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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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The Meta-Leadership Approach

Over the years you have read in this column examples of how public/private partnerships can enhance an organization’s response and recovery from a disaster. PPBI has been showing the value of public/private partnerships and how an organization can take the public/private partnership concept to enhance their own organization’s response and recovery through our workshops and courses. But on a larger scale it has always been difficult to get over that first hurdle, bringing the right people and organizations together and keeping that momentum going. The CDC Foundation (an independent, nonprofit organization that helps connect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with private-sector organizations and individuals) has developed the “Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness” to address just these issues.

I just recently had had the honor to be on the host committee for the Los Angeles Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness. As a member of the Host Committee (made up of local leaders) we worked under the guidance of the CDC Foundation to host a Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness for our region. The CDC Foundation puts on the Summit while the host committee ensures that the right leaders across business, government, and nonprofit sectors are in attendance and that the event addresses preparedness issues that are unique to the location, giving the event a local flavor.

Being active in public/private partnerships for many years I knew most of the players in the area (so I thought). When I come to the networking reception the night before the all day summit I saw many a familiar face but I also saw many new faces. By the end of the next day of the summit, I made many new connections and learned the concept of a meta-leader - a leader of leaders, who mobilizes people and organizations to collaborate in times of crisis. The Los Angeles Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness drew 162 participants all with the same goal in common to be better prepared to respond to a crisis.

Through the summit, leaders learn skills needed for effective action during times of crisis and build organizational connections to strengthen community preparedness for responding to and recovering from emergencies. One of the goals of the Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness is to develop gaps (the deficiencies), gives (contributions), and gets (needs). These provide the groundwork to build upon.

The CDC Foundation’s Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness does not just stop there. They continue to work with the host committee to develop a post-summit activity so as to reconvene leaders to continue building cross-sector connectivity and applying meta-leadership concepts to preparedness planning. This post-summit activity is unique to each community. Activities are based on preparedness gaps identified at the summit and through the evaluations from the participants.

The CDC Foundation’s Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness has helped overcome that first hurdle - bringing the right people and organizations together and keeping that momentum going. With more than 30 summits conducted across the United States they have help laid the foundation of many public/private partnerships. This last Spring at DRJ’s Spring World 2011, PPBI awarded the CDC Foundation the PPBI Best Practices award. For more information on the CDC Foundation’s Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness you can visit their website at: http://www.meta-leadershipsummit.org/meta/

Lee Goldstein, CBCP, MBCI, is the president of the Business Contingency Group specializing in disaster/business recovery and emergency management planning, crisis information management software for EOCs, and humanitarian assistance programs. He serves on the board of directors for both PPBI and BICEPP. He can be reached at (818)784-3736 or via e-mail at leeg@businesscontingencygroup.com.