This issue of Communication Command contains an interview about the importance of corporate security services, as well as an article about executive communication coaching. We hope you will enjoy our e-Newsletter.
July / August
C4CS® Senior Partner Dianne Chase officially assumed the role of International Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) at IABC's 2016 World Conference in New Orleans. If you would like to visit her IABC Chair blog, please click on this link. IABC has more than 10,000 members and is currently represented in about 70 countries. The photograph above shows Dianne as she addresses conference attendees.
New Strategic Partner Company
BC in the Cloud and C4CS® have entered into a strategic partnership. BC in the Cloud is a fully integrated Risk, Business Impact Analysis, Planning and Recovery platform that is extremely easy to use. With simple drag and drop functionality BC in the Cloud can easily be customized to meet client requirements immediately with no need for vendor assistance or customer support.

Storytelling Book
C4CS® Senior Consultant Gideon For-mukwai's book "The Science of Story Selling: How to Win the Hearts & Minds of Your Prospects for Profit and Purpose" is available on Amazon. For more information please click on this link.

Issues Management Seminar
C4CS® Managing Partner Oliver S. Schmidt recently conducted an Issues Management Seminar at Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin) in Germany. The session focused on key issues management concepts and included case study material, role play, and group discussion.
Please contact us at if you would like to have a senior member of C4CS® make a presentation for your organization.
C4CS® Senior Partner Dianne Chase was recently interviewed by Time Warner Cable News in regard to the U.S. National Whitewater Center's temporary suspension of whitewater rafting and whitewater kayaking. Please click here if you would like to watch the corresponding news report.
Our next e-Learning course on 'Harnessing the Power of Social Media in Crisis Management' will be conducted November 14 through November 25, 2016. Congratulations to those who completed the course work and obtained a Certificate in Social Media Crisis Management Planning accredited by ICOR. The course brochure can be downloaded via this link.
If you have questions concerning this e-Learning course, please contact us at
Communication Command e-Newsletter
Please click here if you would like to access past issues of our e-Newsletter.
Five Questions about the Importance of Corporate Security Services

Richard Beckett is President of Clearwater Security International, LLC (CSI), which specializes in asset protection, counter-terrorism, high risk event and executive security, domestic and international intelligence collection, security training, and other areas.

Richard Beckett

What is your role at Clearwater Security International and what type of engagements does your company take on?

As the founder and president of CSI, I lead the company and see to it that we meet or exceed our clients' expectations. I am often involved in engagements from the start and focus on areas such as project planning, manpower selection and execution, and monitoring progress. We have a diverse team comprised of former career U.S. Secret Service, FBI and DHS agents and security engineers, CIA and NSA intelligence and operations specialists, U.S. Military Special Operations personnel, and former state and local law enforcement and emergency services professionals. Our team has both domestic and international security, investigative, intelligence, and cyber experience, with “real life” experience on the front lines of the U.S. war on terrorism and the corporate world.

Our engagements have ranged from managing high-risk events, which include the 1997 and 2001 Presidential Inaugurations; evacuating corporate personnel in harm’s way; and conducting in-depth investigations to help corporations uncover threats to their brand, products, and personnel. We have also conducted major due diligence, as well as internal and external fraud investigations, and we have the ability to track assets in over 150 countries.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we dispatched a team of investigators, cybersecurity experts, and special operations personnel to help protect and recover the remaining assets of a “Big Four” accounting firm, a major telecommunications company, and a utility. This team was also responsible for assisting with the major claims for damage as well as the protection of personnel. In addition, we assisted our clients with a review of their disaster recovery plans incorporating “lessons learned” from this horrible disaster. In 2008, we provided protection for two Presidential candidates during their run for the Presidency.

What do you believe to be the most critical security issues facing companies today?

There are many security issues facing businesses today, and too may to list and discuss here. However, our top concerns across all industries include workplace violence and active shooter situations, cyber threats, domestic and foreign terrorism, and political and civil unrest. Let’s take a closer look.

Workplace violence is continually one of the top five client concerns. Our experience has taught us that companies that are prepared may still suffer, but not at the level of companies that fail to prepare. However, in many cases the violence could have been prevented with proper planning and training.

Another key concern is cyber threats. With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), estimates show over six billion devices connected to the internet in 2016 and predictions of 20 billion by 2020. Any of these devices with access to a business network or employee computer create opportunities for security breaches. Considering that the average cost of corporate data breaches in 2015 was in the millions, cyber threats are becoming one of the greatest financial risks of any business that utilizes information technology.
Cyber attacks have been conducted by criminal organizations, hacktivists, business competitors, and even employees. The methods used in these attacks range from brute force hacking to malicious e-mails and malware, and go as far as elaborate social engineering schemes that target employees in order to acquire network credentials and passwords. The recent rise in ransomware attacks using Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, and Reveton has resulted in full data loss in some cases. In 2015, companies paid out many millions to cyber criminals in order to receive the information needed to unlock their data. This type of attack has also magnified the issue of what security procedures and measures companies have in place after being compromised.
The increase in telecommuting and mobile devices has decreased the physical security of corporate networks. Companies today must educate and train all their employees as well as institute rules and policies that protect the company from their employees’ home computers and mobile devices. This is also true for company clients and vendors. In the well known Target Corporation data breach, the attackers infected the retailer's Pennsylvania based HVAC vendor with general purpose malware known as Citadel through an email phishing campaign and subsequently used the stolen credentials to steal the data of 70 million Target customers and 40 million credit and debit cards.
We believe that many companies could have mitigated their data breach with better planning and controls. The use of a red team, which stands for an independent group that challenges the organization's digital infrastructure as an attacker would, is an effective tool in identifying weaknesses that need to be addressed.
And there is of course terrorism. Our concern is that governments across the globe do not have a workable strategy to win the war against ISIS. Sporadic responses to attacks have failed to stop the growing threat, and the U.S. and other countries remain vulnerable to a catastrophic attack that could cause major disruptions to business operations.
While radical Islamic groups are a serious threat, the number of antigovernment groups and armed militias in the U.S. has skyrocketed to almost 1,400 groups in 2012, up from 149 in 2008. This growth presents a big issue for U.S. businesses and should be addressed in domestic and foreign contingency plans.
Political and civil unrest is another area that requires corporations' close attention. Whether it is civil or political unrest, the internet has enabled protests to evolve from merely handing out a few hundred fliers to the capability to reach millions of people with the push of a button. Each day, 350 million Snapchat messages are sent.
Still another security concern has to do with the dramatic increase in “professional protesters.” These are people who get paid by the backers of an opposition movement. Professional protesters are usually provided with an agenda and their job is to “stir the pot.” When we provided security for several high-risk events in the Washington, DC area, it became apparent that numerous protesters had been present at other events that had no connection. It is fairly easy to identify well-financed protest activities by the quality and similarity of the signs, logos, shirts, etc. Businesses need to take this into consideration when developing plans to address unwanted disruptions to business operations.
Companies need to identify and assess all possible risks and develop plans to prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from potential adversarial events. Once a robust plan is in place, the next step is to conduct training to test and validate the plan. Organizations that have effective business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place usually develop their plans with the assistance of professional firms.

What role has Clearwater Security International played in helping companies in crisis situations?

We have significant experience helping companies in crisis situations. For many years, we have been the “fire fighter” for crisis management firms such as C4CS®. We routinely assist by providing critical information that supports scenario building and decision making and enables the crisis management firms we work with to better advise their clients before, during and after adversarial situations. Here are a few examples of what we have done:
We were repeatedly retained by a crisis management firm to work with them on behalf of a candy manufacturer. In several cases, the media was running stories that a child choked on and died due to a toy that was included with their candy. After an in-depth investigation, we provided evidence that incriminated one of the candy company’s competitors. In one unique case, management knew right away that the story was false because the toy that had allegedly harmed a child had not yet been manufactured.
In another situation, our firm was brought into a case by a crisis management firm representing a major energy company. That company was under attack by protesters and media claiming that a new product was causing pregnant woman to have miscarriages. Several of the protesters and messages used against the energy company were traced to an independent PR consultant, and further investigation led to a key competitor.
Another time, we received a call from a crisis management firm at 11 p.m. They wanted us to participate in a conference call with their client as soon as possible. The client was experiencing a crisis with one of their operating units in a hostile environment where a coup was underway. The company wanted to have its employees evacuated before they became victims to the hostilities. Within eight hours we had rented a Falcon 200 jet and had a team of Special Operations personnel headed to the scene. Through our intelligence contacts we arranged to land our plane on a military base rather than the public airport, which was under the control of a hostile group. We had also arranged to have Red Cross vehicles waiting for our team to pick up employees. We rescued all of the employees just as the facility was set on fire. Because many of the employees were not U.S. citizens, we made arrangements to take everyone to a friendly country where first aid and psychological help were provided. 

What has been your experience in working with firms that specialize in crisis management?

Being a full-service security and intelligence firm has been beneficial to the crisis management firms with which we collaborate. In complete confidentiality we can provide executive protection, investigative and intelligence services, cybersecurity, special operations personnel, physical security surveys, and other services.

The crisis management firms we work with bring together the information and assets they need to determine the best course of action for mitigating or eliminating a problem for their clients. In most cases of working with crisis management firms, their involvement significantly reduced the exposure to their clients. Just as companies turn to tax experts, outside counsel, and a number of other experts on a regular basis, firms that specialize in crisis management, crisis communication, and related disciplines have earned a reputation for providing the best advice in challenging situations.

Does Clearwater Security International have experience in advising companies on how to prepare for workplace violence including active shooter situations?

We have an impressive group of staff members that have provided workplace violence consulting and training including active shooter simulations to clients.
Our staff includes former members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, Large City Police SWAT Team, SEAL Team Six, U.S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team, as well as behavioral psychologists. In tandem with crisis management firms we assist companies in planning for these and many other critical events in order to improve organizational resilience in an increasingly important area.

Many Corporate Leaders Lack Communications Skills - and Executive Comms Coaching Is On the Rise
This article was written by C4CS® Managing Partner Oliver S. Schmidt and published by Bulldog Reporter on March 29, 2016. Please click here to access the article on the Bulldog Reporter website.

Have you ever worked with an executive who had stellar credentials but lacked the communication skills to match? If so, you are not alone. Formalized business education and training typically pay little attention to advancing individual communication skills. And even though more and more companies are acknowledging that organizational communication plays a vital role in strengthening competitiveness and enabling prolonged economic success, many managers remain ineffective communicators.


This is a serious problem because no matter how brilliant a market analyst, legal mind, sales wizard or financial strategist an executive may be, without the skills to effectively motivate, inspire, persuade, communicate expectations, listen to, connect with the rest of the organization and lead, no manager can be truly successful. Time and time again, empirical research has confirmed this dilemma and identified communication competency as the number one prerequisite for developing into a strong leader.

Due to comprehensive performance reviews and stakeholder feedback, companies are increasingly aware of their leaders’ communication strengths and weaknesses. However, recognizing that there is a problem is the easy part. Solving it is the much greater challenge.

The good news is that effective communication skills can be learned and continuously improved through training and repeated practice that is customized to fit the executive’s needs. This is also true concerning managers who believe they have little natural ability and therefore a higher apprehension level and comparatively low self-confidence when it comes to executive communication. An executive communication coach can provide the expertise and guidance necessary to enable managers to reach their potential. Whether it is interpersonal or group communication, media interview skills, or effective listening techniques, an experienced communication coach can help even naturally gifted executives progress by implementing a coaching plan focused on the individual’s specific needs.
While some managers may at first be hesitant to tackle communication issues, one-on-one communication coaching can bring about significant positive change, for the individual as well as for the organization. Many of those who have worked with a communication coach have experienced quick career advancement and continued success in senior management positions due to their ability to translate concepts and ideas into positive business results and consistently display a higher level of leadership through effective communication.
One-on-one executive communication coaching has traditionally been conducted face-to-face. However, modern technology such as video conferencing has created new delivery methods which allow the communication coach to work with executives remotely without diminishing coaching quality or effectiveness. Experienced communication coaches have hence seen an increase in the use of tools such as Skype and WebEx in recent years, and executive coaching assignments that involve frequent communication across national borders and even continents are no longer a rarity.
Because practice makes perfect, sufficient time must be dedicated to practice performances in a controlled environment that are recorded and subsequently reviewed and analyzed by the coach and the coachee. This scenario applies to all aspects of executive communication—a long list that includes public speaking, interpersonal and group communication, conveying information clearly, active listening, overcoming communication apprehension, message analysis and message development, providing constructive feedback, effectively utilizing social media, communicating in times of crisis, articulating values and vision and driving results, conducting successful media interviews, managing productive meetings, proper use of email communication, writing well, influencing behavior and motivating to action, managing conflict, improving vocal and physical delivery and executive presence, communicating under pressure, and more.
Careful review and critique of the executive’s real life communication is equally important. If, for example, the communication coach is unable to observe the executive’s presentation to a large group of employees, financial analysts, or conference attendees in person, assessment and discussion of the recorded video or audio footage will be a key component of the next coaching session. The objective is to build upon natural communication ability as well as to eliminate unwanted tendencies in order to identify and develop an authentic communication style. This will be achieved provided individual strengths and weaknesses are properly recognized, analyzed, and utilized or corrected over time.
Of course, it is important to select the right communication coach. In-house human resources, corporate training and communication professionals will likely be in a good position to facilitate this process. There has to be mutual respect and open communication, and both the manager and the communication coach must agree upon parameters such as goals, confidentiality requirements, and timelines upfront.
A personalized executive coaching approach always includes a confidential assessment interview followed by at least three main coaching sessions with the senior manager. However, today a growing number of executives receive communication coaching over a period of more than one year. Regardless of engagement length and the number of coaching sessions, the overarching goal is to not only improve executive communication performance, but to increase confidence and strengthen leadership skills.
Motivated managers may hire a communication coach on their own, but savvy companies realize that honing management’s communication skills has a positive impact on corporate culture as well as the bottom line. As a result, the cost of enabling managers to become the best communicators and leaders they can be through customized executive communication coaching is correctly viewed as a wise investment.
If you have any questions concerning this article, please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Food For Thought

"As history has proven, a lot of
seemingly benign situations have
quickly evolved into major emergencies."

Martin Kleinschmidt


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Leaders in Strategic Communication
and Crisis Management