How to turn non-performing EP program into a high-performing program 1024 683 ESLNA
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How to turn non-performing EP program into a high-performing program

Transforming a non-performing Executive Protection (EP) program into a high-performing one can be challenging but possible. The underlying objective of every EP program is to ensure the principal’s safety, productivity, and happiness. In most cases, the priority for these objectives remains the same even if the program is underperforming.

Rather than scrapping the program altogether, it’s time for a turnaround. In this blog, we explore Michael Watkins’ concepts of managing business and career transitions to describe the critical issues involved in turning around a corporate EP program that is underperforming.

The Transition Moving from a dysfunctional or unsatisfactory EP program to one that works, ideally keeping the principal and other key stakeholders happy.

Key Objectives Turn a non-performing EP program into a high-performing program.

Key Milestones

  1. Recognition that the EP program is non-performing.
  2. Correct assessment of the root causes of the problem(s)
  3. Creating a turnaround plan that prioritizes key issues and improvement steps
  4. Focus on early wins

Key Challenges

  1. Awareness: The first hurdle to overcome in a turnaround situation is recognizing the need for change. Moving people beyond denial to realize that there are problems – and that change is needed to correct these – is imperative. A SWOT analysis of the program with a focus on problem assessment is essential. Bringing in third-party expertise to conduct these analyses might be more effective than expecting those responsible for creating the situation to rectify it.
  2. Prioritizing the most critical pain points: It’s better to focus on the most critical reasons for the problems and then address them relentlessly throughout the turnaround. The turnaround plan should build on addressing these few core problems, and early wins should hinge on ameliorating their root causes.
  3. Stabilization: In most cases, the program must go on even while the analysis of the problems is taking place. Stabilizing a program while preparing to change it may bring challenges of its own.
  4. Creating a vision for the future: Giving people a realistic image of the light at the end of the tunnel allows them to embrace a shared vision – and to look forward rather than backward. It is important that the vision be clear and compelling, but not so detailed that the turnaround team paints itself into a corner that may be difficult to get out of as the process continues. Creating unrealistic expectations impinges on credibility.
  5. Building credibility: Trust in an EP program is one of the hardest things to rebuild once it has been undermined by poor performance. Therefore, managing expectations through thoughtful communication is essential in all EP turnarounds. Transparency around the turnaround process is important, and those tasked with the turnaround should be as open as possible.

Important Early Wins

  1. Creating consensus on the turnaround plan.
  2. Reorganizing for success.

Here are some tips that can help turn around a non-performing EP program:

  1. Be Proactive in Identifying Problems The first step in turning around a non-performing EP program is identifying the root causes of the problems. SWOT analysis is one of the most effective tools for identifying problems in the EP program. This process involves identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that are impacting the EP program. Identifying the underlying issues can provide insight into the necessary corrective measures to be taken.
  2. Prioritize Issues Trying to address all problems simultaneously can be counterproductive. It’s better to focus on the most critical issues and address them first. The turnaround plan should be centered around addressing these core issues. Early wins should also be based on ameliorating the root causes of the identified issues.
  3. Stabilize the Program The EP program must continue to function even while the turnaround is taking place. The ongoing measurement and course correction: Once the EP program is up and running as a high-performing unit, it is important to continually measure success and make adjustments as necessary. This can include regular evaluations of the program’s performance, feedback from the principle and other key stakeholders, and staying up-to-date with best practices and new technologies in the EP field.


Turning around a non-performing EP program can be a daunting task, but it is not impossible. By following a structured approach that includes recognizing the need for change, identifying the root causes of problems, prioritizing the most critical pain points, creating a vision for the future, building credibility, and focusing on important early wins, companies can successfully turn their EP program into a high-performing unit that delivers real value to the principle and other key stakeholders.

Remember that the key to success is to remain focused on the ultimate goal – the principle’s safety, productivity, and happiness. By keeping this objective in mind and engaging in ongoing evaluation and course correction, companies can ensure that their EP program continues to meet the needs of the principle and the organization as a whole, both now and into the future.