Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter


Helping Managers Lead Better in Crisis

May 2012

In This Issue
Project Budgets: Hiding it helps no one
Video: Scuba Diving in a Tsunami
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner

Project Budgets


Hiding it helps no one

There's a little dance consultants do with clients. It's called the budget dance and is the result of misperceptions on both our parts. The client thinks the consultant is trying to get the most money he or she can for the least amount of work. Conversely, the consultant thinks the client is trying to get the most work possible for the least amount of money. So we dance around the budget with offers and counter offers. We call it "negotiation."


While there is a certain amount of truth in both these positions, you really don't want to hire a consultant that is solely focused on their fee any more than I want to work for a client who's out to gouge me. However, hiding your project budget is the quickest way to start the music for the dance. Let's look at why this is so.




Scuba Diving in a Tsunami

Scuba Diving in a Tsunami
Scuba Diving in a Tsunami
Scuba divers are trained to handle a variety of potential problems that can arise underwater. But what do you do when you're caught in a tsunami? This is an interesting video about what happened to a group of divers caught in the 2004 tsunami.

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Welcome to the May issue of Emergency Management Solutions.
I've been kept busy the past few weeks responding to the ever popular Request for Proposals. Over half of them fail to state the project budget out of some misguided idea that this will help get a better price. This month's article gives reasons why this approach can limit the true value you could be getting from your projects.

My monthly newsletter is a great way to keep in touch but you're not getting full value if you're not also signed up for my blog. I usually try to blog twice a week, so don't miss out! You can sign up on my blog site Canton on Emergency Management.


Visit my blog 


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

Lucien Canton

Professional Development 


There have been a lot of people working behind the scenes for quite a few years now to help build our profession. With the growing body of disaster research being done by the academic community and the increasing relevance of the Certified Emergency Manager credential, we have a number of key components in place.


One area that I think we desperately need is an agreed upon competency framework. Such a framework would allow us to standardize job descriptions and set some definite requirements for using the title, "emergency manager." It would also help the academic community better prepare our next generation of leaders. 


The best example I have found so far is the Civil Defence Emergency Management Competency Framework developed by my colleagues in New Zealand. I think it is comprehensive and could easily be adapted for use around the world. Check it out and consider urging your local emergency management agency to support adopting it for national use.

Life Balance 


Emergency managers tend to be a pretty conservative bunch. This is probably because so many of us came from the military or emergency response services. With that conservatism sometimes comes the mindset that we need to follow the rules without questioning. That's not always a good thing.
I was once arguing with a good friend about another friend who was blatantly disregarding the rules of her organization. My friend reminded me that you can never make changes within an organization if you always follow the rules. Conflict is essential if you're going to make progress.
That advice has stayed with me and, to a great extent, influenced my career. I find that there are times when for my own sanity, I need to push back against some idiotic requirement. I don't always win but I find that my stress level is a lot lower.
I'm not advocating total anarchy here. Picking your battles is always good advice and you don't want to the one that always disagrees with everyone else. But once in awhile, it's a good idea to take on an issue and try to do the right thing. A turtle only makes progress when he sticks his neck out!
From the Bookshelf  


As many of you know, I have a special interest in the 1906 earthquake and fires in San Francisco. Despite all the books written about the event, I've always felt that there was an untold story about the relief operations. Most books deal with the response and only peripherally touch on this subject. That gap has finally been filled with the publication of Saving San Francisco: Relief and recovery after the 1906 disaster by Andrea Rees Davies. This well-researched book looks at the impact on social structure and shows how, contrary to popular belief, the disaster did not break down class barriers but rather reinforced them. While a bit academic in tone, the book contains a wealth of detail on how disasters affect peoples lives and how dealing with the aftermath of a disaster can produce change in social structures.

Speaker's Corner 
Speaking Engagements  


June 5: Keynote Address, FEMA Higher Education Conference, Emmitsburg MD
July 10: Best Practices for a World-class Business Continuity Program, Association of Contingency Planners, San Francisco


July 18: Incident Command: A New Take on an Old System, Building Owners and Managers Association, San Francisco
December 4: Crisis in Leadership or Leadership in Crisis?, Emergency Management Magazine All-Hazards Summit, Miami
December 6: Crisis in Leadership or Leadership in Crisis?, Emergency Management Magazine All-Hazards Summit, Houston

Looking for a Speaker?


Need a speaker for your next conference? I offer keynotes, seminars and workshops. You can find more details on my website  or on my SpeakerMix page. 


Lucien Canton Seminar Excerpts
Lucien Canton Seminar Excerpts
  If you've heard me speak...


...I'd greatly appreciate it if you would take a minute to give me feedback on SpeakerMix. Just go to the site and click on the "Write A Review" button. 


Many thanks!

ŠLucien G. Canton  May 2012