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Leadership in Crises: Preparation and Performance

Program Session(s):
April 15, 2018 - April 20, 2018

Application Deadline(s):
February 15, 2018

Program Fee:$8,500

Program fee includes: tuition, housing, curricular materials, and most meals.

Click here to see this program’s Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) alignment.

This program qualifies for an Executive Certificate.

Faculty Chairs: Arnold M. Howitt, Herman "Dutch" Leonard

Program Director: Laura Simolaris

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“I don’t think there is a mayor, city manager, or county manager who would not benefit from this program. Spending a week with professionals from local, state, and federal governments, learning how they think about emergency planning and response – and how I as a mayor can most effectively work with them – is invaluable.”

   Scott Avedisian
Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island

Leadership in Crises: Preparation and Performance is designed to help senior managers from the public, private and nonprofit sectors work with their peers across sectors to best position themselves and their organizations to successfully manage, survive and recover from the unexpected.

Leaders prepared today for the challenges of tomorrow stand a much stronger chance of successfully managing a crisis. Part of this process is learning how to work collaboratively across organizational and/or jurisdictional boundaries before a crisis occurs. Leadership in Crises teaches how to build the skills that make for a more successful management process, how to effectively gather critical information, adapt to unique circumstances, and prioritize effectively. The course also teaches participants how to build bridges across boundaries, presenting perspectives on planning, training, and exercising so that senior managers have systems in place in advance of a critical event.

“The program was very effectively presented and the material was relevant for both crisis management and for day to day management and leadership challenges.”

   Raymond P. Kenny
Senior Vice President, Operations
   Long Island Rail Road

Leadership in Crises examines the skills leaders can build for working decisively in the highly concentrated time-frame of an emergency, while maintaining a focus on managing and motivating a team. The program looks at the skills necessary to communicate effectively with team members and the public, and how leaders can adapt techniques and strategies to fit the needs of a variety of extraordinary circumstances.

More information on Harvard Kennedy School activity on the topic of crises management and response:

Through research, teaching, and work with governments and practicing professionals, the Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) seeks to improve society’s capacity to deal with natural disasters; infrastructure, technology, and systems failures; emergent infectious disease; and terrorism. PCL takes a comprehensive perspective, looking at risk reduction strategies, emergency preparedness and response, and disaster recovery.

Read the report co-authored by Arnold Howitt and Herman "Dutch" Leonard examining the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt. Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing, highlights factors that contributed to a largely successful response, emphasizing what made Boston Strong and resilient in the face of tragedy.

>> Read the Report
>> Listen to Dutch Leonard on NPR

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Dutch Leonard, Arn Howitt, Joe Pfeifer, and Christine Cole, wrote a short essay entitled Command Under Attack reflecting on what we have learned since 9/11 about organizing responses to large-scale and novel attacks and other large-scale emergencies. 

>> Read the essay

“This is by far the best run, best content course I have attended in years.”

   Ed Vasques
Assistant Chief, Special Operations
   Sacramento Fire Department

“Dutch and Arn do a wonderful job with engaging students in thoughtful discussion.  They welcome differing points of view with a give and take approach in class.”

   Leslie Anne Sibick 
Chief, Research and Development Analysis
   Office of Infrastructure Protection 
   U.S. Department of Homeland Security

“Harvard’s 'Leadership in Crisis' class fully explores those anomalies that turn a routine management event, into a crisis where Leadership is paramount for a successful outcome.”

   Terry L. Quarles, CEM
   Federal Coordinating Officer – CADRE
   Federal Emergency Management Agency 


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