This week I am attending the one-week Executive Leadership seminar –Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL).   There are 60 individuals in my cohort, from 10 countries, many disciplines and zillions of years of experience.  How cool is that!

The introduction yesterday focused our week on four areas:

  1. Comprehensive preparedness – the need for comprehensive preparedness as the “unusual disasters” become the usual.
  2. Be ready for two types of emergencies simultaneously – the “routine” and “those we never anticipated” (perhaps the Black Swan).
  3. Conflicts between professional responders and political leaders and to that end, WHO should be involved and WHAT is their role?
  4. Emergencies will be more complex, larger and increasingly more dynamic…think large-scale emergencies!  Examples are San Diego Firestorm 2003, Terrorist attacks of 9/11 or the Baltimore CSX Tunnel Fire, July 2001.
Baltimore CSX Tunnel Fire, July 2001 - Aftermath

This week, we will spend our time touching on four themes:

  1. Crisis Decision Making
  2. Team or group decision making
  3. Coordination
  4. Communication

Sunday afternoon we discussed and peeled back the San Diego Firestorm 2003 – the response, the decision-making and the politics.  Fascinating!

220Px Harvard Shield GovernmentA bit about the program:  Through research, teaching, and work with governments and practicing professionals, the Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) seeks to improve society’s capacity to deal with natural disasters; infrastructure, technology, and systems failures; emergent infectious disease; and terrorism. PCL takes a comprehensive perspective, looking at risk reduction strategies, emergency preparedness and response, and disaster recovery.