As we have watched and listened to the news from Japan for the last few weeks, our hearts go out to the people and we marvel at their perseverance in the face of such tremendous challenges. We also are clearly reminded of our professional obligations to do our part in preparing for such events in our backyards.
A recent article published by Public Administration faculty member Chris Silvia is directly relevant to this need. Since natural and man-made disasters rarely occur within a single jurisdiction and the ability of any one organization to effectively respond by itself is frequently exceeded, a collaborative approach to emergency management can best address the resulting needs.
But organizations cannot wait until the moment of crisis to establish these collaborative relationships. Effective collaboration requires that the collaborative partners have the time and opportunity to:
• see that their ability to achieve their individual goals and mission can be enhanced through teamwork,
• build a shared understanding of the resources that each partner brings to the table,
• establish a shared vision for their work together,
• engender the support of stakeholders, and
• build trusting relationships.
To read more about this research, see Chris Silvia. 2011. Collaborative Governance Concepts for Successful Network Leadership. State and Local Government Review 43 (1): 66-71.