A company can have a clear vision for the future, a well articulated business plan, effective operational processes/methodologies, and flawless execution supported by competent management and clear policies. Yet for a company to achieve sustainability and growth, it is critical that the personnel are competent and they demonstrate uncompromising reliability.

Unfortunately, a company may err in not conducting a sufficient level of due diligence in the hiring process, failing to provide oversight of critical personnel and systems of accountability, or simply ignoring some of the “red flags” which contribute to inefficiencies, internal losses and/or increased liability for the company. All it takes is one bad actor – a dishonest manager, a disgruntled or defiant employee, an unstable team member, a womanizer at any level or one volatile incident to erupt for a person or entity to get hurt, suffer a monetary setback and/or become involved in a civil law suit.

On the front end, various levels of Merger & Acquisition, Pre-Investment and/or Pre-Employment investigations exist as a means to identifying historically filed records, documents and intelligence which allow us to establish character, credibility and the propensity to do harm to a company, themselves or others. When conducted preemptively, we become armed with critical information to use as a guide when deciding whom we will do business with, who will represent our products and services best and who will manage our business operations with integrity and in a responsible, consistent manner.

Once the professional relationship has been established and all questions relative to financial reporting, KPIs, deliverables, etc. have been addressed, monitoring this criteria and the activities associated with this department becomes key to ensuring a productive and profitable working relationship. For example, most professionals in the role of New Business Development are often extended a significant amount of latitude in schedule, depending on the industry of course. In our experiences, professionals who are extended this degree of latitude can be unproductive, deceptive in their reporting and when it is discovered that they are conducting business on the side for themselves or with a competitor, create a direct, negative financial impact on the employer’s bottom line.

Per a discussion I had last week with a colleague in the business, there is no shortage of white collar and blue collar “rip off scenarios” in corporate America. Many of the blue collar scenarios involve theft of inventory, product, materials, supplies, services, company time, etc. Once discovered, this should be investigated for the purposes of bringing clarity to the matter, quantifying monetary losses, identifying those involved parties, obtaining admissions, affidavits, confessions, restitution, and/or making the decision to terminate and/or file criminal charges. Typically, this is done through a variety of investigative methodologies including the collection of server and/or computer data, analysis of targeted data, intelligence and/or email exchanges, obtaining profile and status detail on businesses of interest and background information on select individuals, covert, mobile surveillance of executives, managers, field staff and/or employees, fleet/product tracking, and on-site interviews.

Having been very fortunate to work on a host of civil, corporate, criminal, insurance, financial, political, family, etc. investigations since 1985, I try to look earnestly at the work that we do as Investigators. Outside of the services that we provide to clients and the revenues that we are able to generate for our respective businesses, our staffs and their loved ones, is the world truly a better place as a result of the private investigative profession?

Are we making a living for the purposes of supporting ourselves, our loved ones and the lifestyle we have chosen? This is certainly honorable and can be very rewarding, and is exactly what many of us envision when we think of the “American Dream”.

Also, are we making a difference in the lives of others through the work we do? Deliberately or not, we will all leave some form of a legacy behind for our loved ones, for those we work with and for those who may take an interest in the work we do. It is in the genuine compassion and unwavering tenacity to establish truth, source and origin that brings dignity and peace of mind to those we are fortunate to serve in an investigative capacity.

We are grateful to all of our clients and friends that have helped us achieve our best quarter in agency revenues in Q1 2014, since 2011. May we as Investigators strive every day for nothing less than making a living and a difference in the lives of others through the profession that we embrace.