NPLI EEP Cohort XVIII Addresses Major Challenges

The concluding session of the NPLI’s Executive Education Program Cohort 18 was held on the Harvard campus on June 18-21, 2019. Participants returned for engaging sessions with guest speakers as well as to present their meta-leadership team projects.

NPLI EEP team projects provide participants the opportunity to practice the meta-leadership concepts, skills, tools, and techniques presented in the opening session in December 2018. Each team is charged with making tangible progress to address a real-world challenge.

Cohort XVII teams demonstrated the power of concentrated effort by high-performing teams:

  • Team CHiPS developed a scorecard to help community officials better understand the chemical hazards in their midst, mitigate risk, and prepare for an incident should one occur. Three municipalities will pilot the scorecard in the coming months;
  • Team CRoTUS looked at the potential for a Chief Resilience Officer of the United States. The team noted that resilience work is complex and can be disjointed. A CRoTUS would “connect this work across all levels of government and industry, leading to more impactful outcomes for the nation”;
  • Team Lead Beyond our Command created a model for local public-private collaboration in both preparedness and response. The robustness of these relationships varies widely across the country and this team developed a template for fostering connections. A pilot exercise was run in San Diego County, California;
  • Team LTC created a preparedness guide for long-term care facilities. More than 15 million people in the U.S. and Canada reside in such facilities and disaster preparedness is often an under-resourced and little-understood function. The guide will be shared through organizations such as CARF International, a non-profit accrediting body, the National Association of City and County Health Officers, and others;
  • Team Marijuana Accountability explored a federal-level approach to the use and effects of legalized marijuana to counter the current fragmented state-by-state approach. The team convened a group of stakeholder to discuss the opportunities and challenges to such an approach;
  • Team Morbus Certiorum studied the potential for a system to communicate accurate information on public health emergencies directly to local health care providers and first responders nationwide. They drafted an approach after a situation analysis and review of off-the-shelf technology options. They hope to have this published by the CDC;
  • Team VIPER tacked the challenges of preparedness for small- and medium-sized venues such as performance halls. Much like Team LTC, Team VIPER faced a fragmented industry where preparedness for active shooter and similar incidents has not been adequately addressed. The team convened stakeholders, including the largest owner of such venues in the United States, for fact-finding and a tabletop exercise. The result is a survey venue managers can use to prepare their facilities and be ready for first responders during an incident. Members of the team have pledged to carry this project forward;
  • Team Who Can Help examined the opportunities to better use active bystanders to assist professional responders in emergency response. The team created a taxonomy for citizen responders: bystanders, willing volunteers, and spontaneous volunteers, along with a curriculum to educate Initial Professional Responders in how to best use each as a force multiplier for their own efforts. The team presented the concept at numerous professional gatherings and some members will carry this project forward.

In addition to the projects, participants heard from Farah Pandith, an expert on countering violent extremism, Col. Kerry Gilpin, commandant of the Massachusetts State Police and the NPLI Meta-leader of the Year, and Jim Andrews, vice president of Health, Safety, Security, and Environment at Schlumberger. Each of these speakers presented on leadership challenges related to their specialty and brought front line experiences to the classroom.

The participants also engaged in a case study discussion on transformation at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The session was led by NPLI associate director, Eric McNulty, along with NPLI senior fellow and former TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. The class diagnosed the situation faced by TSA when it confronted the anger of the traveling public, elected officials, and airport and airline executives when security wait lines at airports swelled to last for hours. They then reflected on how the use of meta-leadership by Neffenger and his team enabled them to diffuse the problem by reframing it as a shared challenge, turning adversaries into allies.