Day One of Training In North Carolina

Wow, while I have been here in North Carolina enjoying “cool” 90+ degree weather, back home in St. Louis, we are leaving our mark on history.  My friend “Jim” at the National Weather Service in Weldon Springs posted the following message today on Facebook …

Congratulations folks! We did it. Lambert Field has already hit 106 degrees this afternoon. Thus the summer of 2012 has broken the record for most days of 105 or higher: 11. The old record was 10 set in 1934. We tied the warmest morning in St. Louis history this morning with a low of 86, and now set a new record of days of 105 or higher. Quite a summer and it’s not done yet!

Getting Started

Early this morning we started Day One of our CERT Program Manager training.  We are conducting our class in the “Situation Room” (aka Emergency Operations Center (EOC)) at the North Carolina National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters in Raleigh.  Patty Moore, who is the North Carolina State Citizen Corps Coordinator, opened the class.

Joining Patty with his opening remarks, Mr. Mike Sprayberry, Deputy Director of Emergency Management, told participants that the Division felt honored to have our class taking place for the next two days.  He said from the state’s perspective, volunteers are really the backbone of Emergency Management.  Mr. Sprayberry shared with the class how in other parts of the world, he’s observed that people don’t have the same sense of “volunteerism” as we do here in the United States.  In other parts of the world, people feel as though if they do something for others they should be paid for it.  Here in the United States, it’s just the opposite.

North Carolina is very proud if its CERT Program.  The state ranks about 15th across the country with the number of registered CERT teams (51).  Mike closed by encouraging participants to soak in the training that they were about to receive and then go back to their communities and do something with it – teach others to be prepared..

Applicability of Concepts

While the class we are teaching is specific to developing and managing a community CERT program, much of the material we are covering in the class is equally applicable to other projects and programs in both the public and private sectors.  The following is a good example of this.

Vision, Goals, and Objectives

The first unit we covered this morning was focused on establishing a program Vision, Goals, and Objectives.  The way that we describe our program vision is by creating a goal for the program.  We have to have that goal as a starting point so we can later determine whether we have made any progress.

Sometimes a goal is called a “Mission Statement”.  Often it will describe what you will provide to whom and in what geographic area.  The program goal should be a clear and succinct statement about the program’s purpose for existence.

In order to reach our goal, we must develop objectives.  Objectives are specific activities that the program will undertake to accomplish the goal.  Objectives describe our intended future results – specific things that we will accomplish.

When we write our objectives, we need to write them so they are SMART.  SMART is an acronym (and methodology) that’s been used in the Human Resources (HR) arena for some time.  For objectives to be effective, they must be SMART:

  • Simple (or specific): It is clear and well-defined
  • Measurable: There is a way to measure progress toward achieving that goal.
  • Achievable: The resources available to accomplish the objective.
  • Realistic: The goal can be accomplished within reasonable parameters (e.g., time, cost, resource expenditure).
  • Timely: The objective includes a due date or a time when it will be accomplished.

The next thing we discussed was how to set program goals.  We introduced a simple five steps in the goal setting process:

  1. Identify community needs and sponsor needs
  2. Develop draft goal and objectives
  3. Test the goal and objectives with sponsors and stakeholders
  4. Periodically evaluate:
    • Progress toward achieving objectives
    • Appropriateness of objectives
  5. Develop new goal and objectives as needed

This is an iterative process. Periodically the program must be re-assessed  to ensure its goals are kept in alignment with the needs of the community.  That means going back to Step 1 and repeating the goal setting process. The overall program goal probably will not change, but specific goals should be reviewed regularly and updated as needed.

SWOT Analysis

Lastly, we shared with our class that strategic planning of this type is not very complicated, but it is also not a skill that most Program Managers have.  However, there are lots of resources available that can be of great support to a Program Manager including a SWOT Analysis where you specify an opportunity and identify the internal and external factors that are helpful or harmful to making the opportunity a reality:

  • Strengths – Positive internal factors within your control.  Things you could build on.
  • Weaknesses – Negative internal factors within your control. Things you should restrict or improve.
  • Opportunities – Positive external factors outside your control. Things you could build on.
  • Threats – Negative external factors outside your control. Things you should try to minimize.

Knowing where a program is going and how it is going to get there is critical to overall success.  Goals and objectives are the tools we use to lay out the program’s future.  They are an important aspect of managing existing programs as well beginning new ones.  Therefore, we have to develop an overall goal and several objectives using the goal setting process.

And we closed out the day with a few comments from Rudy Rudisill Jr. who became director of the Law Enforcement division of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety this past January 2012.  He oversees the operations of Alcohol Law Enforcement, Butler Public Safety and State Capitol Police.

Mr. Rudsill was very complimentary to the 30 participants in our class representing 20 counties from around the state.  He encouraged the class to look for ways in which to improve the synchronization, collaboration, and communication that takes place between the local communities and the state.  As we are currently in the middle of Hurricane season, the more organizations (like CERT) that we get involved at the local level , the better.

OK, so let me close out with a few pictures from our class.  Plan to come back on July 27 for my last blog posting from this class and a special announcement for next week.

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One Response to Day One of Training In North Carolina

  1. Thank you, Joe and Tim for 2 days of awesome training! I look forward to putting the knowledge to use soon to get our program started. Your classes have given me vision and directive and interest in taking some business classes, as well as other classes to give me a stronger foundation in being the leader my volunteers deserve and can look up to. Great work! I hope to be part of another class that you both instruct!

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