Summer Reading

As I’m sitting here writing this blog, I’m thinking about how we have now crossed over half-way through this year.    The kids are on summer break and anxious for a summer vacation.  I hope they want to go somewhere sunny and warm (hot) so we can simply stay at home!  It’s been record-setting hot here in St Louis the past few days.  If they want to go somewhere cooler, we may need to go South to Florida or South Texas.

I also hope that the first six months have been as good to you as they have been for me.  I’ve been blessed with contract work that has allowed me to travel and see parts of our great country.  Along the way, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with great people who have since become friends.  I’ve been fortunate to work with other high-caliber instructors who have helped me become a better instructor.  I’ve also been able to chronicle and share with you, through my blog, stories about the classes, the people, and the communities.  It really has been a lot of fun, and I look forward to the next six-months that are in front of us.  I hope you do too.

And while we’re at it, please plan on coming back on July 15 when I post a new installment that will include details from a class I’ll be teaching about “Joint Information System (JIS) / Joint Information Center (JIC) Planning for Tribal, State, and Local Public Information Officers”.  While the class is geared towards the public sector, there’s great applicability in the private sector as well – think business continuity and crisis management.

So let’s get to the subject at hand …. Summer reading.

For some time now, I’ve had the chance to read some really good books about emergency preparedness, business continuity, and leadership.   I thought I’d share with you a few of the more recent books that I’ve read.  And hey … if you want to comment on any of the three books that follow, or mention other books you feel are worth reading, post a comment on this blog.

My SIM RLF Experience

But before we talk books, allow me to start by sharing with you an experience I was fortunate to take part in several years ago that really helped me become the reader I am today.  At the time I was managing a team of eight managerial subordinates tasked with developing and managing AT&T’s (formerly SBC) IT business continuity and disaster recovery efforts.  “Tony” (truly one of the best managers/leaders I have EVER worked for) must have seen something in me, because he nominated me to attend the Regional Leadership Forum program of the Society of Information Management (SIM RLF).

In short, SIM’s Regional Leadership Forum (RLF) is an intensive, ten-month leadership development program focused on creating authentic leaders.  Since 1992 over 3000 graduates and more than 300 sponsors have found RLF the key to developing leadership effectiveness.

SIM’s Regional Leadership Forum (RLF) provides a time-tested and successful process to aid organizations in building that strong leadership team.  The key word here is “process”.  RLF is not just another series of classroom lectures.  It is an interactive, engaging and motivating series of activities that provides the individual with a set of building blocks and knowledge necessary to lift them to the top of the profession.  And in that process, individuals discover their own “authentic leadership style”.  One that allows them to not only create effective strategic vision and tactical plans, but to do so in a work atmosphere that engenders trust, inspiration and a recognized sense of accomplishment for their colleagues.

Although the 30 books that we needed to read during the ten-months was at first a bit daunting, something happened along the way where I really started to enjoy not just the reading, but the learning that occurred through reading and more importantly from the terrific discussions that took place.  And, I’m very pleased that today, I still enjoy reading … and learning.

As a side note, one of the features I enjoy with LinkedIn is the “Reading List by Amazon”.  If you checkout my profile , you will see that I’ve included several books I’ve read in the past, including the following three.

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why, by Amanda Ripley

I actually read this book some time ago, but I carry it with me now to every class I teach and I hold it up and tell everyone it’s a “must read” book for anyone in the emergency management or business continuity field.

While I was on campus at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) sometime back I found this book in the Learning Resource Center.   Ripley researched past disasters and talked to survivors as well as industry experts.  In her book, she lays out terrific insight as to why some victims perish and some live. More importantly, it’s with this insight and understanding that we can be more effective in educating others as to the “why” we need to be prepared, so that they too can prepare and be ready for emergencies or disasters that affect them.

I encourage you to take the time to get the book and read it. You won’t be disappointed.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently, by John C. Maxwell

Well, what can I say … the book is another John Maxwell winner.  I’ve added this book to my “must read” list.  I reference this book in classes I teach in the areas of leadership as well as effective communications and instructor development.  The book’s premise is that while many of us communicate often, seldom do we really establish a connection with those we are communicating with.   Throughout the book Maxwell does a terrific job addressing how to “connect” with individuals on an individual basis, in a group setting, and with an audience. Much of what we do in leadership, coaching, supervision, teaching, and personally relies on connecting with others … not just communicating.  And as we make those connections, our relationships strengthen and improve.  My advice to you is, read this book.  I think you will enjoy it.

Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America’s Leaders, by Chesley B. Sullenberger

Like you perhaps, I became a fan of “Sully” when he landed US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River.  I was on a recent trip and was looking for a good read for on the way home.  “Making a Difference” had been just released and so I picked it up.  Boy, am I glad I did.  The book contains 11 distinct chapters that are based on 11 different interviews Sully had with influential leaders that we all recognize from a variety of industries including sports, business, government and military. Each chapter (interview) provides sound leadership insight. The book is both interesting and entertaining to read which helps make it a fast read.  And like the other two books mentioned, I’d recommend this book.

Well there you have it, three terrific books that will inform you and entertain you throughout the summer.  If you ready any or all of these, please post a comment on my blog and let me know how you liked the book(s).

Getting Prepared In a Year

As I mentioned in my last blog, I hope you are finding this section of my blog helpful and that you are using it to either build your preparedness from the ground floor up, or you are using it to enhance what you have already done.  If you have other tips you would like to pass on, please use the “Comment” function on my blog and drop me a note.  I’ll include your ideas in a future blog.

So, continuing on, here’s what you can do now to add to your preparedness kit:

From your local grocery store, pick up the following items:

  • 1 large can of juice.
  • 1 box large plastic food bags
  • 1 box quick energy snacks (i.e. granola bars, etc.)
  • 3 rolls of paper towels
  • Sunscreen and bug spray (if needed)

Things to Do:

  • Store a roll of quarters for emergency phone calls (yes, there are still some pay-phones).
  • Go on a hunt with your family to find a pay phone near your home – and write down its location and store that in your preparedness kit/plan.  You might also want to locate a back-up pay phone.
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One Response to Summer Reading

  1. krista rowland says:

    Thank you Tim. Good advice I’m going to take!!

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