Emergency Management Solutions


Volume 7 No. 1                                                                            January 2015

In This Issue
Monthly Video
Blog Highlights
Leadership Coaching
Featured Article
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner

Monthly Video 

Perfect Storms Series  5 of 6 Gods Wrath Lisbon
Perfect Storms Series 5 Gods Wrath Lisbon
This is an interesting, if slightly long, recreation of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. The focus is mainly on the earthquake, fire and tsunami and the immediate aftermath. There is a fair bit on injuries, crime, and potential cannibalism based on the analysis of skeletons from a recently- discovered mass grave. Some of the facts are slightly "iffy" so I encourage you to read more on the disaster to get the full picture.
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.   


Refusal to return to work over security concerns cost 13 flight attendants their job. The incident holds many lessons for decision makers....»



Government surveillance of potential threats isn't always evil. Neither is cooperation with the private sector....»



Sony's capitulation is short-sighted and dangerous. Maybe they should have left the decision to the public....»


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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.




In Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty, researchers Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe identify five principles that characterize high reliability organizations. Key among these is deference to expertise: allowing decisions to be made by those with the most expertise, regardless of rank. This concept is applied frequently in the Incident Command System, where one's position in the organization is determined by their level of ...»



One of the words that has become fashionable in our profession over the past several years is "sustainability." However, like so much in emergency management, sustainability is somewhat nebulous and lacks a definition. Just how do emergency managers assist in achieving sustainability ...»

Leadership Coaching  


What sets a leader apart from his or her constituents? According to the research done by Kouzes and Posner, when asked what attributes they expected in a leader, 71% of the respondents replied "forward thinking". When asked the same question about colleagues, only 27% said they expected colleagues to be forward thinkers.


Effective leaders need to have a vision of the future, of where they wish to take their organizations. But they must do more: the need to convince their constituents that they have a stake in that future. 


How much more effective is a forward thinking leader? Constituents report that they are 25% more effective under such leadership and the perceive the leader as being 50% more effective.


The Second Practice of Exemplary Leadership is Inspire a Shared Vision


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

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Welcome to the January issue of Emergency Management Solutions.


I don't know about you, but while it's only been a couple of weeks since the year started, it's already feeling like a long time away from the holidays. January is always filled with a bit of anticipation for things to come but, in a way, it also feels like the calm before the storm, a time to take stock and get caught up. For me, though, the month is flying by between personal and business commitments. Hope yours is going a bit smoother!


A special thanks if you participated in my recent quick survey on consulting. Your comments were extremely helpful and will help tremendously as I develop new programs for 2015.




Lucien Canton  


Featured Article

Are We Part of a Conspiracy?  

Surveillance and private sector coordination are often misperceived



Early last month I wrote a blog entitled How the Media Raises Your Anxiety over Terrorist Attacks in which I traced the evolution of a story from a largely unsupported series of statements to a full-blown end-of-the-world type story. There is a story currently making the social media rounds that shows once again how different perspectives, biases, and additions can change even the most common sense and routine government action into a conspiracy.


In her recent article Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy journalist Naomi Wolf claims proof of a coordinated effort by corporations and the government to repress dissent. Ms. Wolf cites a document obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund under the Freedom of Information Act that, "shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity...






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 


Future Planning


This is the time of year where it seems appropriate for one to do some introspection and develop some sort of plan for the New Year. One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a financial planner. She suggested that you always plan for three specific areas:

  1. Financial
  2. Business
  3. Professional Development

In her experience, most people focus on the first two but often neglect to consider the third. Yet personal development often has a tremendous impact on our business and financial goals. Learning new skills can open new lines of business that produce more revenue. New skills can improve job performance, leading to promotion. If nothing else, improving your skills provides added value both to you and your organization.


Last month I provided a list of ideas for professional development. That list is just as applicable for the New Year. There are always opportunities available if you are looking for them. Consulting guru Alan Weiss has a saying, "If you improve by 1% each day, in 70 days you will be twice as good."

Life Balance  


Take Risks!


My friend, the late Ken Chin, used to have a saying, "You can't park in front if you don't drive by." San Francisco, as you would expect in any great city, has a severe parking problem so most of us who live here dive for the first available parking spot we see close to our destination. Not Ken; he would insist on driving by the location first before circling for parking. And sometimes he even found that spot right in front.


It wasn't that Ken was particularly an optimist. He wasn't hoping for a bit of luck. He was, instead, a risk taker. He knew that passing a parking spot was a risk but he believed that if he took the risk, he had a chance at a  better situation. If he failed, he really wasn't that worse off than he was before.


That's the key. Sometimes we are afraid to take risks because we don't understand that the price of failure really isn't all that great. That's not always the case, true, and you better be able to know when the risks are high, particularly in this profession. But there are plenty of times when it might just be worth it to "drive on by."

From the Bookshelf  
Wrath of God: The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755
by Edward Paice

For me, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 has always held a particular fascination. It is considered the first "modern" disaster both for the issues that arose during response and recovery and for its impact on how people viewed disasters.

However, I have mixed emotions about Paice's book. He devotes a number of chapters to setting the stage by talking about Portugal's position in the world, particularly it's trade with England, that helps to demonstrate the far-reaching consequences of the earthquake. His description of the disaster is drawn from first-hand accounts and paints a vivid picture of what it would have been like to be caught up in the disaster.

Unfortunately, the book suffers from a very Anglo-centric focus. While granting that most of the accounts we have of the disaster were written by English merchants, the book focuses too much on the effect of the earthquake on English trade and on English merchants and political representatives. There is very little detail on reconstruction plans or activities and Paice jumps several years ahead to show changes over time. The Marquis of Pombal, who played such a pivotal role in reconstruction, is present throughout but never emerges as fully defined person. Instead he is  cast in the role of a despot and tyrant. While this is certainly true to a point, it does not provide a balanced view of his accomplishments.

I would recommend this book for its description of the disaster and it's immediate aftermath but I still prefer Nicholas Shrady's book, The Last Day, for it's wealth of detail on the response and reconstruction.


Interested in more books on emergency management and related topics?

Check out my bookstore at:         
Speaker's Corner 
Looking for a Speaker?


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  

March 5 -  Data Liberation; Using the Cloud to Safeguard and Share Information (webinar) Center for Digital Government

©Lucien G. Canton 2015. All rights reserved.


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the author, and "reprinted with permission."

ISSN: 2334-590X