About the Crisis Leadership Forum

To better understand the leadership dimensions of crisis situations, the Center for Creative Leadership convened a forum with formal and emergent leaders who played a role in Hurricane Katrina. We overlaid this conversation between crisis leaders with the perspectives of discussants with expertise in disaster, terrorism, public health, and leadership. This blog site is intended to continue this conversation.

To read the report on the Crisis Leadership Forum, please click here.

To read CCL's Leading Effectively newsletter on the Forum, please click here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned

Partnership for Public Service has created a website devoted to improving government performance by sharing information about Hurricane Katrina and highlighting Katrina’s lessons to drive forward-looking solutions. It features events, research, news summaries, related legislation and related links.

One report, The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned, offers that Katrina is an opportunity to learn for the future:

"Katrina creates an opportunity—indeed an imperative—for a national dialogue about true national preparedness, especially as it pertains to catastrophic events. We are not as prepared as we need to be at all levels within the country: Federal, State, local, and individual. Hurricane Katrina obligates us to re-examine how we are organized and resourced to address the full range of catastrophic events—both natural and man-made. The storm and its aftermath provide us with the mandate to design and build such a system."

... We must expect more catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina—and possibly even worse. In fact, we will have compounded the tragedy if we fail to learn the lessons—good and bad—it has taught us and strengthen our system of preparedness and response. We cannot undo the mistakes of the past, but there is much we can do to learn from them and to be better prepared for the future. This is our duty."

At the Crisis Leadership Forum Donna Dinkin noted that the word crisis in Chinese is composed of two separate symbols: one that symbolizes danger, and the other, opportunity. A crisis she observed is an opportunity to learn for the next time. Dinkin also warned that learning must transcend the diagnostics of a particular crisis. “How do we help organizations learn from one type of crisis event to make them more prepared? Not more prepared for the ‘same’ type of crisis—but a totally different kind of crisis?”

More from Donna Dinkin in a previous post to this blog: http://crisisleadership.blogspot.com/2008/01/reflections-on-crisis-leadership-forum.html

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