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New Years Resolutions for 2014

When looking forward to 2014 here are some ideas to explore.

Learning from other people's experiences, successes and failures, is always better than having to learn it all via your own experiences.  Reading Governing Magazine's Public Officials of the Year for 2013 highlighted for me some qualities and techniques we should all be striving for in 2014.


These are items that I gleaned from reading the above article--in no particular order:


  • Innovation: is key in the 21st Century.  What has worked in the past will many times not work in the future.  Don't wait for other people to do the innovating--try doing old things in new ways yourself.
  • Take risks:  Failure isn't fatal.  Be willing to have a failure on your way towards doing things differently.  If you risk nothing the gains you make will be slow in coming.  Only by taking risks do you have the opportunity to gain ground in giant leaps.
  • Trust underlies most of what we do.  Trust has to be found in our internal organizations and in our internal relationships.  Without trust not much will be accomplished.
  • Compromise is in short supply.  Not only in Washington, D.C. but in our own inter-jurisdictional dealings.  When you compromise you many times can accomplish more than just going forward on your own.  Is it possible to to do some joint exercises?  Might you be able to have a regional plan?  Could you combine your training programs with another agency and accomplish more?  Doesn't public education work better when it is accomplished on a regional basis?
  • Change, an easy word to say, but hard to accept when it means that the change required includes our own thinking and behaviors.  If you haven't noticed change is happening more frequently and faster than ever before.  
  • Think and act for the long term--be consistent:  All of the above might not happen overnight.  Commit to the long haul.  Short term thinking and looking for immediate successes might doom your thinking to be all about failure.  By staying the course people will begin to believe that you are committed to a course of action.  
  • Incentivize your desired outcomes:  When looking to change direction or implement new concepts offer more carrots than sticks.  Think about what might motivate people to invest in mitigation, what incentives can you offer them?  For regional players what might possibly motivate them to join you?  
  • Individual action matters:  The stories of the seven people featured reinforces the concept that what you do as "an individual" makes a difference.  Let's each commit to making our sphere of influence better than what it is today in 2014.

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.