Inter-Agency Connectivity Central to Meta-Leadership Team Projects

It’s the areas without policies and practices where leadership strategies become crucial. This is why a key part of NPLI’s Executive Education Program is the meta-leadership team project.

Since our opening session in December 2017, these crisis leaders had spent the past six months back at their various agencies and roles incorporating meta-leadership into their work and team projects. Through a range of inter-agency collaboration and stakeholder analyses, Cohort XVI’s projects created innovative solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues in crisis leadership. Below are the highlights of their final presentations during the culminating week of NPLI’s Executive Education Program in June 2018.

NPLI Executive Education Program, Cohort XVI, Team Freesource, Meta-Leadership ProjectEvery major crisis is marked by generous donations of goods. Often, however, there is a significant mismatch between what is needed and what is contributed. Why? Inefficiencies in donation management, Team Freesource discovered. Voted as the winner by their peers in Cohort XVI, the team developed a framework to help local governments integrate pre-planning and pre-negotiating of donation management into their disaster preparedness plans.

They conducted a stakeholder analysis of more than a dozen state, local, and private sector agencies that deal with managing both physical goods and monetary donations during crises. The team identified where partnerships with private businesses could provide the resources to build a management system from the ground up for state and local agencies.

What assumptions are you making about your communication abilities during a crisis? Team Space Weather Acute Response Measures (SWARM) developed a strategy for emergency managers to rethink their disaster preparedness plans during “Black Swan” events such as high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) or coronal mass ejection (CME) that would eliminate electricity and telecommunication capabilities we’ve all come to rely upon.

In light of citizens increasingly reaching out for help during emergencies on social media, Team SOS conducted a stakeholder analysis of social media emergency management response and developed a strategy for agencies to incorporate #SOS as a social media alternative to 9-1-1. Their broader recommendations for emergency managers focused on responding, coordinating, and engaging with citizens on these platforms before, during, and after crises.

The QuaranTeam project examined the disparity of preparedness in this country during non-Stafford Act emergencies, when federal presence and support is typically limited. They simulated the leadership challenges across agencies in such an event through a step-by-step analysis of potential U.S. agency response to a smallpox outbreak overseas. Their qualitative meta analysis revealed that for non-SA events, stepping away from traditional, single agency-centered vehicles for managing a response was essential. Their decision tree for senior leaders outlined key points where agencies would come together to ensure a unity of effort.

Team Pan-M focused on a solution to address communication and coordination gaps that could lead to outbreaks in the United States as a result of refugee resettlement. They conducted a literature and protocol review and SWOT analysis that identified where to aim their efforts for concrete deliverables. They also developed a Point of Entry (POE) training and communication tool that could be used when refugees land to ensure health security in resettlement.

The local and state first responders on Team Boston concentrated their efforts on managing public safety around college campuses, particularly in Boston where there are more than 30 universities. Their efforts focused on engaging campus public safety officers — a trusted source of information for students — to bring these lessons to the local law enforcement departments. The team coordinated a summit for campus public safety and community response, fostering an exchange of ideas between local law enforcement, emergency management, and efforts already going on on campuses, particularly on social media communication and engagement.

Team Sweetspot focused their efforts on enhancing the state, local, territorial, and tribal integration of the Department of Defense and Health and Human Services Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) response capabilities. Their first step was a survey of emergency managers’ understanding of CBRN capabilities, which revealed that only 42 percent of respondents understood the process for requesting these specialized response services. As a result, they developed courseware for education on each CBRN capability and how each can be requested. Finally, they laid out plans for a web-based tool for Mission Ready Packages (MRPs) on EMACWeb.

NPLI Executive Education Program Team ProjectAptly named after the Roman mythological god of the sky, Team Caleus focused their project on the Transportation Security Administration’s emergency relief teams who are deployed to airports when there are catastrophic events. The job in these circumstances is to re-secure an airport that has previously been shut down.

The team identified insufficient policies and methods for adequately staffing these teams, and conducted a listening tour to open doors between siloed departments within TSA, in order to enhance execution. The team came up with a list of recommendations for the TSA: 1) reinvent the existing team structure, and 2) prioritize the security and law enforcement role.

The meta-leadership projects provide a learning experience and forge creative solutions to complex inter-agency and inter-sector problems. The projects developed by NPLI Cohort XVI certainly exhibited that mission and vision.