Shut your mouth and be the “Wise ‘ole Owl”

When I pledged my fraternity I had to memorize a poem called, “Wise ‘ole Owl”

There was an ole owl who sat on an oak

the longer he sat, the less he spoke

the less he spoke, the more he heard

why can’t I be like that wise ole bird

Speak intelligently, speak when spoken to, less is more, it’s better to be quiet and thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.  All of these sayings are common to each of us.  They play a fundamental part in our image of professionalism.

I had a specialist operating as a protective driver for a client in DC.  When he picked up the client and his wife at an FBO in VA the wife and client began speaking about a museum that she wanted to visit while in town.  The specialist felt it was necessary to impart his “alleged” wisdom in the conversation.  He was rudely corrected by the wife of the client.  At that point he had lost his professional edge with the ultimate boss in the car-THE WIFE.

I had another long-term detail in VA and assigned 2 guys as protective drivers to the protectee.  After 2 weeks on the detail I noticed that they were referring to him/her by first name.  I also observed them addressing him/her by first name in a conversation with the protectee.  I counseled them on this however it didn’t stop.  Less than a month later the client asked to terminate the contract and hire the 2 guys directly [refer to Catfish network blog].

Relax but don’t be lax.  Last story, we recently did a protective detail in DC for a huge anniversary special event.  The protectee was an extremely cordial individual.  His personality was hypnotizing.  It was my daily mission to keep all of the specilaists dialed in.  The protectee had a handler that he flew in, and his job was to keep the protectee on schedule as well as differ unnecessary taskings.  The protectees hypnotic personality somehow put one of my specialist in a trance.  The handler overheard a radio transmission whereby a call-sign was used.  He asked the specialist who we were talking about, and as in any magic sideshow he revealed the identity of the call-sign along with other call-signs being used.  That immediately lead to the next obvious question, “Why do ya’ll call him/her that?”  Followed by, “Whats mine?”

Cleints/Protectees are not here to be your friends.  Once you cross that line you loose your protective edge.  Additionally, the protective scope will broach those gray areas whereby their expectations of what you do and don’t do start to get vague.  As a friend their expectations are far different than that of the professional and what was dicatated in the Statement of Work.  It is my humble opinion that you can not be as effective in “Friendship protection” as you can by remaining the “Silent Professional”. For the business owners out there, be leary of persons that cross those lines.

I am in no way saying that specialists should be robots, however each of us has his/her own personality.  Just let your personality remain professional and business-like.  Anything short of that will get you a one-way ticket home on that short bus and your name on the Blacklist” 

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