Emergency Management Solutions


Volume 7 No. 12                                                                                           December 2015

In This Issue
Featured Video
Blog Highlights
The Leadership Challenge
Consulting Transitions
Featured Article
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner

Featured Video

Monongah Mine Disaster 1907
Monongah - An American Tragedy

This video, produced by a high school US History club, recounts the explosion at the Monongah mine in December 1907, the worst mining disaster in US history. While the official death total stands at 362, as many as 500 men and boys may have died. The disaster was a focusing event that led the creation of the US Bureau of Mines in 1910 and the demand for safer working conditions for miners.
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.  


If we let fear of terrorism rule our lives, the terrorists have already won...»

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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.

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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.


Few emergency managers would disagree that the increased use of social media by the public has had a significant impact on how we respond to events. A Pew research project in 2013 found that 87 percent of Americans...»

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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.
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

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!



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L. Canton Photo 2013  

Welcome to the December issue of Emergency Management Solutions.

I always think of the days between Christmas and the New Year as the doldrums of winter. Things seem quiet and the world seems to hold its collective breath. Many people are on vacation and little seems to get done. I know this is not true and that many of my colleagues are dealing with weather-related emergencies, a major gas leak is underway in California, and the refugee crisis has not abated. Ours is a business that does not recognize holidays. 

Nevertheless, this is a time for reflection, for thinking about the past year and making plans for the one to come. Each year is a mixture of joy and sadness. My wish for you is that the joy in your life far outweighs the sadness.

Happy New Year!


Lucien Canton  

Featured Article
Deciding to Evacuate
A Tale of Two Cities

Earlier this month the school districts in Los Angeles and New York received similar warnings of an impending terrorist attack on their schools. The City of New York dismissed the threat as not credible and opened schools as usual. The Superintendent of Schools for Los Angeles took the threat seriously and opted to close the schools for the day. Nothing happened and the LA Superintendent is being criticized for over-reacting to the threat.

However, we should not be so quick to judge. The decision to close or evacuate a facility is not an easy one and we should be conscious of the many obstacles to making such a decision.


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 
Reading Fiction Can Improve Your Professional Development

A guest column by Alan Weiss

I remember a football star in high school bragging that he had never read a book. He wound up as a payroll clerk in a grocery chain. Even today people tell me they never read fiction. That's interesting, because I'd rather be immersed in the rich worlds of Dickens, Steinbeck, Irving, Updike, Austin, and Flaubert than almost anyone else. I find that over 90 percent of all business books written are turgid and impractical.

History, science fiction, biographies, philosophy-they all provide for an education that make us objects of interest to others. We learn about human motivation, historical trends, political maneuverings, serendipitous developments-in other words, all the issues that confront us daily in the world of business.

I don't relate well to "one trick ponies" who can only talk about technology, or leadership, or finance (or sports, or food, or television). I abhor the rumor-as-fact and opinion-as-reality of social media. Reading and educating ourselves are not inimical to other pursuits. They simply put our other pursuits in better context and enable us to enjoy life more.

If you haven't read The Grapes of Wrath then the Great Depression is just an abstraction. Life as we understand it should be anything but.

Alan Weiss
Copyright © 2015 Summit Consulting Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission
Life Balance  
Don't Just Look Ahead

Emergency managers by nature tend to focus on the future by virtue of our commitment to a cycle of continuous improvement in our programs. We know that plans can always be improved, that resources are never sufficient, and training never ends. So we always look ahead to the next tier of improvement. Inherent in this focus is an implied criticism of the status quo which can sometimes cause us to be seen as irritants by those more complacent about preparedness. For many of us, the third Practice of Exemplary Leadership, "Challenge the Process" is not just a concept, it is a way of life.

However, this focus on the future, while a good thing, can be a drawback. Since we are so conscious of how far we have to go, we can become frustrated about lack of progress. "Challenge the Process" incorporates the idea of progress through small wins, which can sometimes seem like little is being accomplished. This glacial progress can cause us to become impatient with other stakeholders in our programs, creating additional barriers to progress.

This is the time of year when most of us are looking forward to the new year and formulating ambitious plans that will most likely flounder on the rocks of the budget process. So do yourself a favor and pause for a moment to look back at how far you've come and what you've accomplished. We'll never be where we want to be; that's the nature of our work. But reminding yourself once in a while that you are making progress will help revitalize you for the battles ahead. Try it. I can almost guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.

From the Bookshelf  

Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World
by Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier is a renowned security technologist who always offers a common sense approach to the issue of security versus privacy. While this book was written in 2003 in response to the concerns over 9/11, it is relevant today in the wake of the rising fear following the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

Schneier has a knack for reducing the complexities of security to concepts that are easily understood by the layperson. The book includes numerous examples of security successes and failures to illustrate key concepts. Schneier offers a five-step analysis model that, while simple in concept, can help determine whether security is truly effective or just more "security theater" meant to make people feel safe. His chapter on terrorism and the difficulties of crafting security solutions is particularly relevant.

It would be a mistake to say that this book is about terrorism. Instead it is a thoughtful assessment of effective security that will be of interest to anyone involved with security and public safety. I also found it highly relevant to emergency management in that many of the concepts espoused by Schneier are applicable to preparedness and mitigation. Highly recommended!


Interested in more books on emergency management and related topics?
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 

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©Lucien G. Canton 2015. All rights reserved.


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the author, and "reprinted with permission."

ISSN: 2334-590X