Executive Development

Curriculum

The Online Application for Cohort 13 is now CLOSED. Deadline to apply is March 20 EXTENDED to MARCH 30, 2015!

Cohort 14: Opening Session is December 6-11, 2015 and Concluding Session is June 14 – 17, 2016. Online Application is OPEN.

The National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Executive Education Program curriculum is designed to produce effective leadership across the public (federal, state, and local), private, and non-profit sectors. The NPLI curriculum leverages the combined strengths of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Division of Policy Translation and Leadership Development and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. Faculty from Harvard Business School and the Harvard Medical School also teach in the program..

The program includes instruction in a pragmatic, proven approach to leadership in high-stakes, high-pressure situations as well as interactive dialogues, case study discussions, and guest presentations by front line leaders from major events such as the H1N1 pandemic, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, super storm Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Ebola outbreak.

As an outcome of participation, officials and executives will be prepared to cross geographic and organizational boundaries to deal with crises as well as day-to-day collaboration and problem-solving. They will be equipped to guide the design of comprehensive, multi-agency, multi-sector and multi-jurisdictional emergency response plans. Participants will become versed in the principles of meta-leadership in order to respond to significant adverse events whether natural or man-made. Through the program, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the hazards of decision-making under stress.
  • Hone the personal skills and behaviors that drive effective leadership in the context of group dynamics and multiple stakeholder interests.
  • Develop leadership acumen to mobilize greater capacity through connectivity across traditional public agency and private sector boundaries.
  • Design strategies for communicating vital information to the public in a crisis.
  • Explore how to mobilize and deploy large systems, using organizational design and systems management to enhance vertical and horizontal connectivity.
  • Consider the moral and ethical dimensions of life and death decision-making.
  • Review the science of surveillance, detection, and response.

The program comprises a residential opening session at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, MA, a 2 ½ day residential concluding session, and a work-related team project that is to be completed between the residential sessions.

Learned knowledge and skills

The leadership curriculum for the Executive Education Program divides into three themes:

1) Meta-leadership in preparedness and response

2) Inter- and intra-organization problem solving and connectivity

3) Meta-leadership communication and conflict resolution

Each participant is individually mentored and evaluated, with instruction on how to improve leadership and problem-solving strategies and communication.  The curriculum includes skill-building sessions, leadership self-awareness instruction, and interactive learning opportunities that build the capacity and competence of government officials identified for their growth potential for preparedness leadership.

Participants will learn to lead and guide inter-organization connectivity in order to better coordinate “whole of community” operations.  This is intensely important now, as organizations with distinctly different missions, cultures, and operational mandates quickly engage and coordinate activity to create a unity of effort in the face of new national imperatives. Instruction on communication will focus on the importance of building and maintaining credibility and stability in moments of crisis.  The curriculum will profile the “new normal” meta-leader: a new breed of thinking and decisive action in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and unpredictable. The NPLI has creatde a robust network of talented leaders, able to respond to the new and unprecedented challenges of large-scale terrorism, pandemic, natural disaster, cyber attack, or other significant threat.

Topics included in the curriculum:

  • Meta-leadership, a holistic, three-dimensional framework and practice method developed at the NPLI
  • Emotional intelligence and the neuroscience of leadership
  • Complex, multi-stakeholder problem solving
  • Ethical considerations in preparedness planning and response
  • Decision-analysis and predictable surprises
  • Change management
  • Case studies and guest speaker presentations on major events such as the H1N1 pandemic, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, super storm Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Ebola outbreak

Read the independent evaluation of the program (2003-2010): NPLI_Final_Report_2.13.12. In this evaluation, 68% of participants reported that they were “very satisfied” with the program and 79% reported that they would recommend the program to others.