(What’s it like on the front line supporting the firm’s clients?  What are the challenges the firm’s experts help senior business executives, general counsel, board members and other decision-makers address?  Welcome to ACTION WEDNESDAY.  Every Wednesday, the Front Line Blog publishes a new case study.)

If you are responsible for a shared services organization dedicated to supporting a U.S. professional sports league, how do you know that each venue is taking the proper precautions to protect the thousands of fans that attend each major event? You authorize a coordinated set of comprehensive security operations assessments. That’s what this entity did. It asked Hillard Heintze to conduct an assessment of the security and emergency preparedness capabilities currently in place at every one of its members’ sporting venues.

League-Wide Major Event Security Can Vary Widely By Venue

Over the course of several months, Hillard Heintze’s major event security experts visited dozens of the league’s sporting venues in nearly every U.S. state. The team evaluated the risks specific to each event location; met with stakeholders; reviewed all related documentation; observed and assessed game day operations; and submitted highly tailored recommendations to each franchise’s management team.  The team confirmed that while a few venues were addressing security strategy and emergency preparedness at a best practice level, most were not – and needed to take advantage of compelling opportunities to improve security and fan safety and better manage risks in cost effective ways.

Assessment Yields Insights – and Better Security Outcomes

At each one of these venues, management is better informed, not just about the risks, threats and vulnerabilities that confront their fans, players and employees but also on what actions, priorities and investments they need to take – now and over time – to advance the security of their operations.

Unplugged: The Project Manager’s Perspective

“It’s interesting. This opportunity was a highly sought after, very competitive proposal process – which required extremely competitive pricing. In spite of this, we didn’t cut a single corner. We’re talking dozens of arena locations. Across most states. A large engagement that extended for many months. Thousands of details. Intense rigor around our deliverables. I actually think we’re much harder on ourselves than our clients are.”

The ACTION TUESDAY Tool Box:  Three Key Take-Aways

  1. Get Insight: Don’t underestimate the value of an independent assessment of your major event location’s security and emergency preparedness capabilities.  The insights you gain can drive your investment and management priorities for years.
  2. Balance Your Approach: If you own or operate many locations, find a prudent balance between standardization of policies and procedures and local autonomy of the on-site security team in customizing approaches to site-specific conditions.
  3. Define Accountability – and Measure It: The assessment’s key findings only matter if someone does something with that information.  Decide who.  Set the schedule.  And follow up.