Staying Informed: Is It Really That Important?

If it wasn’t your company, would it matter to you which retailers were breached over the last six months, or how it has impacted their business? Do the latest statistics or industry trends really change the way you approach your job? Does it really matter whether or not you were able to attend an industry conference this year? How does a cargo theft or robbery halfway across the country influence what happens in your back yard? How many times do we need to hear that credit card fraud is a problem in the stores? How often do we need to read about the latest technological gadget or industry training seminar? Are you as informed as you should be? Does it matter, and why should it matter to you?
We all know what the answers are supposed to be. But is that a true reflection of how we really feel? If we’re honest with ourselves, the answers might not play out the same way. We might think that it doesn’t matter whether or not we could have learned or gained anything by attending an industry conference because we didn’t have the opportunity to attend. We may rationalize that industry problems are only important when they occur within our own companies. We can believe that some problems are going to exist no matter what we do, and we may just be spinning our wheels. We can minimize the importance of progress or squander the opportunity to learn for any number of self-serving reasons. In some way, shape, or form, we’re all guilty of this way of thinking at some point.
That’s not necessarily an indictment of our character or a reflection on our work ethic. It’s just that none of us are that good. None of us are that informed. We get tired. We get busy. We get to a point where we suffer from information overload and just can’t seem to accept one more piece of information. We disengage and get involved in some other aspect of our lives. Some of us may have a greater desire or make a bigger effort. Some of us may have a higher capacity for absorbing the information. But we simply can’t, don’t, or won’t be that informed. We may make the effort, but no matter what we’re told or what is preached to us, it’s just not in our nature or capability to know or learn everything that we should.

A Tool for Every Job

So, what do we do? It isn’t a revelation for any of us to hear that information is important. Of course we understand the value of staying informed, and how these events and this information will directly or indirectly impact all of us. We know that information is power in many different ways. In response, what each of us does is set priorities. We determine what is most important to learn. We look at what’s most valuable to us, we consider our options, and we make decisions. But fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it—there’s a tremendous amount of information that we must sort through, decipher, and absorb. Therefore, we seek out tools to help us manage this plethora of information and decide what is most valuable. And that’s where social media gives us a boost. That’s why digital dialogue is so critical.
Social media is an ever-evolving collection of online tools, platforms, and applications that enable all of us to interact with one another and share information. By using web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue, it creates an effective channel for individuals and groups of people to connect, interact, create, and share. The question then becomes, are you using the right tools? Are you taking full advantage of the tools that are available to you?
If you couldn’t attend a conference that interested you, did you visit the conference website? Often, many of the presentations are made available following the presentations, which was the case for the primary conferences held thus far this year. LP Magazine also shared newsletters and videos as well as content on the app and home page to help keep you informed of these events. There were other media outlets as well.
Have you signed up for the LP Magazine app? Do you receive our weekly newsletters? Are you a member of the “Powered by LP Magazine” group on LinkedIn? Are you a member of any LinkedIn groups? There are more than fifty groups dedicated to loss prevention alone that can provide you with regular postings and emails designed to keep you informed on critical topics. What about Facebook or Twitter? These and others can provide fast, effective, and focused information as well as network building.
Now let’s take a moment to pause for the excuses, since this is where they start to flow.
■ I don’t have time. Really? These tools are designed to gather important and relevant information and present that content to you in a way that is convenient, easy, organized, and swift. Are you really that busy that you don’t have time to read a headline and make a decision as to whether an article might hold value? Are those two seconds really that critical to your everyday work schedule? Sorry. You do have to open it up to take a look. We’ll stretch it to five seconds.
■ I don’t need or want another app on my phone. Would that be because “Angry Birds” or “Candy Crush” is that much more valuable to your professional growth? If there are really so many apps on your phone that it’s difficult to manage, maybe there’s another issue. There’s a reason that it’s called a smartphone. Think about it.
■ It’s just another email that I have to manage. If the topic of an email doesn’t hold interest or value to you, just hit “delete.” We all do it every day. But the content we’re referencing is professionally-based, and focused on subjects directly related to what you do for a living. What if the topic does hold interest or value? What if it makes you better or makes your life easier? Isn’t it much wiser to allow yourself the option?
■ I’m just not that interested. At least it’s an honest answer. But keep in mind the power of information. Access to information is half the battle. This approach is not information management—it’s information avoidance; and there are potential consequences.
Leaders pride themselves on making informed decisions. This is an opportunity to make an informed decision about information. What choice will you make? If you have a strong argument for not remaining informed, we’d love to hear it. In fact, we’d be happy to discuss it in our digital media, discussion groups, or our next column in the print magazine. The stage is yours.

Diversity Remains the Norm

Once again our news stories have been diverse and worldwide. For example, six suspects were charged with operating an illegal prescription drug ring out of a Bronx grocery store. In Sydney, Australia, a five-day operation targeting shoplifters resulted in the arrest of 110 people. A shoplifter was stripped naked and beaten in Ghana. A U.S. corporation claimed that a former software engineer stole the company’s technology and used it to help a rival company in China. Over four hundred counterfeit items were seized from a California sporting goods store. A fugitive fraudster involved in a multi-million-pound scam was arrested in the United Kingdom. Over $1 million worth of merchandise that was stolen as part of a cargo-theft operation was recovered in Toronto. To round out our international field, we also had a runway model who has appeared in fashion shows for an Argentine clothing designer charged with shoplifting junk food and three boxes of Pop-Tarts in a Manhattan court.

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Kudos to the Conferences

Especially considering the demands of the audience, our conference hosts in 2014 worked hard to offer content that was current, relevant, and important to the attendees. Our presenters found creative ways to introduce the subjects and engage the audience, and the attendees served as attentive and active participants in the sessions. Many of the presenters, participants, and solution providers have graciously agreed to provide additional content through both our digital channels and print magazine, which we look forward to bringing to you over the coming months.

Dog Days of Summer

Finally, we have a compelling story that involved a dumb crook…and a smart dog. Following a report that the man had shoplifted a burrito from an area store, an officer approached the suspect and attempted to place him into custody. A fight ensued, and the officer deployed his K-9 partner to assist with the arrest. During the fight, the suspect reached into his pocket and pulled out a handgun. At this point, the K-9 bit onto the arm of the suspect so that he couldn’t fire the weapon. When the officer saw the firearm he then drew his duty weapon and fired, striking the suspect, who died at the scene.
What drives a man to risk that much over a burrito? It’s another striking reminder that there is no such thing as a “routine” shoplifter apprehension, and no limits to the depths of poor decisions. Perhaps a more difficult question is where would we be without the support and loyalty of our four-legged companions on the police force? Let’s hope that the officer stopped for T-bones on the way back to the station.

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