Thursday, April 26, 2012

One Deep

I did an interview with a local government employee who is working on some management courses.  He wanted to talk about crisis management by government leaders.  I told him there were two kinds of crisis.  The ones that happen suddenly and without warning.  Those are easy to handle if the government services are ready to respond.  Most of the work happens before the event.  Preparation to manage most sudden man made and natural disasters are what counts.

The other kind of crisis is the slowly evolving crisis which requires tough and steady decision making.  One example of that is the current perceived crisis at the Albuquerque Police Department.  (Perception is important.)  I think in this case that there is little courage or steady decisions being made by either the city council or the Mayor.  So, this crisis is still unfolding and will remain that way it seems.

Another slowly evolving crisis is the expectation that government positions can continue to be cut at all levels while expecting services to improve.  While there have been no massive one time layoffs in state and local government there is one occurring through attrition.  That makes for a 'one deep' redundancy in providing public services.  If one person is on leave or sick or dies then there is no one to step in and fill the gap.  This is a serious problem that will manifest itself in the future.  And it will lead to what I was talking about above.  A lack of depth in dealing with sudden and unexpected crisis.  This is all common sense but it is ignored by those whose mission in life is to blame government for all of their problems.

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