September 2, 2005

A Gap in Leadership

There's a must read Op-Ed piece in the New York Times about the situation in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Here is a link to the editorial.

According the the editorial, before 9/11 the three most likely catastrophic threats listed by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency were: 1. Terrorist Attack in New York; 2. Major earthquake in San Francisco; and 3. Hurricane Strike on New Orleans.

Given that I advise on leadership and management issues, I found it difficult to watch this tragedy unfold after Katrina left...especially given the clear and present danger identified in advance.

News coverage of the post-disaster efforts exposed leadership gaps. Poor coordination, improper planning, missing sense-of-urgency and lack of preparedness. All of which, resulted in needless death and suffering. That said, there are thousands of people and organizations on the ground providing whatever assistance they can and my hat is off to them. Their efforts will be recognized.

An Act of God created this disaster but poor leadership prolonged it. Hopefully these gaps will be resolved and never happen again. If you're looking for a way to help - donate to the Red Cross or The Salvation Army.

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