Executive Protection Institute

Executive Protection Institute

The risks of unconditional obedience in Executive Protection: the dangerous 'Yes Pattern'.

Executive Protection is probably the only profession based on habits and customs, improvisations, cognitive biases and very few serious studies and research. The profession was able to function this way for decades in many countries, since nothing happened and the inefficiency and danger of this pseudo methodology was not seen. Unfortunately, Mexico is no longer one of these countries and in the last year alone, 9 executives and 15 of their escorts were murdered here.

One of the concepts contributing to this disastrous outcome is undoubtedly
the "Si Patron". In this concept, the escorts basically follow the executive, do what he or she tells them to do, without having any influence over the attitudes and/or activity of the protégé, some of whom exponentially raise their risks making it impossible to protect them. As demonstrated by the aforementioned 24 unfortunate deaths in Mexico in the last year.

The deadly "Yes Pattern" methodology is based on three premises that are wholly or partially fallacious:

1. We are hired to make the executive's life easier.
2. He who pays the piper calls the tune. The executive will not accept suggestions, since he pays and what he wants is done.
3. We cannot change the executive's lifestyle.

These arguments would seem convincing if it were not for the disastrous results of their application. But let us analyze:

1. We are not hired to make executives' lives easier, but to manage and reduce their risks. While it is true that many of our activities as a "by product" make the executive's life easier, this is not our main objective. We are hired because a security study showed that the executive is vulnerable to certain risks, which he himself understands and accepts, and we are implementing the necessary measures to mitigate them. Otherwise, we would be called "executive hostesses" and not executive protection. However, it is true that many executive comfort activities that we can perform help reduce risks as we explain in this video:

but there are also many other activities of the same nature that can increase risks if carried out indiscriminately.

2. In executive protection, "he who pays the piper calls the tune" does not apply. Our profession is the activity where lives depend on the protectors in the same way that the lives of the passengers depend on the pilot of an airplane, and no passenger gives orders to the pilot on how to steer the aircraft, even though they paid for the ticket, or even if it were the owner of the airline himself.

3. No one is trying to change the lifestyle of executives, only to make the necessary logistical adjustments to manage their risks. These are two very different things. Here are some examples: businessman Adolfo Lagos was murdered in 2017 when his escorts were trying to defend him from an assault while riding his bicycle on a route with high rates of this crime. Changing his lifestyle would be to have told him to stop cycling. Suggesting a route with lower crime rates would be a logistical adjustment that reduces the risks only without affecting the lifestyle itself. Businessman Martin Rodriguez was murdered in 2021 as he left the gym. Changing the lifestyle would be to have told him to stop going to the gym. Suggesting other facilities that do not involve as much "sewing" would be a logistical adjustment only. (Of course, apparently in the latter case many other things would be required).

The list of unfortunate deaths caused in whole or in part by the "Si Patron" concept is very long. This is why modern Executive Protection starts with establishing the client's own collaboration. Of course, this requires a new set of skills which are communication, negotiation and persuasion of the user, something very different from the reactive skills traditionally associated with our profession.

Executives, for the most part, are intelligent and capable people who understand the reasons and well-founded concepts. This is a process of negotiation and acceptance by conviction, not imposition. At least, these are our experiences of operating with executives in LATAM for almost 30 years. Of course, there will always be colleagues who can't, don't know, don't want to or simply are not interested in this type of work. However, from what we have seen in Mexico in the last year alone, achieving collaboration with the executive has no alternative to save lives, both of the protected and the protectors.