​Four Ways of Looking at Events to Inform Your Strategy

Jeff Tiegs |


In the counter terrorism profession, most of what we do involves looking for patterns and trends. We draw conclusions from those patterns and use them to help us predict the time and place where we should confront our enemies. Getting this right can be the difference between mission success and failure, and even life and death on a target. Things are usually not this dramatic in the counter trafficking world or in the business world, but getting it right remains of paramount importance.

Applying four simple questions to events that are impacting your success can be very helpful for maximizing your strategic gains. When we look for patterns and trends and try to predict where they are heading, our strategy becomes more forward leaning and adaptive.

  1. Can you identify a pattern? (Past)
  2. Can you identify a trend? (Present)
  3. Where do you think it is headed? (Future)
  4. What must change? (Strategy)

Let’s use Guardian Group’s StratOp as an example. Guardian Group has a two-pronged offensive approach that is designed to be through relationships with local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys where we provide information and operational support in the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of sex predators.

Guardian Group’s defense is through providing training and consulting to corporations and communities, so they can identify and report the indicators of sex trafficking when they encounter it. The Guardian Seal training course is specifically designed for the Hospitality Industry to be better equipped to join in the fight to protect children and disrupt trafficking where it hides.

The table is a summary of our analysis. We combined Patterns and Trends into one column for ease of viewing with the more meaningful insights following in the other two columns.

Can You Identify a Pattern? (Past):

When looking at historical data on sex trafficking in the United States and comparing it to the current state of things, we are able to draw some patterns and trends.

  • As the public becomes more aware of the breadth, depth, and nature of this crime, they are demanding changes in legislation to better protect victims and deter traffickers.
  • Lawsuits are increasing against traffickers and the industries that are both wittingly and unwittingly supporting this crime. Hotels are an example where criminals are taking advantage of the safety, security, and privacy that hotels afford their guests and manipulating those qualities for their own gain.
  • Disappointingly, as public awareness of trafficking is rising, some law enforcement agencies are divesting manning and financial resources from their Human Trafficking Task Forces as they are not realizing (or accurately measuring) the results they expected.



Can You Identify a Trend? (Present):

  • As Guardian Group becomes more known, citizens, academics, law enforcement, and district attorneys are reaching out to us more and more.
  • As our reputation grows and as awareness about trafficking grows, access to donors that may want to invest in our mission and vision is growing.
  • With few exceptions, Guardian Group hires retired veterans from the US Special Operations Forces community. The fact the we are veterans and provide employment for SOF veterans within their unique skill set is also a point of interest for public and private support.

Where Do You Think It Is Headed? (Future):

  • As lawsuits become more prevalent, changes will have to be made that will better protect the innocent and shift the liability of this crime to the predators and traffickers where it belongs.
  • Law enforcement and district attorneys will look for techniques, tactics, procedures, and methodologies that are impactful in safeguarding victims and exposing the traffickers.
  • Guardian Group needs to have the systems in place, so we can scale appropriately and are prepared to meet the coming demand for services.
  • As all of these positive things begin to happen, the perpetrators will find newer and more discreet ways to continue exploiting victims.

What Must Change? (Strategy):

  • Guardian Group must keep up and stay on front edge of this fight, keeping pace with legislation as well as technical solutions to combat trafficking
  • Insurance companies need to get involved to incentivize hotels, and businesses, to better protect themselves and their clients
  • Guardian Group needs to continually prepare to scale while guarding against mission creep

Hopefully the Guardian Group example resonates with you and you can draw parallel examples to your own mission, vision, and strategy. We recognize that we have a very unique operating model, but the process outlined in “Four Ways of Looking at Events to Inform your Strategy” even works for us.

I want to encourage you to take a second look at the other articles in this series and use the tools to help your team and your strategy become more effective.

Author’s Note - When I set out to write a few articles about Guardian Group, planning, strategy, leadership, and our recent work with Paterson StratOp, I did not intend to develop a theme of combining ideas and concepts into four parts. Honestly, it just happened. Looking ahead, again without intentional design, the next few articles will continue to follow this pattern. I am not trying to do it, but I am not fighting it either. Hopefully it is becoming a familiar and comforting theme with each entry.

Guardian Group (www.theguardiangroup.org) complements resource-constrained law enforcement, ensuring sex-trafficking safe-havens are disrupted and eliminated. We currently operate in over 20 states and have completed hundreds of successful sex-trafficking engagements in direct support of law enforcement and families that need our help. We are in the process of developing strategic partnerships with worldwide and world-class organizations that understand the social and business benefits of tackling this exponentially increasing social injustice. Guardian Group is a non- profit that hires retiring U.S. Veterans from Army Special Operations Forces, specifically those within the intelligence, analytical, and tactical divisions of the force.

Paterson Center (https://patersoncenter.com/ ) StratOp is a strategic system that helps your team clarify where you are, where you’re headed, and how to get there. It’s used by organizations big and small, from billion-dollar global corporations to entrepreneurs and startups. Many companies are not focused around a central plan, and many leaders are left wondering how to maximize potential. With StratOp, your entire team will be focused around the same unique mission and vision, and will have a clear plan to make that vision a reality.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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