Transforming Preparedness and Response Leaders: Being Ready When Everything Is on the Line

Preparedness and response leadership is hard work: challenging circumstances, difficult decisions, and high expectations from the public and political officials all make it essential to perform at one’s best. Those at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI) have learned what it takes to succeed: knowing oneself, accurately discerning the situation at hand, and actively forging connectivity among the many stakeholders to create unity of effort.

For almost 15 years, NPLI faculty have been observing and teaching preparedness and response leaders in federal, state, and local agencies as well as non-profit and private sector organizations. Alumni of the NPLI’s executive education program have played critical response leadership roles in incidents from the H1N1 pandemic, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and Boston Marathon bombings. Most recently, they have help lead the responses to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the Las Vegas shooter, and the California wildfires.

One alumnus recently said, “The NPLI is an amazing experience, both for the academic content and the professional exchange. If you have the opportunity, seize it!” This person grasped the two essential benefits of the executive education program:

The Power of Meta-Leadership

The core of the NPLI curriculum is the meta-leadership framework and practice method. Refined through a continuous feedback loop of classroom-to-field-to-classroom, the concepts and tools of meta-leadership are both conceptually rigorous and profoundly pragmatic. Faculty embed with leaders during or soon after incidents to determine what worked—and what didn’t—in order to continually improve the curriculum. Field experience is augmented with traditional and cutting-edge academic research in psychology, neuroscience, organizational behavior, behavioral economics, decision science, and more.

The meta-leadership framework has three dimensions. Each reveals an essential piece of the crisis leadership puzzle: The Person: Am I grounded emotionally and cognitively? The Situation: Am I oriented and adapting to the important patterns emerging in a complex, rapidly evolving environment? Connectivity: Am I connecting stakeholders and leveraging resources across the extended enterprise toward a shared desired outcome? Each dimension has corresponding tools and techniques to make it possible to put the concepts to work immediately.

The program meets on the Harvard campus for one week in December and again for a concluding session in June. The sessions are geared toward adult learners: highly interactive and discussion-based. Guest speakers provide field insights. In between the on-campus sessions, participants work on team “action learning” projects designed to address a real-world challenge.

The Power of the NPLI Network

When one attends an NPLI executive education program, one joins a network of more than 750 alumni, many in senior leadership roles. This is an invaluable resource for connections in the midst of an incident, for mentorship and career advancement, and for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. Alumni have commented that the NPLI connection creates an instant bond with other professionals.

Apply Today

Each NPLI cohort is limited to 50 participants to ensure a high-touch, high-value experience. For more information and an application, visit npli.sph.harvard.edu

Regina Jungbluth
Managing Director
National Preparedness Leadership Initiative
Phone: 617-496-0867

Released by National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI).