Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

Volume 8 No. 10                                                                                         October 2016

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
When The Sky Turns Gray

Winter can be a dangerous time for those who are not prepared. This public service announcement from FEMA packs a lot of information in a short animated film.
Blog Highlights

Canton blog masthead

Visit My Blog

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

One of my pet peeves with emergency planning is the over-reliance we place on the one-size-fits none guidance we receive from the Federal government. Don't misunderstand me; the guidance overall is good and well-intentioned. But...»

Featured Article for September Why Do We Live in Fear? A risk free society is an unrealistic goal ...»

Visit my blog 


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

Visit My Blog

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.

In an interview for an article in Security Management magazine titled Bringing Clarity to Chaos, by Mark Tarallo, former FEMA chief innovation advisor Desi Martel-Anderson offers a three-step model for real time problem solving in a crisis....» 

Visit my blog

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.
The Leadership Challenge
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  & Barry Posner 
The Leadership Challenge is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. www.leadershipchallenge.com 
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 new 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.

Visit my blog
Quick Links
L. Canton Photo 2013  

Welcome to the October issue of Emergency Management Solutions.

October will always have a special meaning for those of us who were present for the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. For me, it was my introduction to emergency management as a military reservist in FEMA's Individual Mobilization Augmentee Program. It was also the occasion on which I met Roy Kite and Ken Chin, who would teach me so much about my new profession. During my years at FEMA we became a formidable disaster team and close friends.

One of the great things about our profession is the many selfless individuals you meet under difficult circumstances. No matter how bad things get, there's always someone there offering to help.

And speaking of help, it's the time of year for good deeds. If you're looking for a worthy cause, a good friend of mine has just created a new non-profit to provide classic literature books to 100 classrooms. The program is called Classroom Classics and you can find more information below. A good start by good people, so please contribute if you can.


Lucien Canton   
Featured Article

Motivating Politicians

Four Ways To Gain Political Support For Your Program

If you don't think there isn't a strong political component to emergency management, you haven't been paying attention. Just look at the research that shows a correlation between Presidential disaster declarations and key states in an election year. Or consider the action of the Mayor of New Orleans during Katrina in delaying mandatory evacuation because of the fear of political fallout if he got it wrong.

But politics is just as important in day-to-day program management. Any program runs on money and politicians control the budget process. There are two things you need to get anything done in government: money and political will. Money can always seem to be found if needed badly enough so it is important for us as emergency managers to be able to generate political will.



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.

  Visit my blog
Professional Development
The Five Minute Tabletop

A common complaint I hear is the lack of participation of senior leaders in exercises. My colleague and friend of many years, Mike Martinet, once shared with me a process he'd developed to overcome this problem.

Mike's solution was to turn his allotted time at weekly staff meetings into a mini-tabletop. He would present a brief scenario and then ask one or two focused questions, such as, "What would be our top three priorities?" or "Who would be the lead agency and why?" He would collect written responses and then provide feedback by email later in the day. The process took only five minutes but it made staff to focus on key emergency management issues.

The five minute tabletop exercise is not a substitute for a regular exercise program but it can be used to keep attention on the need for emergency planning and to highlight issues that could create problems in response.
Life Balance
Practice Simplicity

As I planner by nature, I tend to be detail oriented. But over the years I've begun to recognize that what I consider a strength can also be a weakness. It's way too easy to get bogged down in details and lose sight of what you were trying to accomplish in the first place.

I recently spent a day helping a client begin implementation of an emergency management software program. The program is relatively simple if you take it step by step. However, the planning team spent a good portion of our initial hour together overthinking the process rather than just working through the first step of the process. In the time we spent discussing process, we could have completed the initial task that would have led to a deeper understanding of that process.

Even my social life is not free from people overthinking issues. Our local chapter of a social organization routinely starts creating grand plans or over-reacting to potential problems before gathering the facts to make good decisions. Members extrapolate from what little is known to create unwarranted assumptions and then react to those assumptions as if they were fact.

Overthinking frequently finds its way into emergency plans as well. This usually results in way too much detail being included in the plan. In an attempt to not leave anything out, plans make it difficult to find needed information during a crisis.

The way out of this is to practice simplicity. In my social group, I usually bring people back on track by reminding them multiple times of what is known and offering concrete next steps based on what we known. In emergency planning, I suggest the planning team consider the perspective of the user and provide only the information that will be needed rather than every possible contingency. To paraphrase an old cliché, tell them the time, not how to build a watch.

There is a quote attributed to Isaac Newton that we would do well to remember: "Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy."
From the Bookshelf
Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond
by Michael D. Brown

Having heard Michael Brown speak, I expected this book to be a longer version of his embittered explanation of the failure of the Hurricane Katrina response and justification for his actions. There is certainly much of that in the book but there is also a lot of interesting "behind the scenes" information that adds some perspective on the reasons for the many bad decisions made by the Federal government.

Brown offers an interesting view of the conflict between those in the field and those trying to micromanage operations from Washington. His comments on the role of politics in reversing operational decisions or in using the disaster for political gain is revealing, although not surprising. He is also unsparing about the decisions made by state and local agencies, particularly regarding the evacuation of New Orleans and the use of the Superdome.

More interesting to me was what was obvious but never stated: the disregard of the principle of unity of  command through the creation of the Principal Federal Official position. Brown makes little mention of the roles played by the various Federal Coordinating Officers and places himself at the center of all decision making. Yet it is the refusal of the various agencies and task forces to work through the Joint Field Offices that created much of the confusion in Katrina, a situation caused by uncertainty over who was in charge.

________________ ____________________________

Interested in more books on emergency management and related topics?

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

Classroom Classics

  • 50% of adults are unable to read a book written for an eighth grader.
  • 44% of American adults don't read one book in a year.
  • 6 out of 10 households don't buy a single book in a year.
What does this mean to you?
  • Low literacy rates in the United States directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.
  • 46% to 51% of American adults have an income well below the poverty level because of their inability to read
  • 75% of Americans receiving food stamps perform at the lowest 2 levels of literacy.
  • 90% of high school dropouts are on welfare.
We at Red Pill Publishing believe in the power of books to change lives. As a 501(c)3, we provide programs and services to help both the reader and the writer succeed.
Our program, Classroom Classics, aims to provide 100 US classrooms in need with classic literature books for each student. We want every student to have the opportunity to engage with the stories on a personal level by having access to their own copy.
Your generous donation will help cover the cost of production and shipping to schools in need. Help us inspire thoughtful readers who could become tomorrow's leaders.
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 

Stop Living in Fear! Keeping your sanity in an uncertain world
November 10, 2016
Burlingame, CA
Burlingame Lions Club

Increased Officer Safety through Technology
November 15, 2016

©Lucien G. Canton 2016. All rights reserved.


You may reprint and excerpt this newsletter provided that you include my copyright, the source,
the author, and "reprinted with permission."

ISSN: 2334-590X