Tag Archive for: crisis

Microphone at a presidential rally

Analyzing the Downstream and Upstream Actions of Secret Service Agents in Protecting Trump

Secret Service breakdown at Trump rally shows the importance of upstream thinking.

I’m appalled by the assassination attempt on former President Trump, and I cannot help but think the violent rhetoric that’s entered our political discourse played a role. I hope people think more carefully before characterizing their opponents in existential terms.

As we get some distance from the event, I wanted to highlight the bravery of the Secret Service agents who did as they trained and protected Trump with their lives. The following bullet, had it been fired, would have hit one of them, wounding or possibly killing them. Thank goodness that did not happen. 

Their actions in response to the event were classic examples of corrective (killing the assailant) and remedial action (protecting Trump). These are downstream actions – reactions to something that already occurred. 

How was someone able to climb up a nearby building with a firearm and set up a firing position without being challenged or interdicted before being able to shoot? People reportedly noticed the assailant and tried to warn authorities for many minutes beforehand.  

Upstream vs. Downstream Thinking

The event suggests the Secret Service’s upstream action was inadequate. Some upstream actions avert adverse events or provide contingencies, while others promote or exploit positive possibilities. 

Preventive action, for example, is designed to prevent something from happening, like providing people with steps to safeguard campfires so they don’t become forest fires. A simple line-of-site tool could show the places with direct sites to the podium so you could place security or surveillance up to a certain distance. Drones could patrol overhead, and counter-drones could keep out intruders. Having security personnel easily identifiable also provides deterrence. 

Contingent actions, which you use to generate options in case a shooter emerges, could include easy reporting protocols (like sports stadiums use for people to report bad behavior), information sharing, and quick reaction forces. I hope an investigation gets to the ground truth and the Secret Service uses the experience to prevent another such attempt.

The takeaway for your business is to create a habit of upstream thinking—crisis prevention is less dramatic than crisis response and almost always less expensive. 

Fortunately, upstream thinking is a learnable skill that I can help you develop. It positions you to reduce risks and exploit favorable opportunities, putting you a step ahead of everyone else. Book a call with me to discuss ways to use upstream thinking.

Jeff Marquez

Jeff Marquez’s 4 part series in Hispanic Executive on “The Crisis Life Cycle: Where are you looking?”

Jeff Marquez authored a 4 part series in Hispanic Executive entitled “The Crisis Life Cycle: Where Are You Looking?” This series of articles covers working through a crisis and where to look to shape success. It can help assess your leadership, culture, and strategy.

Part 1: RAMP: React, Adjust, Manage, Prosper

Part 2: Engage Middle Management, Work On Your Business, Prepare for the New Normal

Part 3: Trust

Part 4: A New Culture Paradigm