Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

Volume 9 No. 6                                                                                     June 2017

In This Issue
Featured Video
Blog Highlights
The Leadership Challenge
Consulting Transitions
Featured Article
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner
Join My Mailing List
Featured Video
Laki Volcano, Iceland 1783
Laki Volcano, Iceland 1783

The Eyjafjallaj√∂kull eruption in Iceland in 2010 briefly reminded us that disasters can have impacts well beyond the immediately affected area. But can those effects be so extreme that they alter history? The answer can be found in the Laki eruption in Iceland in 1783. The ash cloud produced famine around the world and may have helped cause the French Revolution. Some experts estimate that some 2 million people died worldwide as a result of the eruption. 

(Note: This video begins repeating itself at about 5:35)
Blog Highlights

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The following are excerpts from my blog
Canton on Emergency Management. Please visit my blog to see the rest of my articles.  

Just like life, disasters can be cyclical with one event sowing the seeds for the next one ...

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If you are having trouble accessing these articles, go directly to the blog by clicking either the logo or the green "Visit my blog" button.
EM Blog Masthead

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The following are excerpts from my blog, Managing Crisis, published by Emergency Management Magazine. Please visit my blog to see the rest of my articles.

Is it possible to predict the future needs of first responders? A DHS-sponsored project thinks so.

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Leadership Coaching

What Is The Leadership Challenge?

Is leadership a learned behavior or an innate personality trait? While there are certainly naturally charismatic individuals who are considered "born leaders", leadership is a measurable set of behaviors that can be learned and taught. This is the conclusion arrived at by researchers Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner after years of rigorous research. Starting in 1982, Kouzes and Posner set out to understand what happened when leaders performed at their personal best. They conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed hundreds of cases studies and survey questionnaires. What emerged were five fundamental practices common to extraordinary leadership achievements:
  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart
The Leadership Challenge begins with a 360-degree assessment of thirty leadership behaviors associated with the five practices, the Leadership Practices Inventory. The results are used to identify opportunities for improving as a leader by increasing the frequency of specific behaviors. Based on over thirty years of research, the Leadership Challenge is an effective and practical tool for leadership development.
To find out more about the  Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership , consider taking  The Leadership Challenge . Just click on the icon below for more information:
Click here to take The Leadership Challenge

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
by James M. Kouzes 

The Leadership Challenge is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Consulting Transitions
Free Resource Guide for Solo Consultants

For solo consultants, true wealth is discretionary time. Don't waste yours on simple tasks that can be handled by technology. This free resource guide reveals the four essential online tools I use to manage my solo consulting practice and save hours of valuable time. And the best part is - they're free!

Interested in exploring the world of consulting? My membership site might be just the resource you need to get started. You'll have access to blogs designed to answer very specific questions, a resource library of templates and articles, the opportunity to network with peers, and discounts on coaching and training programs. Download the free guide or click on the logo above to go straight to the site.

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Quick Links
L. Canton Photo 2013  

Welcome to the June edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

June is the anniversary of the Laki, Iceland, eruption in 1783. It's an obscure disaster and not well remembered outside of Iceland, where vulcanology is a mandatory subject for school children. But it is estimated to have caused over six million deaths worldwide and created the conditions that led to the French Revolution. 

I hope you enjoy this special edition dedicated to the subject of volcanoes.


Lucien Canton   
Featured Article

The Laki Eruption of 1783

A case study in cascading disasters

There's on old saying that, "all disasters are local." There is some truth to this on a certain level but believing it does tend to narrow our view of the impact of disasters. We become complacent about disasters in remote locations and believe they have nothing to do with us.

All disasters have ripple effects. For example, the 1906 earthquake and fires in San Francisco led to a currency shortage in Los Angeles and contributed to instability in the stock market in New York that led to the Panic of 1907. These ripple effects can in turn create new ripples leading to a series of cascading events that can be worse than the original disaster. In extreme cases, they can alter the course of history.


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If you are having trouble viewing my featured article, try clicking on the link at the top of the page. You can always find my articles in the white paper section of my blog site, Canton on Emergency Management.

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Professional Development
Leadership Is Not Static

You may have read recently where the CEO of Uber resigned under pressure. The reason? The board of directors felt that it was time for a change of leadership. The same happened to the CEO of Twitter in 2008, to the CEO of Reddit in 2015, and to the CEO of Time, Inc. 2011. The list is extensive. In fact, a four-year study by LeadershipIQ.com found after interviewing 1,087 board members from 286 organizations that fired or forced out their chief executive, that CEOs are fired more frequently for leadership issues than for poor financial performance.

Why is there such a premium on leadership? Simply put, people don't work well for a poor leader. A recent study in the United Kingdom showed that 42% of those surveyed had left a job because of a bad boss and almost a third felt that their current boss was a poor manager. The most common reason for leaving (41%) was lack of recognition. The close second (40%) was being overworked, something that can also be attributed to poor leadership.

While each of the CEOs I mentioned above left under different circumstances, they tend to have several things in common. The first is a total lack of empathy with those working for them. Uber's CEO, for example, was filmed arguing with one of his own drivers and fostering a hostile workplace. The second was an inability to recognize and manage change. 

Leadership demands are not static. They can change over time or with environmental changes. The same hard-driving leadership style that works in the startup phase of an organization will not work when it's time to build an organization for the future. Similarly, the consensus building style most useful during emergency planning may not work during an actual incident where a more authoritative style is called for. This one of the things that makes emergency management so difficult.

Professional Development Opportunities

July 9-12, 2017
Broomfield, Colorado
This year's theme is
Knowledge to Action: Reducing Hazards Losses and Promoting Disaster Resilience. The 2017 Natural Hazards Workshop will address this paradox with sessions that promote an exchange of ideas about how we can move knowledge into action, including in households, in businesses, in the classroom, in communities, and everywhere policy is made and implemented.

N ovember 10-15, 2017
Long Beach, California
The goal of the IAEM Annual Conference is to improve your knowledge, competency level and collaborative skills. IAEM attracts high-profile speakers to address current topics and practical solutions. The conference draws exhibitors who are the top suppliers to the fields of disaster preparedness and homeland security.
Life Balance
Why Don't We Sleep On It?

There's a recent CDC study that says that more than a third of Americans don't get enough sleep on a regular basis. They've got some interesting statistics on their website that breaks things down by race and geographical areas. For example, there's this gem, "The prevalence of healthy sleep duration varied among states and ranged from 56 percent in Hawaii to 72 percent in South Dakota." Well, duh! Who goes to Hawaii to sleep?

One category they missed was emergency managers. I wager we'd make those folks in Hawaii look like Rip van Winkle. We work irregular hours, are subject to on call, and spend a lot of time worrying about things we left undone. We drink a lot of coffee and are frequently high on adrenaline.

But there's a reason sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture. Sleep insufficiency can lead to chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer. Your quality of life can suffer, your productivity goes down and you'll die younger. Cross the line into sleep deprivation and you can start hallucinating and experiencing all sorts of psychological disorders, like manic depression.

The CDC suggests that adults need some 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. They recommend things like going to bed and rising at the same time (yeah, that's going to happen).

The reality is that unless you want to "die in harness" you do need to take care of yourself. Recognize when it's time to hand things over to someone else so you can get some rest. Pay your sleep debt by taking some time off. Take naps when on long assignments. Develop a ritual that prepares you for sleep.

Chances are we're never going to have regular schedules but that doesn't mean that we can't be rested. Tired people make bad decisions and people are counting on you. Don't let them down because you couldn't take the time to rest.
From the Bookshelf

Fire and Ice : The Cascade Volcanoes
by Stephen L. Harris 

Volcanoes are one of those events that are often ignored until things get ugly. We tend to forget about the "ring of fire" that circles the Pacific Rim, even in states like California, Oregon, and Washington. Who, for instance, remembers that Mount Lassen in California erupted in 1914 causing the extreme cold temperatures in the winter of 194-1915?

While this book is a bit dated (it was last updated in 1980, it contains a wealth of information on the volcanoes of the Cascade Range. After introductory chapters that set the context, each of the following chapters are devoted to a specific volcano. The chapter provides considerable detail on both the history of the volcano and the geology.

While the style makes for easy reading, this is a dense book with a lot of information and the geology can be a bit overwhelming, so take it a chapter at a time rather than trying to read it all at one time.

Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs
by Lucien G. Canton

Speaker's Corner

Need a speaker for your next conference? I offer keynotes, seminars and workshops.
Why Should You Choose Me As Your Speaker?
Three Reasons Why I'm the Right Speaker for Your Conference 
You can find more details and sample videos on my website or on my SpeakerMatch page.   
Speaking Engagements 

Collaborative Sheltering: The San Francisco Experience
International Association
N ovember 10-15, 2017
Long Beach, California

©Lucien G. Canton 2017. All rights reserved.


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ISSN: 2334-590X