think, have started, I think, in Montana, in London on phone calls. But, you know, it's, I don't want to say easy, that's the wrong word. But it is it is. It is, it is better understood. When I am talking to a client about preventing mass violence, they get that they understand that they see it. And that's the thing they're scared of what they don't really recognise until they've built a team is that everything you just said, comes along with that and is the predominant case, we are not constantly going to be working at trying to prevent someone from doing a mass shooting, certainly, that's our end goal. But the cases that we triage with our clients every day, are the lower level workplace violence, harassment, bullying, stalking, domestic violence, all of the things that are happening, because every company, every church, every place we go, every grocery store is a microcosm of the society we live in. And we know that all those problems exist in society. So of course, they exist there. And so I think the magic is being able to convince our clients to look beyond the fear of the active shooter, which may or may not ever occur, in fact, I think we know statistically, you are way less likely to, you know, be involved in an active shooter than then you to be involved in one. And so the statistics just don't play out. But crime, violence, assault, that those things do play out and play out with regularity, especially in the workplace. And in, you know, with with laws in the US that call for duty of care, and workplace violence prevention, it's really, really incumbent upon the practitioners to use threat management tools behavioural threat assessment, to, to help our clients understand that this is so far beyond the active shooter, and really does create a more psychologically safe workplace, which in turn creates a more productive workplace and goes to their central value of caring for their people. So, you know, I can understand here, we get in the door by saying, Well, look, we can prevent violence, and then they start to see the value. And I think that part's really, that's the hard navigation. That's the tipping point. And I wonder, you know, how often you're running into this in the UK or anywhere else on the globe? Where, where you don't maybe have the problems, like we do? Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's a different challenge. Because the circumstances are so different, the conversations are different, you know, nobody in the UK will be, will be worrying about their kid going off to school, and there being a shooting incident at the school. And I know that statistically, it's still a rare occasion in the US. But of course, it hits the headlines, for obvious reasons, because the emotions and you know, what have you. But there's this talk about more about, you know, the benefits then of behavioural threat assessment. What, why is it so effective? And what makes it this, this this thing that you and I are so passionate about? Yeah, I love, by the way, the whole what we're passionate about thing? I think it's, you know, I'm not beyond saying that, I think we had been talking for maybe 20 minutes, when we were both getting teary eyed about the thing that we love as much as we do, which is this work? And that's, and then again, this goes back to your your question, it's not, because I think every day we're going out there, and we're preventing mass shootings, it is because when we're paying attention to people's deviation from baseline, so for people that are listening to this, that are not practitioners, or like what, you know, deviation from baseline, if we understand that when people are stressed out, if we understand that when people are going through a crisis in their private or personal lives, that there are these behaviours and an effect that start to appear. And only the people that know us will know that we're off, only the people that understand they've seen us, you know, we see him at work every day, and all of a sudden, we're acting funny, or, or different, that, that this system, if it's really employed properly allows for that person or that organisation to come to the person of concern and go, Hey, we noticed that things are not going great, without fear of that person that their jobs on the line are that they're gonna get sued or whatever, that we actually care for these people. And if they disclose, or we get that report, we're able as a group as a multidisciplinary team to step into that situation. And really help steer these people away from these situations of concern, and back to a place of wellness. And so it's, again, I learned this, I learned this the hard way. When I joined the Salem Kaiser threat management team. And Ellen rainwater, who's Marion county mental health professional and on this team for a long time, tells the story a little better than I do, because I think his perspective is better. But when I joined as a 27 year old police officer, every time a kid did something wrong, or every time a dad did something wrong, I was like lock him up, put handcuffs on and put them in jail, we need them. And that was all that was my MO. That's what I did. Every time we were in one of these meetings. And over the course of some time and some reps in doing behavioural threat assessment. A couple of years had gone by and we had this case. And we were talking about this situation of concern and this child that was in a middle school and, and was having a rough time. But people were really, really concerned about his behaviour. And I remember in the midst of the conversation of the team on mitigation strategy, I go, Well, wait a second. Didn't we understand that? You know, one of his relatives who is an asset to us, is also a mental health professional. And while they weren't be able to treat them, maybe he that person could find a mental health professional to help this kid navigate these situations and that you You would have, you would have thought like, a record had stopped. And everybody just looked at me and they were like, wait a minute, did Brian just offer mental health counselling and help for this kid versus lock them up and throw him in jail? And, and it was this moment, you know where I had been, I just been I had been around and watched this happen so many times and been a sponge, really been open minded to the process. And it, it really started to click for me. And I saw that in my, my colleagues and the practitioners that were around me that were trying to train me and bring me up. But really, it's not punitive. Right? If these systems cannot be punitive, in nature, if they start that way, you'll never get the reports, you'll never get this stuff. And really, we triage so many cases that are not those exceptional cases, that it just benefits the company to have it. And so, you know, it's we're starting to see this, we're starting to see this in how the culture shifts in all of the organisations that we deal with, where they recognise it, and then they start to lean into reports. It's not just about, hey, we saw scary guy in the parking lot. It was, hey, we saw scary guy in the parking lot. And now we want to know a little bit more about that person. Where are they from? What are they doing what's going on. And if we can figure that out, we might actually not only be able to keep them from coming back and being the scary guy in the parking lot. But we might also be able to, you know, allocate some community resource that provides them an avenue by which to go live their lives. And it's really, really profound. I think it's I think it's just unbelievably unbelievably impressive work that we get to do and how Fortunate are we, even though we find ourselves sometimes banging a drum, by ourselves and the loneliness of the wilderness going? No, we know what we're talking about. But but once once it starts to happen, people see the value, I think, do you think the word the word threat in in behavioural threat, actually sometimes causes a problem? Because people don't always see that there's a threat? It's, it's, yeah, we got a problem. But have we got a threat? Have we got threats coming in? We haven't got threats coming in. So what do we need a behavioural threat? Manager? Great question. And we have thoughts. You know, it's funny, we did this out of necessity. On our end, we still call it threat assessment. I mean, we you know, you and I are both members of the association of Threat Assessment Professionals. I don't know that in our world, in our universe of practitioners, that those words were will ever change. But I do think it's incumbent upon us as practitioners, to maybe change them for our clients. And the first, the first example of this was in a church. So we were working with a local congregation, sizable, not one of the, I'm sure you've all seen the mega churches in Texas with like in a stadium and, you know, 100,000 people, not one of those, but, but a non denominational Christian church here. And in probably 1500 people on a Sunday, three services, people moving through again, a microcosm of society. So when you're paying attention to it, you see these things happen. And we had a very, very significant incident occur where a husband and wife had been having some marital issues, and the husband was depressed. He had tried to reach out to the head pastor, which in and of itself is a conversation around essential executive or dignitary protection when you have a figurehead of an organisation. And the people I believe they're connected to that person. Right? So that's a whole nother piece of a conversation that we can go into. But in this case, this individual had like used Facebook Messenger, to reach out to the pastor to say, Hey, I'm having a hard time. But the head pastor is running a church. He's got a tonne of staff, 1500 people, he doesn't check these things. There are people that do that. And in this case, the church that I was attending, and working with he also that had pastor was the, the chaplain for the Portland Trailblazers NBA team. So he also had that happening. And he, you know, very much involved with that with that, that professional basketball team. And one morning, the Sunday it was a Friday night where the individual had sent this Facebook Messenger. At Sunday morning, the pastor was standing there with one of the members of the trailblazers and talking to them and and really engaged with them in this individual who had sent the message had come up to him, and was kind of standing next to him just in the, in the general area of the pastor. And at some point the pastor saw him felt kind of the weirdness of this person standing there staring at him. And he turned and he said, Oh, hey, how you doing great to see it did the thing ahead pastor does little High Five little smack on the back will hug and said, Okay, I'll talk to you later. And this person thought, wait a minute. I need way more of your time right now, because I'm dealing with something. Pastor hadn't seen the messenger hadn't done anything. And so the guy goes into into church. I hear about this Wednesday, after so this is a Sunday morning. And I get a call from the pastor, one of the other campus pastors later who says, Hey, we had this incident. And he tells me the story. He says, midway through service, the police departments show up and they're sitting outside by the individuals vehicle. And what had happened was on that Sunday morning, after the Facebook Messenger after not being contacted by the pastor, he was sitting in church, and he started texting his wife. And he said, I don't think I can do it anymore. I think I'm going to end it. And she called 911, emergency services, law enforcement showed up to make contact with him, but never went into the church. Nobody in the church, she didn't contact anybody there. And they contacted him afterwards, and kind of resolved the situation for the time being. But when you think about this, from kind of the worst case scenario, what if he had been armed? What if he wanted to end it, and wanted to make a public spectacle of that and decided to do it in service, right there, even if it was suicide. And so realising we had missed the effect in behaviour around the contact in the hallway, with the head pastor, realising we had missed the Facebook messenger that had come through, and we had known that there was some marital issues going on, because that's what you know, in churches, they're doing some of this work. I said, Listen, we need to start a team, we need to start a threat assessment team. That's what I said, Right? When you start a threat assessment team, and the pastor was like, Whoa, man, that's a scary thing. What's the threat assessment team. And so I started talking him through this. And in that he and I were wrestling with like, well, this is what it looks like. It's community based. It's multidisciplinary. We have, you know, the counselling pastor, and the women's pastor, and all of these people involved. And really what we do is we provide resource. And he goes, Well, why don't we call it the resource team? And I said, What? Yeah, what about a special resource team. So now at that church to this day, there's a weekly meeting of the special resource team. And that's where situations of concern come. And it changes their entire mindset. The entire team stops thinking, scary threat, and starts thinking situation of concern, what special resource do we have to give this person and it changes the game for how they manage cases. And that's, you know, if we flip that into the commercial world, as well. When we're talking about multidisciplinary teams, you know, we're talking about involving HR, er, whatever you call it, security and others. But again, if we go in from the perspective of threat assessment, or risk or security or whatever else, it paints a whole different picture, to there's a problem. And we're just trying to solve this problem. But of course, we all like labels. And so we need a kind of collective label, you know, we've talked about the US have workplace violence, we tend not to use that term, and therefore we struggle to find a collective term. So we're on the same page. So I think sometimes we move towards this kind of threat assessment, terminology, because we need some collective term that we're all so we're all talking about the same thing. But actually, when I when I when I've talked to various organisations, and you and I've talked about it around, you're getting HR on board sometimes and getting obviously the confidentiality issues and all those sorts of things. You know, maybe if we changed it from threat to something else, because the reality is, they don't see it as threats, they see it as problematic behaviour and and you know, anti social behaviour and all that sort of stuff in the workplace. And so I think this this word threat which which is understandable why it's called threat came from threat. But of course now it's it's it's broadened into other parts of life and other parts of business. And I get stuck with it. But it's, it's just kind of talking to listening to thinking, actually, maybe there's a different way of engaging people in the in the conversation without you necessarily using the word threat. I think that you and I could write a white paper on this pretty quickly. I mean, you know, you said it a minute. They go like they see it is like this scary behaviour or this situation? Well, what they also see it as I think, is a one off situation, once this situation is solved, well, we don't need this anymore. Because the scary scary thing has gone away. Right? We, we, we've we've terminated that individual and they're gone or whatever, it doesn't mean a that that person is not still in crisis and be that you don't have other situations at your organisation. That should be something we're thinking about. And I haven't figured out how to turn it into a presentation yet. But I've got this title, called moving from check the box to building blocks. I know how cool. That's good, isn't it? Right, if you try to come up with that, because that's something you need to get that trademark before we go live. Okay, all right. Well, well, but yeah, they they, you know, it's funny, because in the security world in the US, and you'll have to tell me if this is similar, you said you don't really use the term workplace violence here. The term workplace violence in the security industry, is this idea that if there's a high risk termination, or someone that a corporation deems high risk, not because they've done due diligence and behavioural threat assessment, but because their effect is scary. They, they say, We're firing this person. And the security company says, Well, we're going to send somebody there with a gun to make sure they don't come back. And they call that workplace violence, standby or workplace violence or whatever. And, wow, have we done a disservice to our clients, and to our industry, and to the and to society as a whole, in in believing that somehow, that's the medicine. That's the bandaid on the situation. And so getting them to move like this, it goes back to that right. And they think they've checked a box, oh, this is great. We were done. This is perfect. And we've got three of these a year. And so we can budget the few $1,000. To cover this. What you need is a team, what you need is a system that's, that's, that's got a modality that is comprehensive, so that HR, legal, executive, security, safety facilities are all working together constantly. To not just make sure you have the door locked when someone gets terminated. But that when we say goodbye, gracefully, I mean, certainly we have to fire people, they have to leave sometimes. But being able to do that in a manner that causes them to not create or maintain a grievance that solves their problem helps them look to the future. We want to do that. Right. The golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated is something that we have been taught since we were children. But boy, do we forget it when we grow up. But I think you know, we certainly have I mean, we don't call it workplace violence, but I can guarantee a lot of the companies have a workplace violence policy, which no one's read. Sure, no one knows, and very few people have ever seen. And it's there because they can pull it out for an insurance claim if they ever needed or if they're going to get sued, etc. All No, no, we tell our people, you have to behave this way. So we've got a policy on it. We've got insider threat policies, we've got all these policies, but that tick the box very often. But we don't necessarily put them into action. And we don't, we don't necessarily implement the good practice that we should do that would eliminate some of those issues. And I think we fail very often to understand the the poor behaviour that we're seeing in an employee or in a pupil or wherever else is the precursor for someone escalating along a pathway. And actually, if we can intervene early, so the early identification, early intervention is when we can help that person which is what we're trying to do. And I think that's where we need to get this you know, from tick the box to building the blocks. Yeah, it's, you know, you said pathway, which is great, because it's a good segue into one of my other favourites and that was Gene dicing or who practitioners will know that name. Gene has been around the threat assessment world forever and ever. And he's a he's an amazing, amazing guy. And I recently heard him, we were speaking at a conference in Great Plains in Nebraska, at the University of Nebraska, and on stage, just as as charismatic as Jean always is. He says we need to stop thinking about getting people off the pathway to violence and start thinking about moving people to the pathway to wellness. And I mean it, it still chokes me up, when I hear that because that's the magic. That's the passion. That's what we know to be true to be helpful. It's what we would want for our friends and family, should they find themselves in situations of concern? And so it is. So it's such an interesting, broad conversation about how do we change the name? How do we get corporations to see the value beyond preventing the big scary shooting or, you know, assault or whatever, and just make it about better care for people. And, and bringing our people back early. And nobody can do it alone. HR historically has done the low level stuff by themselves forever, security has stepped in when it's been big and scary. This is why I'm so encouraged to hear that you had mentioned you're, you know, you're you're about to release a podcast with Melissa near who's just an amazing person, and I love Melissa to death. Nobody is better at talking about the differences that words make. Then Melissa mir that I've ever heard, right. And so I love that, and I love this conversation, because it really is the future of what we're doing, I think. And thank God, I went, I went before Melissa, because everybody after me, and after Melissa had to really watch what they were saying in terms of never saying but but only saying and and, and all her various observations around linguistics. And interestingly Jean you very, very interesting, I bumped into Jean in in, in Germany at the European Threat Assessment club. And I said to him, So what brings you to this one, Jane. And he said to me, this is what a tap used to be. Like. He said, You go to a tap. Now it's all about mass shootings and everything else. He said, actually what you're talking about here, which was stalking, you know, poor behaviour, workplace violence, all those sorts of issues. He said, that's where we started. And we've lost our way a little bit. And when you talk about the big, sexy jobs now, we don't talk about the everyday job. And that's why I love coming to this. And I know we've talked about this as well. But yeah, so I suppose one of the other issues is, you know, we know that the research in the UK, which I'm guessing is probably replicated, if not, if not even worse in the US, is that somewhere in the region of 67 to 70% of incidents go unreported. For a number of different reasons, you know, we know that people don't know who to report to what to report, you know, they're worried about being being escaped out of their name comes out. So what are you what have you learnt over this career of yours, to encourage better reporting of incidents, or just concerns about behaviour? So, it's, yeah, that's a really interesting question. And I'm not sure that I figured out the answer to kind of the launch. Like, I don't know that I could walk into a client and talk about the mechanisms that would cause better reporting, prior to a team. But I can say that once the team exists, once training has been put out, that this thing exists, that it's for the betterment of the group, that it creates psychological safety, it changes in organisational scope, it changes an organization's culture enough to allow for the space to exist. So I guess what I'm saying there that's maybe confusing is that cultures and organisations are individual to that organisation, and important sometimes, and I'm not saying culture good or bad, though both of those things can be true. The culture of an organisation that may already encourage reporting in specific areas of safety, or, you know, leave or things like that, when you add to that culture that already exists, a place where people feel psychologically safe, to speak about the issues going on. You're you're already ahead of the game, and it's going to work really well. In the organisations where that is not true. Everybody cares about safety. Everybody believes, especially in 2023, than they deserve to be safe and secure when they go to work. When they there's an expectation everywhere we go, that the people that are running whatever place the grocery store, the school, the mall, that they're doing all the right things to keep us safe. And so with that expectation of safety, when you say we're leaning into that, as an organisation, it starts to shift that culture to a place of reporting. And then what I tell everybody when they're getting ready to set up teams, don't get out over your skis. And be careful and be diligent because it's like the movie The Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, if you build it, they will come. The second you give people a place to go with reports, you will be staffing more cases than you know what to do with. And you have to be ready to understand how you're going to triage. You know, that gets in again, this is a whole nother podcast, probably do six cities. So isn't it interesting point that there is there? Is there a is there a risk then that people think? Well, I don't I'm not sure I want to open that box. Yes. Yes, there is. I don't think that's the easiest answer is yes. Because I think as a as a risk mitigation professional, I think we know there's really three ways that you can deal with risk, you can insure against it, you can actually do something about it, you can you can put a physical measure there, you can put a policy or procedure in place, you can do something about that risk, or you can ignore it. That's it. And once you've accepted it, you have to do something. If you ignore it, then you don't and you just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Which doesn't tend to work long term with liability. And but this is an important distinction around what do people want to know? And are they willing to put maybe the programmatic changes behind the development of something, which again, goes to the building blocks of systems? And, and I think, I want to believe this, I don't want to say I think I want to believe that most executives, most decision makers, actually do want to see the betterment of people, you know, the the resolving of grievance to understand where the speed bumps in their organisations are, that allowed them to move more efficiently. But I think not only do people not want to know, but it is very difficult to quantify. It is very difficult to say that with a team, you're going to have X amount of additional productivity, you're going to you're going to save X amount of leave, people aren't going to be absent from work. But to your point 67% I think you said of incidents go unreported. How many of those people are less productive at work, take time off, are, you know, even even in their airing of grievance to co workers causing the co worker to be less productive, or trauma, whatever it looks like those things are happening day to day. If we created something that allowed the reporting of those things, and the resolving of some grievance and the resolving of these situations, it only stands to reason that these places would be more productive, less leave being used, and all of those things. But again, we can't still to this day pinpoint. Well, it's because of behavioural threat assessment. It's because of a special resource team, that this is true. But we see it in the lives of the people that that were touching through this work, you and I are. And it's you know, it's wider that you've used the term psychological safety a number of times. So let's talk about that briefly. Because that's something that clearly you're passionate about, because you've mentioned it four or five times so far. So what do you mean? What do you mean by psychological safety? So, there's such a difference between physical safety and psychological safety. We can put doors, locks on doors, we can put film on Windows, we can put cameras up, access, control, all of those things. And that is real physical safety. And we have plenty of clients that come and go from buildings that are as secure as you know, embassies perhaps, but they don't feel safe. Even walking through that door, they don't feel safe. And there can be a number of reasons for that. Some of it can be personalised trauma that they've, you know, experienced. Some of it can be things they've heard about news stories or articles they've read or whatever. And so I think our job as practitioners is to Yes, continue to increase physical safety, but constantly work As best we can, at creating a culture everywhere we go, that allows for the psychological safety. One of the great places for that right now. And you mentioned that is schools and parents, especially in the US. I don't know how many times I get text messages or whatever from parents that are like, I think I'm gonna buy my kid a bulletproof backpack. One of the, you know, there's and there's companies everywhere that are making all these things. And, and what I, what I, you know, this happened to, to one of my neighbours, she she reached out to me and said, Hey, I think I want to buy my kid a bulletproof backpack. And what do you think about that? And I said, Well, you can, because there is perhaps a measure of psychological safety, that that will afford you. But also, every time that kid puts that backpack on, it's going to do two things. It's going to it may get you to a place of all thank God, they have this backpack. But also, oh my God, my kid has to wear this backpack. You got to do that first, before you get to the other thing, right? I equate it a lot to law enforcement officers who put on a bulletproof vest. Every morning, before they go to work. When you do that. Subconsciously, something is happening in your brain reminding you that you can get shot. Right now today, this can happen. And so every time you put that on, I'm sure you've heard they talk in law enforcement about the different colours, right? white, yellow, orange, red, you go from white in your house safe, feeling comfortable to putting on a bulletproof vest your yellow before you've said the morning to your children. The same is true here, I think. And so trying to understand that and trying to convey to people that not only can you do that, sir, that's a decision you can make. And also, at the school that we go to, there is a multidisciplinary community behavioural threat assessment team trained by the best team in the world. They're active in this stuff. And then if you tell your kid to report the behaviours of concern, it's actionable. You've given your kids a tool. When I when I my kids went to school this year, I have a 12 year old little girl who is in sixth grade, and an eight year old little boy in second grade. Both of them go to a school district here in Oregon, where that school district has been trained by the Salem Keizer team, they have a community based team and I am all about it like we will continue there, just because of that. But as you as you will know, at the beginning of the school year, it late summer, we had the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. And this was everywhere, and my kids are now old enough. They know what I do. They know the work that that I'm in, they've heard that I do active shooter training, sometimes for schools or whatever. And for those on, you know, they're listening, I did air quotes in our little video with Phil and I on active shooter training. But you know, this was the first year I had to talk to him about it. This was the first year that I had to have a real conversation with my children about what this looks like. You know, I've always said, Well, when your teacher tells you to hide, you got to hide. And, and when your teacher tells you to be quiet and locked down, you got to do that. And we talked about that. But this was the first year that my daughter who she's really really smart, scarily more than me, I think probably, it worries me because she's only 12. But she said, that face that you just made the people did not get to see like, of course, she's smarter than you. Very nice, Bill. This is why we got me. That's why we don't do video. Yeah, I see. But I'm, I'm you know, I'm letting everybody know what's happening behind the scenes here. I tell her all this, and my daughter says, My daughter says What can I do? Like what can I do to to help make these make this better? And I remember, like trying to think of some, like on the fly, right? I'm using all of my expertise and 20 years and a tap and all of this stuff to try and say, Well, if you just and honestly, I said baby, you need to be kind to people. You need to to be aware when someone is hurting, and you need to report it. You need to tell people, I think something's wrong with John. I think that behaviours are I think, you know, you know, when your brother's upset, you know, when I'm upset, you know, when your mom's upset? Those human behaviours that we all share. We know what it is. We just need to not be like well that his deal, he must be suffering from something, whatever, and be apathetic about it and leave it alone, we need to check in with our friends. And we need to report when when they're when something's wrong. And I know that that sounds so simple. But we do know that after all of these incidences, whether low level, or the catastrophic mass attack, that there are these puzzle piece pieces, I thought this, I saw this, I knew Johnny was this, and it all comes out every time afterwards. None of this stuff lives in a vacuum. And so just, you know, talking to people about that thing, those kids, my daughter doesn't need a bulletproof backpack, she needs a tool that allows her the freedom to do something to be empowered to do something, right. And that's the power there. See the thing that's scary, understand the difference, check in with your friends, talk to him about those things permeate an organisation. And those things start to create psychological safety. If someone reports and they know, I'm not going to get in trouble, the person that I'm reporting to, is not going to be punitive against the person I'm reporting about, those things start to begin and create a place of psychological safety and an organisation where you can go to your boss and say, Listen, I'm not doing well, I really need a day off or a week off, I need some help. I know that you guys have an EAP, you know, an employee assistance programme, counselling, services, all of this stuff there. But I need help with that. Places where that exists, will always be more productive, safer, and have as much psychological safety or more than they do physical safety. People want to be there. And so I think that's how we get there. I think that's how we get to a place of psychological safety. That was a big roundabout answer. But you said before this, I could ramble. I know. Because I know you do. Ramble, I let you get on with it. Yeah. So but I guess, I guess the other thing is, you know, we're in the age of reputation, our reputation is everything right now. And we talk about cancelled culture, and all these various sort of things. But we also know that if you don't look after your staff, and if you don't deal with these issues, there's a significant risk of your organisation, your school, your whatever it is the organisation, your pastor, of your church, etc. How they have reputation being harmed. And we know that good people will leave and go elsewhere, because they don't feel safe. And they don't believe you're doing anything about it. So they'll go elsewhere. And so they'll potentially talk badly about your reputation. And so, you know, when we're talking about the business case about, you know, why is this important as a business to deal with these things, then reputation is a key element of it, because of course, it affects the share price, it affects customers and clients and new people coming to that organisation. And I wonder whether that's part of the strategy for for encouraging people to think about the psychological safety, to think about why a threat assessment team is, is, is relevant or needed, or even just a Threat Assessment Consultant. You know, you don't need a whole team, but you might need a consultant because you're not maybe not big enough for a whole team. So we have to start talking in business language rather than, you know, sometimes human language is about money, the end of the day, it's going to affect how much money you make, if you don't do this. It's really true. I never even thought about, like the idea that in the ether away from your corporation or your organisation, people are talking about how, you know, they felt and how that relates to recruiting and retention. And I mean, that's, yeah, that's a whole nother level of those things that I think as practitioners again we know to be true. Now, how do we convey that how do we say it that that is that makes it real for the recruiting office or the HR division or the executive? Because it really is, it really should be I should say, that's, you know, that's the other the other qualifier here. It really should be the change agent, not the individual consultant. Not the thing but the but the organisation as a whole building this programmatic culture shift should be the change agent that allows us to start recognising how we recruit, how we retain how we say goodbye, how we care for the people that are there, and how we care for our clients and our visitors and all of that as well. Yeah, what an honour we have to be able to do this work. Even though sometimes it feels like we might be beating our head against the same wall saying the same things. When it hits when it works, it really, really is special. It really is impressive. So just as we come towards the end, and just briefly talk about how, you know, since you started foresight, what's the changes you've seen in the industry and in an in how business receives the industry, if you like? And where do you think you're gonna go next? Where's where's the sort of five year strategy for foresight? Or three years or whatever? What a good question about the strategy? I don't you know, the three, the the five year strategy, I think, I think is, for me, it's about doing good work. So I don't know that it's X amount of clients, or X amount of income, I don't, I think those things come when you're doing good work. So for us, it's kind of a practice what you preach model, what we want to do is create a safe place for our people, we want to create a place that allows them to do their best work, and allows them to voice their displeasure or grievance when they have one. And that we work diligently internally to solve those issues. And that we constantly communicate cross culturally, no one should be siloed, in a place where we're telling other people, you shouldn't have silos, right? We have to be the model by which we try to achieve this with our clients. And we're constantly working at it, that's, it's never going to be perfect. And we always need to be working at trying to achieve that kind of cross cultural communication. I do think the shift in the industry, and it can be amazing. And it can be very scary, is that threat assessment is a buzzword, the idea that threat assessments and you know, sometimes they don't even use the word behaviour. It's just threat assessment. And I'm not sure sometimes if people are talking about walking around a building to find vulnerabilities, doing a building's threat assessment, or if we're talking about the human behaviour component. But I, but I'm just not certain that with the buzzword with the stuff we're seeing, especially in the US and the news, after these shootings occur, that there's a level of fear mongering that is occurring by groups in the industry and people in the industry, and, you know, special interest groups that are trying to achieve their goal ever. That is no guns, more guns, lots of people, less people, whatever, it's all fear based. And we have to get the fear away from this, and go to a place of how do we best just take care of our people. And that's really our goal. That's it's our number one core value at Forsyth. All we want to do is provide better care for people through that everything else that we want to achieve as achievable physical security measures, you know, behavioural threat assessment teams, quality policies and procedures, workplace violence prevention programmes, amazing networking opportunities with dear friends, you know, across the pond, and, and globally. That's really what we're trying to achieve. And I am hopeful that one of two things occurs in the industry, either people recognise this is not what we do. And so we need to make sure we are partnering with the people that really do it. Or be, they then find themselves saying, I really want to do this. And rather than just saying yes to everybody, for the sake of that, because gosh, we need to make the money. They learned they actually immerse themselves in this work. I'm hopeful that that's what happens. I'm a bit of a cynic. I think, you know, we've hung out enough for you to know that while I have this lofty vision of better care for people and a better world. I'm a cynic. I'm still by personality, I land on the other end. But But I'm hopeful that that's what happens. And so if people want to reach out to you, Brian, and if people you know, certainly not necessarily in the US but wherever want to reach out to a foresight. How do they do that? Thanks for asking. Yeah. Um, they can go to foresight dash is our website, I'm all over LinkedIn as well. So if you can find Phil on LinkedIn, you can find me on LinkedIn because we're connected. And then obviously, you know, we, you know, they can email service at foresight dash And, and they'll be able to get a hold of us. And again, this is not just you know, this is not a marketing ploy here, if someone hears this and in the US and is looking for a place to go for threat knowledge, or, gosh, I want to get into the industry, how do I do that, please, please, please reach out. We are happy to help with that we are happy to to navigate and help guide people the right way, even if it's not with us. I'll make sure I put all those links anywhere on the on the show notes so that anyone who who does listen to this or download it, they've got those those notes, and we'll put it on our LinkedIn when we when we advertise this, which will be August. But for now, Brian until I see you soon, which I hope he's going to be very soon. Thank you. I should say we're recording this on the Fourth of July. So Happy Independence Day. Although of course, you're independent from us. I know that you miss us. I know that you miss us greatly. We have so much in common and yet we're so different. We'll have a great day. I know it's true. I know. It's early in the morning. So you haven't probably hadn't had a chance for a small drink yet. But have a lovely celebration today and enjoy the day. And thank you, you know for for being a guest and a mentor and a friend. And I look forward to seeing you very soon. Thank you, Phil. I'm so so grateful for our friendship. And I just think the world would view and so I really appreciate the opportunity to chat. I can't wait to do it again. Thank you, bro.