EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — December 09, 2009

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck
Maximizing the Return on Your Training and Exercise Investment

Judith Hale, Ph.D., CPT
Hale Associates

Dean R. Larson, PhD, CEM®, CSP, CPT
Larson Performance Consulting

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

The following has been prepared from a transcription of the recording. The complete slide set (Adobe PDF) may be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/Hale/MazimizingROI.pdf for ease of printing.

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone. Welcome to EMforum.org. I am Amy Sebring and will serve as Moderator today. We are very glad you could join us.

Our topic today is "Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck: Maximizing the Return on Your Training and Exercise Investment." Performance improvement is the ultimate goal of training and exercising, and exists as a field of study in its own right. Today’s guests will discuss performance improvement in the context of emergency management, and use the "Ready, Willing, and Able" model to illustrate the concepts.

Training and exercises have always been an expensive proposition, and we expect it is even more challenging in the current economic climate, so today’s survey asks:

Now before I introduce our guests, let’s take a quick look at our poll results.


How do current or projected budget shortfalls impact your exercise and training program?

Severely = 4 (30%)
Moderately = 6 (46%)
Marginally = 2 (15%)
No impact = 1 (7%)

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today’s guests:

[Slide 1]

Dr. Judith Hale has been a management consultant in the public and private sectors for over 25 years, specializing in needs assessments, certification programs, evaluation protocols, and the implementation of major interventions. She is the author of several books and a regular speaker at international and national conferences on subjects related to performance improvement. She is a past president of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTPI).

Our good friend, Dr. Dean Larson wears many hats. Today he brings his emergency management related experience to our topic, and currently serves on the NFPA Technical Committee on Emergency Management and Business Continuity. He also founded the Emergency Management Certificate Program at Purdue University, Calumet Indiana, where he teaches as visiting faculty. Until his retirement in 2003, Dean served as Department Manager of Safety and Industrial Hygiene at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works facility.

Welcome to you both, and thank you very much for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to Judith to start us off please.


Judith Hale: Thank you very much, Amy. It’s a real honor to be here and be able to talk to everyone. When we talked about my past role in the International Society for Performance Improvement, it might help our audience to understand it. We have an emergency management team that meets regularly, and Dean is on that team.

It was that group, that team, that decided – recommended - that we put together a program for the Emergency Management Forum. They thought it would be interesting to talk about, maximizing results on our training and investment and exercise investment.

[Slide 2]

What happens here is that we’re saying training is essential, as are exercises. But training is designed to build capability, and exercises measure learning, prepare people for emergencies, but they also allow this opportunity to improvise.

[Slide 3]

But we’re also saying that training and exercises in themselves are insufficient. They will not really produce or sustain proficiency at emergency management response. That’s partially because, if you want people to be proficient, that are other things that have to be in place.

One of them is what’s in the workplace, and we’re talking about consistent, clear leadership. We’re talking about management practices that reinforce smart behaviors, and we’re talking about an infrastructure—and that can be tools, systems, and things like that. That active support, the ability to respond to emergency situations in an appropriate way.

Then there is of course, the work itself—the roles and responsibilities—the work tools we have are something like that.

[Slide 4]

We came up with what we call the "ready, willing, and able" model. This model is designed to be a diagnostic tool. When you keep getting requests for more and more training, and more and more exercises, the answer is yes, you’ll do it, but you can step back and say, "What else has to be in place if you really want people to be proficient?"

What we’re saying is to be ready to have to know what to do, why, and you have to have resources, they have to be willing, they have to understand this, and finally and able, they have to not only be capable, and have the capacity, you have to have management support to do it.

[Slide 5]

At this point, I thought it would be nice to have Dean speak about this particular model.

Dean Larson: Thanks, Judy. It’s a real privilege and pleasure to be here. One of the gurus in the field of performance improvement is a man named Dr. Robert Mager, who said that when people don’t do what you expect them to do, it’s one of three reasons. One, they don’t know how, which really equates to our ‘ready’ piece of this model.

The second reason is when they don’t want to—they don’t see a value in it, or they don’t believe they can really perform competently—that’s the ‘willing’ piece of it. And the third one, which is the one that is usually the stumbling block to adequate performance, is they don’t have that capacity, that support, that management coaching—in other words, they can have management say, "It was okay to learn that in that training course, but on the job, this is how we really do this."

What we’re saying is if you see those three circles—the ready, willing, and able—that’s really the know-how, the management that all those things that are needed. The willing is the motivation piece, and the able is the free from variants performance, is those three circles come together. The goal, of course, is bring the circles together so that they are concentric, and we really have one circle.

The convergence center, the area in the center, will continue to increase and that is what we feel we can add in the field of performance improvement tools that will give us they capability of doing it. Back to you, Judy.

[Slide 6]

Judith Hale: When we talk about leadership management and infrastructure, and you have a request for more training or more exercises, the question is find out—do we have clear consistent direction and do we have adequate information? Is information consistent; is it conflicting, what have you? Why? Because that then helps you design the kind of exercises to make sure they’re truly relevant, make sure the exercises really help people accommodate even deficiencies in these particular areas.

This diagnostic tool is meant to drive conversations about what is really real in your working arrangement.

[Slide 7]

Similarly, you need to find out if the performance management piece is really there. In other words, have people individually been—is it clear to them what is expected of them in an emergency situation or related to some disaster that might interrupt business continuity.

Secondly, we know that proficiency absolutely depends on feedback. Is there a feedback loop so they can monitor how well they are doing? My bad joke is that no pilot ever gets on a plane and flies for a couple hours and hopes that he/she arrives at the right airport. The pilot is constantly getting feedback about where they’re going, which increases the odds if they get to the right airport with sufficient fuel in a safe manner.

It’s always amazing to me how few jobs are really designed with that same adequate feedback loop so that people can be self-correcting in the moment. Again, training’s role, exercising’s role; with consequences or no consequences, then they can help with that.

[Slide 8]

The first part here, which is the field we pretend to play in, is asking questions about, when an emergency arises, what are the supports that are available and do we really have access to them? Do they know what is expected of them? Again, we need to know if your training and exercise is refresher, or are you really starting from scratch?

You could ask questions about the adequacy of on the job support. It really helps and makes your training much more efficient and much more effective when you understand all three of these particular pieces. Dean, I’m going to turn it back to you.

[Slide 9]

Dean Larson: Again, this goes back to "ready, willing, and able", which is people know what to do, in other words, they know how to do the job and this is where the role of training is. If they know how to do the job, if you add more training, particularly with adults, you have a real chance of turning them off. They say, "I already know how to do this". What the adults really want to do is be able to prove they can do this, and re-prove they can do that.

Again, if the people know what to do, more training is not going to be the answer. Then it comes down do people have a desire to do it, which is a function of, number one, do they see a value in the performance, and number two, the thing called self-efficacy. This is a little different than self-confidence.

I’ll give you an example which I think helps clarify it in my mind, and hopefully with you. I can show you pictures of Olympic swimmers. I can show you videos. I can take you to swim meets. I can explain to you all the strokes. I can explain to you all the different pieces of swimming.

But until you get into the water and prove to yourself that, number one, you are not going to drown in the water, and number two, you in fact, can do swimming—you can move through the water in a systematic rhythmic way, you can’t swim. That comes down to the self-efficacy piece.

The third piece is one of the things that Judy mentioned that we work in the area of performance improvement is removing the obstacles to effective performances. Those obstacles can be all sorts of things—wrong person for the right job, so that’s a personal selection.

Do you have a mission statement? Do you have a vision statement? If you have a mission/vision statement, does every person in the organization really comprehend that mission and vision statement so each and every day on the job they understand, okay this is our focus, and this is how we’re going to do that?

It’s a whole series of interventions to help improve performance. At the bottom of the list is training, because it’s the least effective, when you look at all the other things that could be done instead of it, and it’s also the most expensive. When you look at that list of interventions, there’s only one thing that is more expensive than training, and that’s getting new people to do the job. Which of course, is the first thing you have to do is training.

The role of exercises is to measure, in fact, are you capable? Are you competent? Are you ready to do the job? It also gives you the opportunity, as Judy mentioned earlier, to improvise, because we can make reasonable predictions on what we can expect. We can prepare for those things that we can expect, but there’s always the element that we don’t have perfect predictions.

[Slide 10]

What performance requires is that clear, consistent direction. In other words, that piece that we want to make sure that everybody is aligned, they’re doing the same job, and all moving in the same direction. I draw the analogy of a band marching down the street and everybody’s going with different drummers and different beats—chaos reigns.

[Slide 11]

When we talk about performance management system, we want to make sure we have a system that rewards or punishes the right behaviors. When I say "punishes", that is to make sure there are consequences for not doing it correctly. There are certainly rewards that match performance.

We want to make sure we have incentives and reward behaviors and all those behaviors that are ethical, efficient and effective. We realize more and more in our society that ethical behavior is a real strong issue that we need to address. When we talk about efficient and effective, efficient means that the return on an effect on whatever it cost you to perform, isn’t more expensive than the actual outlay of resources and you effectively reach your goal.

[Slide 12]

Judith Hale: This last part we’re showing, if you have performance, you really do need performance support systems. You actually need people who know what to do in the moment. They have confidence and the efficacy, which Dean talked about, to know how to respond to an emergency. But they also need just-in-time support, and that comes back to labeling tools, it comes back to clear signage, it comes back to tools it’s hard to misuse and things like that. Those are factors collectively that do that.

[Slide 13]

This is our summary piece. When you’re looking at investing more dollars in training and in exercises; pause a moment. Ask more questions. Do we have all of this in place? Is it really effective? Is it really working? And then, ask yourself, what role training exercises might do to handle deficiencies in these others, or do you need to go back to management with some information about what else needs to be done if we really want people to be able to respond adequately in emergency situations?

[Slide 14]

Dean, do you have some final statements?

Dean Larson: Our goal is to bring these three circles concentric. We pictured a small brown triangle in the center that as the circles come to be more concentric, that pyramid in the center will continue to increase. The idea is that we have the convergence of the ready, willing and able.

[Slide 15]

That wraps up our formal presentation. We appreciate the opportunity. We have given you contact information if you’d like to contact us directly. Amy, we are ready for your questions.

Amy Sebring: Thanks very much to both of you for that good introduction. Now, to proceed to our Q&A.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Amy Sebring: I don’t know if the situation hasn’t improved any, but in my experience in the past, we seem to keep identifying the same deficiencies over and over again after exercises, and we don’t seem to learn--the lack of follow-through for corrective actions -- and I’m wondering if you have some comments on that.

Judith Hale: What we say in "ready, willing, and able" is that if you keep doing the same thing, and you have the same corrective action, there’s something else in the way. There are barriers to it. We know from our research that most of the barriers come from the areas of leadership, management and infrastructure. That’s number one.

People, in the moment or on the job, are getting mixed signals. They’re being incented for not what you want them to do. There is perhaps a selection error, the wrong person in the job. Or the tools that people are expected to use, the support system in the emergency, are simply insufficient.

The better quality diagnosis that requires going in and asking hard questions and validating and confirming what you think is in place, is actually in place. The "ready, willing, and able" is a simplistic diagnostic model. We like it because it communicates something to management what has to be in place. Behind that is a lot more inquiry that one could engage in. Dean, would you like to add anything to that?

Dean Larson: I would add that if you have, as we all would expect in emergency management, you’re going to have a critique at the end, and you’re going to try to collect the experiences and the lessons learned. If you don’t act on those, the cost of the exercise becomes very, very high because you don’t have any return on investment.

All you’ve done is, yes, there’s experience in going through the simulation, some experience with actually improvising, but we do this to find problems. You do this in the field of emergency management and certainly other areas of business continuity. If you don’t act on those problems systematically—it’s not good enough just to come up with a list of corrective actions, those have to be tracked to completion. If not, you’re going to continue to repeat it.

Cliff Moore: What would your best advice be to people to improve Senior Executive commitment in an effort to improve the "Willing" area of your model?

Judith Hale: First of all, Senior Executive commitment, I think management believes that this information is communicated—I would like to say that you actually picked the more troublesome part of the model—management believes that Human Resources has adequately communicated clearly the expectations, has set up systems for feedback. Human resources, however, believes that management has that job. That is frequently the area that no one owns, and everybody blames.

That’s again why so many performance measurement systems are administrative exercises, and they really are not tied to anything. To help management make a commitment, I would present them, like a simplistic model, giving you an example and there may be others, this is what really has to be in place for people to be effective, particularly in emergency situations.

Ask the question, "What is really in place? Who owns this? Who is accountable for this being in place?" You’ll find, frequently there’s confusion in the "willing" area. There’s confusion over who is actually accountable for making that happen, and making sure it’s current, consistent, as new worries happen.

I think any commitment is having the courage to ask the question, and ask it in an honorable, nice way, and facilitate some dialog about the consequences, when, in fact, no one owns it. Dean, do you have anything to add?

Dean Larson: One of the other ways it occurs to me that you can increase the "willing" part of that, is in fact, have your top management participate in your exercises. If your top management says, "I don’t have time", then make your exercises short—one hour tabletop. Get them involved in the thing.

If top management is reluctant to get involved, ask them to come in and be a critique for a tabletop, and let other people play the top management people. Let your top management be an observer and involve them in critique. My prediction was that if you get them to become an observer and help you evaluate an exercise, the next exercise, they’re going to be ready to be in place.

Amy Sebring: Perhaps you could talk a little bit more about the support area that you were referring to. That brings to my mind—that may fall in different areas in terms of having the right equipment to do the job, having enough staff to do the job—could you elaborate a little bit on the idea of that kind of support?

Judith Hale: I’ll start with talking about having support that’s really accessible in an emergency. We have all kinds of things—we have online help screens, we have little post-its stickies that you put around, we have job aids, we have color code systems. Those will work, but will they work in an emergency situation?

I was at a naval conference not too long ago, and they were advocating PDAs—personal little tools that people could carry with them in an emergency to be reminded of a procedure. It was interesting that there was a young man who was a navy personnel, whose job it is, he’s a medic under fire to crawl on his belly and pull wounded soldiers, and stabilize them. He said, "I don’t think a PDA is going to work for me there."

Other people talked about fires, and they said, "We don’t think a PDA is going to work." An exercise is an opportunity to see what does work, what are the tools if you have to rapidly recall procedures, and you have to do those things, and it may not be something you do every day—what’s in place to make sure that people carry out accurately, completely, in a way that they don’t do more damage or damage themselves, or something like that.

Part of that is the Japanese concept of designing tools so that they only work one way—designing doors so they only open one way—its the design solution. When emergency is happening, urgency is afoot, what do we have in place that works? In that environment, it helps people respond adequately.

Dean Larson: I would add that, you always have the problem of people acting on what they think they know rather than what you’ve done in a plan. One of your approaches is, have your plan as short and concise as possible.

I had the opportunity, with my students, to write an evacuation plan for 2 counties here in Indiana. One of the directions we got was that the plan could not be more than 6 pages long so it could be laminated, rolled up, and put in a back pocket in times of heavy weather and all that. It was a real challenge to get this emergency evacuation annex down to 6 pages.

What we did was we basically made this thing into a bulleted checklist format—as short as possible. When we took it to the federal government, they said, "This is not long enough." We said, "Please read this." And the end result was, they said, "This is all you need right here, because this is part of another plan."

The important thing was to get the people who were going to do the action to read their own plans. That’s a real challenge. I would offer to you that if you see an area where they’re not getting into their plan, write a scenario that will require them to get into their plans. In other words, say, "Here’s an area they need to be more proficient on, and they need to get in their plans." Write your scenario in a way that they have to go in and do research in their own plans.

Avagene Moore: Judith and Dean: Do you advise a program combining tabletop and full-scale exercises? Advantages or disadvantages in both forms?

Dean Larson: I would combine the whole gamut. I would refer you to the HSEEP program, the Homeland Security Emergency Exercise Program, because it really talks about the full gamut, and they use the term "building blocks", and to me, it’s a good metaphor—how you build up to your performance.

Tabletops are effective when you’ve got people who have a limited amount of time to participate, and they’ll get in there. The tabletops kind of build that self-efficacy piece that we talked about, and the willing piece, and get them up to the level, and then start building them up to the full scale.

The good thing about an exercise is you can do this safely. You can simulate. You can do those things and if there is some type of emergency, you can stop, you can hold school call, and you can get back to that. In a real emergency, you don’t have any time to stop. You have to keep moving forward. Your exercise program, I would advocate a full program, but start with a walk and keep building up.

One more thing on your tabletops: if you have a large organization that you’re trying to encourage to participate and get involved in your program, you might do a thing that we’ve used on my campus at Purdue University Calumet very effectively—it’s a fishbowl. We recreate the EOC in the middle of a large assembly hall.

We put in performance aids, and used pictures and that sort of thing to simulate what we have in our own EOC, and then invite people to sit in concentric circles around the exercise. The crisis management team is presented with a scenario that they’ve never seen before. They act on it. They go through it. Then, you involve all the people around you to help you evaluate.

That’s what I was thinking about when I talked about, if you can’t get your top management to participate, ask them to come in and check on your other people and engage them that way. Judy, comment?

Judith Hale: I agree. Full-blown exercises are very expensive and very time-consuming. They’re expensive because they take people off task to do this. It’s very disruptive, but essential to really finding out if people know what to do.

Tabletops and those types of things are a good way to prepare people. It’s a good way to enroll people in understanding the scope of what’s required in an emergency (what Dean was talking about—top management buy-in). This also allows new people to test out how clear what they think they’re supposed to do and how accurate it is.

It’s a safer way for people to learn that their understanding is not accurate or complete enough. A tabletop helps build proficiency. They test that out. Then you periodically do a full-blown and find out that people’s understanding about roles, relationships, responsibilities, actions, and procedures are in fact, complete and thorough.

Rob Littrell: Are you familiar with a good site for sharing training & exercise best practices and planning materials? LLIS is good for finding AARs and HSEEP has blank templates, but it is hard to find good planning materials which have worked, especially for multiagency and Incident Management Training at the local level.

Dean Larson: You hit a good question, and to be honest with you, I don’t have a good answer. We certainly have a need for that. Your LLIS is a good point, but I’m not sure how many people are accessing it. The blank templates—one of the things that I think is a hamper with the (HSEEP) is that it’s pretty labor intensive to try to use the whole program. It would be better if you went in and took out pieces you needed.

As far as a website for sharing best practices, I don’t think we have it. I would encourage you to participate in the listserv offered by International Association of Emergency Managers because I see people freely exchanging. If you are involved at all with the university preparedness, I recommend very strongly the listserv DRU (Disaster Resistant University) because people are quite willing, I see, to share openly.

Judith Hale: I was thinking about this. What I came up with was, Dean, maybe this is an assignment our team can take on.

Dean Larson: We’d be happy to do that and investigate what’s available right now and put that out in a future performance. I would invite the person who sent us that question to send it to both Judy and I (you’ve got our email addresses there) and we’ll just share it with our whole team. We’ve got some team members that are participating today. Chris, listen up, we got a job to do. We think it’s a great one. Thank you very much and we promise you we’ll get you feedback in the future.

Amy Sebring: In your experience, what role does experience play? Where I am coming from on this question, especially with disasters and emergencies, there’s nothing like the real deal to add to your knowledge. The concern we have is that we are going to be shortly losing a generation of very experienced people, just due to retirement. Do you discuss any of that in your work?

Judith Hale: I think you raised a very critical issue. We call it the loss of tacit knowledge. People with a lot of experience have forgotten what they know. When you interview them and when you talk to them, they only partially disclose what they know, because it’s so deep, but in an emergency, they know intuitively what to do. How do you get that?

In our world, there’s some new work being done—cognitive task analysis—and that is getting to the thinking and logic of our experienced people. This is an opportunity for us, when you see someone about to leave, how can we interview them differently to better identify their thinking logic and put them in situations, and why do they do that, and things like that.

The other thing is using your exercises and have them serve as role models. To put them in an exercise and find out what they do, and then during debriefing—not so corrective action—but the debriefing is around why did you do that? Why didn’t you go there? It’s a cognitive kind of approach.

I would ask people to consider looking at the work of Richard Clark. Dr. Richard Clark has done a great deal of work in this area. There’s another gentleman, Ken Silber. These are people who are really doing a lot of work in cognitive task analysis.

Ken recently worked with law enforcement agencies to do just what we talked about, Amy—that is, look at experience people and how do they go out and handle volatile situations and not get killed themselves, not put other innocent people in danger. Experienced people approach it differently than novice people who read the books and things like that.

I’m going to summarize. Learn to do cognitive task analysis. Learn to try and surface their logic and thinking—why have they discarded this and why the put emphasis on that, what have you. You need to understand that when you do that, they will hate you. If you’ve ever been around a 3-year-old that asked "Why is the sky blue?" and "Why does leaf look that way?" it’s a maddening set of questions.

Part of that is because you’re trying to get people to surface what is so deep in them, in terms of their cognitive processes. It’s an exercise in agony for them.

One part you have to understand is that it will never be complete. You can put so much in this process and you only get one third of what you need to know. You need to do some other people. You don’t need to do a lot. Three people will get you to 80%, about the critical, and perhaps rely on future learning to fill in the gaps. I’m hoping that makes sense, Amy.

Amy Sebring: Yes, it does, and it’s very interesting to hear that there is work being done in this area. Dean, did you have any comment on what happened when you retired?

Dear Larson: As my wife would say, I still haven’t. One of the things (I retired from U.S. Steel) that they have done, I think, effectively is taken and invited some of their managers who have retired to come back on a consulting basis, where they come back in for a specific project. They are brought back in because of their expertise in a certain area. What they really do as a corporation is capture some of the hard-learned lessons.

U.S. Steel isn’t unique, but they’ve made it in such a way that it’s optional, you come back, it fits your schedule, and you certainly can still play on that. I think one of the things, and it’s my observation, is when people retire, they don’t stop thinking. They don’t stop being creative. There’s nothing better than asking people to say, "What do you think about this? How about coming in?"

We’re talking about exercises and training—bring some of those retired people back in to help evaluate exercises. It’s a terrific way to capture some of their knowledge. They are certainly not under the gun; they are not under pressure. You can still try to use some of that and get a return.

Amy Sebring: One of the things that you did identify in the "able" section was the role of leadership. We’ve done a program or two in the past on leadership, and I wondered, Judith, if you could start off, and just a little bit more about why that’s so important.

Judith Hale: Leadership is really about the commitment, and it’s about consistency. Leadership is demonstrated by true commitment to making sure to being able to truly respond and handle emergencies, rather than being naïve that emergencies won’t happen. Some of our disasters that have been showing up in the press are because management went counter to recommendations from either fire marshals, emergency management people, law enforcement, and building code officials.

They discounted that. So part of leadership is learning to honor what that expertise is. If you don’t like it and find it expensive, at least put it on the table to provide a platform for dialog. I am a strong believer that we need a legitimate group that, I call it a table, where people can come legitimately, periodically (whether it be once a year, twice a year, once a quarter) and really discuss and put out on the table the barriers that Dean talked about, the cost implications, and put out the questions about what are we really committed to do.

Get by chance different stakeholders and it should be okay to disagree. It should be okay to raise difficult questions. When they choose to continue as a group, and they choose to continue not to support certain things, but it’s in the open what we’re doing. Leadership, is really my opinion, it’s what they have committed and have committed because have gotten money, resources, and as well as just lip service. They provide an avenue of discourse, debate, to argue the issues and consider legitimacy in that effort.

Dean has just recently answered (a graduate student sent the question), Dean put out the five drivers of business. He has mentioned safety, environmental protection, quality, customer service, and cost. Those factors fight, if you will. They are forever drawing on resources. The conversation is going to be—what are our priorities? What are the trade-offs?

I can say that’s what leadership should do, or also say to Amy, it’s just between you and me and nobody is allowed to hear it, I don’t think our business schools have been very adequate in defining on what leadership is and what it takes. That’s just a bias on my part.

Dean Larson: Let me add to what Judy said about five drivers of the business. The best metaphor I’ve seen is God, in his infinite wisdom, gave us hands that have five fingers. Each finger is shaped differently, has different ways that it interacts with the other four fingers. But we all know what happens if we’re doing a home repair project and we manage to connect a hammer with a thumb. That thumb is very sore. Then the other four fingers have to do the work of five.

That’s the same thing with the five drivers of business. Safety, environmental quality, customer service, and cost—if one of those gets out of balance, then the other four are stressed and the chances are with the other four, you’re not doing as well. Your cost goes up, your customers are unhappy, you’re probably going to spill something on the ground, and your quality goes away when you have a safety problem.

If your customers are unhappy, you start saying, "Well, maybe we’re not making production schedule," and we start to push, and we start to increase it. The idea with management is to have a balance.

The other point I would want to make with management is, one of my first lessons-learned when I started my Navy officer training is to lead by example. The leader of the organization is always responsible for the organization. If they don’t take that responsibility and they don’t take it seriously, the organization will suffer.

Exercises are a perfect way for leaders to be involved and show the rest of the organization that this is important. May I quickly offer a tale, when we were doing emergency evacuations when I was at U.S. Steel at a plant in Gary and we had a building that went back to 1905. It was not designed well in terms of our modern standards, so emergency evacuation drills were critically important.

But we had one of our senior managers who just couldn’t be bothered to evacuate with everybody else. The way he would handle it was he would close the door to his office and they would tell his people to go ahead and evacuate, and "I’ll be here and I’ll be safe." One day, the general manager called me over and he said, "Would you go back up and invite him to join us out here on the lawn, and we’ll wait for him?"

It was embarrassing for the man who chose not to participate, but I can guarantee you, the message was loud and clear: The boss wants us to practice evacuation. When I get on that subject of practicing evacuation, read the 911 report and talk about the importance of evacuation, and see one company in particular, Shearson Lehman, did practice and they lost 6 out of 2,400 people as opposed to other companies.

Christopher Tantlinger: Has there been an attempt to design an exercise that culminates over an extended time period, such as every work day for two months. Where you would log on to an exercise and resolve exercise injects for a few minutes per day. Doing it remotely and then review the results.

Dean Larson: I know of none, although it goes back to your organization being very committed to allow that kind of participation, but it certainly would give you the opportunity to take advantage of what changes are with time. Oftentimes, in exercises, you simulate an accelerated clock. The time passes 3 or 4 times as fast. Interesting idea. I would encourage contacting us and let us explore that.

Maybe that’s one of those lessons learned we start with. What are the upsides and downsides of an extended exercise. Judy?

Judith Hale: We may also have one of our committee members who know of one, but we just don’t.

Amy Sebring: I’m not familiar with anybody doing that type of thing. I can see the benefit of smaller doses that are less disruptive but keeps you on your toes. Interesting idea.

Avagene Moore: Dean, my impression as an emergency manager with responsibility for periodic exercises a few years ago, was that department heads and others involved were fearful - afraid of making mistakes and possibly being cited for them. Has that attitude changed with more education about why we exercise?

Dean Larson: I would say that I don’t think that attitude has gone away. I think it comes right back to—people are afraid of failure. Well if your leader said the purpose of an exercise is to find out our strengths and our weaknesses, and by the way, we’re not going to punish you for stepping forward. That’s one thing to say that, but then the leader has to communicate that they welcome people stepping forward.

Avagene, you have a good point. People are fearful because they don’t want to look bad in terms of the people above them, their peers, and the people below them. But if the organization has the kind of atmosphere that says, "We do this to find mistakes, and finding mistakes in an exercise is far better than finding them in an emergency."

Judith Hale: The fear has to do with how management responds. If they’re going to be publicly embarrassed, if they’re going to be criticized or something, and it’s not seen as a learning opportunity, then you will always have fear. So this comes back to leadership and how it responds to this.

Dean Larson: May I throw in something? When we’re dealing with exercises in emergency management and one of the things is obviously, and we touched on this, is what happens when that generation goes away? One of the things is, we need to explain and show young people that the whole field of emergency management and exercises is exciting.

One of the things that I would offer to you as a suggestion, is we keep talking about interoperability. Usually interoperability has some huge price tag to it (you buy me the radio they’re on the same frequency). I’m suggesting you start dealing with interoperability in learning how better to work together.

One of the ways to bring young people in there is to involve social media in your exercises. In other words, have your exercise and have your young people show you, "We do this by Twitter, or we do this by Facebook." Excellent example last June of the CNN coverage out of Iran that was totally done by Twitter, even though the government tried to shut it down.

As I listened to this, I thought "What a great exercise, to say I’ve shut down my normal means of communication—let’s see what I can do with that." Bring those young people out, who will show the old guys and the old women, "how do you use all these things?" In other words, it’s the young teaching the old, and all of a sudden you’ve hooked the young. Thanks again.

Judith Hale: My last thoughts are that I really enjoyed working with the emergency management team within ISPI. The team has made some commitments about doing future work. We already have one suggestion from one of your callers. We would be interested and open to other things. Thank you very much.


Amy Sebring: Time to wrap for today. Thanks very much to you both for an excellent job, and taking the time to share this information with us. We wish you continued success in your future efforts. Please keep us informed of any further developments.

Please stand by just a moment while we make a couple of quick announcements...

Again, the recording should be available later this afternoon. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to get notices of future sessions and availability of transcripts, just go to our home page to Subscribe, or you can sign up for our RSS Feed, or follow us on Twitter.

We do thank everyone for participating today and for the good suggestions. This is our last program for 2009, and we appreciate your support throughout the year. We would also like to acknowledge our behind the scenes associates, Lori Wieber and Kimberly Berlin for all their work in preparing the text transcript. On behalf of Avagene, myself, and the EIIP Board of Directors, we wish you holiday wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season and a very Happy New Year!