Jun 262016

6/26/16 Log Feedback- #1  May 18th and FEMA Reflections

  • From: K. Jacobson (kj), BWH IC – AO Liaison/Intern Mentor
  • To:  H. Davidson (hd), AO Intern
    • C. Faller (cf), AO IC – BWH Liaison/ Intern Coordinator

The italicized excerpts are from the  May 18th and FEMA Reflections log entry by Halley Davidson, Athens’ Own Intern

I took a minute to think about the impact of the FEMA Incident Response Training, and how it could apply to a business. It reminded me a lot of how my job at Chipotle was ran, with different managers for different employees to respond to, and a type of horizontal and precise lineage of command. During the busiest dinner hours, we had to remain at our stations, no exception, and those who were prepping had to do so according to the most recent shortage.

It appears that we may need to delve further into the following:

  • Internship Log guidance materials
    • I am not getting the impression from this log entry that you have read the instructions thoroughly.  I may be incorrect, you may need assistance understanding the material and/or assistance in demonstrating comprehension via your writing.
  • Writing skills:
    • I do not see any spelling errors!
      • Yay!  A positive performance measure, improvement indicator!
    • Constantine is very good at catching spelling errors/typos and has a very good grasp on punctuation, grammar, syntax.
      • I am wondering if we should create a writing skills page with links to basic information like this one: “Wikipedia – Grammar” .  There is already a resume guidance page and it would be good to see what it contains with regards to basic writing skills.  The Resilience Worker Criteria currently states: strong writing ability which I might interpret as advanced; but we have to start somewhere.
      • I would also benefit personally in this arena as it is not my strong suit.  I welcome feedback regarding my contributions, especially since I am focused on the feedback and am not investing limited time resources on proofing/editing.
      • I am more attentive to the crafting of the log entries to help facilitate communication and at-distance collaborative partner business communications: purpose/theme, target audience, organization of thought, structure and format.
    • As a collaborative partner, I might not have any idea of what training you are talking about, what impact it had on you.  I am assuming that you are referring to the required Introduction to Incident Command IS-100b on-line training.
    • Remember, that you are writing to a diverse target audience within a business communication/education feedback system that also serves as a social marketing avenue.
  • Incident Command System
    • I appreciate your considerations related to how it could apply to a business and your correlation with your personal experience.  Here are some additional questions to consider:
    • It is true that most businesses utilize a human resource organizational chart with a management structure.
      • How are such organizational charts different from the ICS management system?
    • Why and how does Athens’ Own utilize ICS and why are interns required to complete the IS-100b course?
      • Have you reviewed the Athens’ Own ICS Chart and related documents?
        • Where is the Internship Program in the chart?
        • Where are you positioned within the system?
          • If/when you are successful with Athens’ Own intern team marketing efforts, where will your team be positioned, what will the tree look like?

Though this is not and identical concept to using ICS for disasters, it did help me put in to context how FEMA is so efficient. If everyone reports to their job and their manager, then things will move much more smoothly and there will not be as many accidents as people know their specific job and how to do it. And often when people are faced with disaster they can be freaked out or may not function as well without a specific plan or chain of command to follow.

Again, I appreciate your thoughtful reflections.

    • It is true that the Chipotle organizational chart may not be very similar to the ICS structure.  However, many more businesses are switching to ICS for everyday operations.
    • FEMA is not an efficient system; there are numerous bureaucratic challenges, including difficulties streamlining efforts with state, local government entities as well as the citizenry.
      • 2014 Senate Hearing: The Path to Efficiency: Making FEMA More Effective for Streamlined Disaster Operations
        • agenda: The hearing discussed long-standing challenges to FEMA efficiency and performance, as well as recent FEMA efforts to find cost efficiencies and program improvements.
    • Is it possible that Athens’ Own is capitalizing on the strengths while addressing the weak links with systems building that include ICS?
    • It is true that any type of operation runs more effectively with  clear communication, organizational process and teamwork.
      • What do you think are the barriers to more widespread utilization of the ICS management structure?
      • What type of community-based social marketing strategy might be effective at increasing the utilization of ICS?

I would like to explore ICS with you further.  What core ICS concepts and components surfaced for you during the course?

  • Many people step up to the plate in times of disaster; they show up to volunteer without any understanding of the management system at play.  Such errant volunteers may not be freaked out and may be quite functional but they often place more stress and cause more chaos for the responders.  If such people had a greater understanding of the system they would know where they fit into the response plans, who to contact, etc., and will be much more helpful in the overall response effort.

For Athens’ Own, this could mean responding to local incidents or product issues quickly by having a commander give distinct directions. If thinking about Resilience, this could be even more useful because sometimes the actions put forward to promote sustainability are not executed to their full ability because no one has a distinct job or goal.

  • ICS is simply a very good management tool; it is not just about responding to local incidents or product issues.  However, you are correct that it helps to  have one clearly designated person with the authority to make decisions during time sensitive situations.
  • ICS does not have to be a strictly top-down, command and control hierarchical flow.  One of its many strengths include adaptability, including scalability.  It can be incorporated into consensus-based group process with a horizontal structure; only scaling up to an authoritarian command system when there is a need for immediate, definitive action.
  • But, ICS is not something that one just pulls off a shelf during times of emergency, it needs to be practiced.
  • As you indicate, ICS offers groups, organizations, etc., with a management structure emphasizing sustainable span of control with clear delegation. A streamlined collaborative system, linked via the liaisons, is blossoming as more groups, clubs, organizations, churches, businesses, etc., learn and practice ICS.  It is a very positive, solution oriented movement toward greater resilience now while building a system foundation on behalf of future generations.
  • We need to load up our tool belts with communication and management skills to maximize our efforts toward greater happiness, efficiency and effectiveness.
  • It is not just about being able to response to acute disasters, we need to recognize that we are experiencing a chronic disaster and use this time between incidents to learn new skills, develop more robust collaborative networks.

If there were to be more direct actions and committees that were working to create a more resilient community, like how Athens’ Own is, and they were to use the leadership patterns described in FEMA, there would be much more progress. Community leaders would be able to designate assistance to certain areas of need, and there wouldn’t be efforts lost in translation. In order for there to be real change or progress there needs to be clear goals and there needs to be people working towards that goal. I think that FEMA’s ICS training could be an invaluable asset for organizations and businesses.

  • It makes me happy to hear that you think ICS is an invaluable asset for organizations and businesses.  And, it is an invaluable asset for all of us as we need to come together, learn how to communicate and how to work together better under all circumstances.
  • I may not be able to change the course we are on but I feel the least I can do is to identify robust systems and tools, practice them and therefore have something to pass onto your generation, and future ones who may be living through some very stressful times.
  • I do agree that there might be more progress if everyone utilized the same management systems, but that is not necessarily the case given the complex and dynamic nature of the challenges that we face in this era of great change.  However, I do know with great confidence that communication is improved, conflicts are reduced and managed better and the clarity helps people feel more secure about what is happening, happier and with greater joy through cohesive clarity.
  • Many community leaders, mayors, etc., are now required to receive ICS training if they want to be eligible for certain grants.  All of our emergency management teams, including hospital staff, on the local, state and federal level are now required to have ICS training.  And, many corollary groups like the Red Cross, Amateur radio teams are also learning about it.  But the problem is that not everyone is practicing it.  (I worked as an ICS trainer at our local health department so have quite a bit of on-the-ground experience and perspective.)
    • So, we agree that the ICS approach offers great potential.

Con and I spent the day driving from business to business collecting payments as well. Aside from having the opportunity to get a full tour of the Jackie O’s Brewery, Con also gave me some insight to how he keeps track of sales invoices and how he keeps record of Accounts Receivable. Though we have spent plenty of time in Accounting class talking about accounts receivable, it was interesting to see the documentation at work for an actual business. It was also great to meet the people and businesses that are affected positively by Athens’ Own, and in general meet some of the lovely people in Athens.

  • The paragraph provides a good opportunity to consider how a little more focused attention to your writing syntax, organization, etc. would improve your writing skills.   I see it jumping around topics, scattering some great fodder that could be used to satisfy the hunger many people feel for more information about Athens’ Own.
    • What themes can you pull out of it?  How could they be organized and fleshed out to provide more info while demonstrating a perception and comprehension of some of the concepts and learning exercises you have experienced so far within this internship?
  • I appreciate the brief report about your activities but would like to receive more information and see greater association between such activities and the concepts you are learning about via your Athens’ Own internship.
    • Did you observe any manifestations of ICS during your jaunt from business to business?
    • How about anything that manifested community networking, collaboration, etc.?
    • Was there any discussion about the ‘driving’ and how it impacts our collective efforts toward sustainability and resilience ?
      • Fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.?
  • It is also great to see that you are actively connecting what you learn in class with what you see in the real world of business.
    • Feedback loops, performance measurements, indicators of improvement!  Yay!
  • And, I am glad that you were able to meet some of the members of the Athens’ Own collaborative family.
    • Many people are attracted to such social interactions, tours, feeling a part of community, etc.  The social components of the Athens’ Own Internship are very appealing to many people, especially students.
    • How could you organize and beef up such social marketing strategies in your writing?
  • In addition, many people are asking “what does Athens’ Own do?”
    • I would like to see your writing serve as more than a diary between you and Constantine.  These writing exercises are a prime opportunity to practice your marketing skills.
    • You share that there are people and businesses who are positively affected by Athens’ Own but you don’t provide any information to help others understand the nature of these relationships.

I really appreciate your participation, desire to learn and your reflective, creative writing.  But, remember, Athens’ Own is a real world business and you are a marketing intern.  It is your opportunity to show off your professional marketing writing skills.

I think you should be thinking about a very diverse target audience, including folks like me who are not involved in the day-to-day operations of Athens, Own and/or your learning experience.  Your log entries need to bring me and others up to speed on the themes, assignments, etc.

I am also a RN business owner so I am particularly keen on systems of documentation that maximize efficiency, communications,  systems and improvement processes.

Here are some additional thoughts on such a collaboration:

  • Perhaps interns should be directed to post their bio, cover, resume and subsequent materials like the HM holistic goal in their first log entry. It would allow our at-distance collaborative partners know a little more about the writer while also helping to strengthen a sense of team; the Athens’ Own Internship Family.
    • Many people have come through our program, finished school and gone on in their lives to do great things on behalf of the good of the order.  I would like to have a place for them on this website; a way to honor, remember and stay in touch.  It would also augment our marketing campaign as old-timers could contribute testimonials as to the impact the internship had on their lives, communities and our collective efforts on behalf of future generations.

And, I would also like to see more  specific information, reference hotlinks, etc.  Remember, you want to demonstrate your dedication to life-long learning, your interest, thoroughness and research abilities.  In additin, you are writing to a very diverse target audience who knows very little about Athens’ Own and nothing about what you are writing about in your logs, unless you provide a cohesive, well-thought out presentation with background information.

And, remember this website and the intern blogs are major component of Athens’ Own marketing strategies.  I enjoy reading free form written expressions but as a collaborative business partner with limited time, I would like succinct, focused log entries and think that a professional business memo approach would also reinforce that the internship program is indeed a real world work experience.

  • I would like to personally see a standardized, well-organized, log entry format come into existence that includes:
    • specific: who, what, when, why
      • highly descriptive, focused title – reflective of themes: learning topic, project, proposal
      • From:  author, position tile, intern supervisor – with ICS application
      • running dates to better track and assess timeliness, activities, assignment, submission, revisions
      • SMART assignment info: specific – measurable – attainable – related – time delineated
      • activity report
      • learning objectives
      • project proposals
      • etc
  •  And, I would personally like to see the Athens’ Own seeds of knowledge pop up all over the log entries as a way to demonstrate comprehension via clearly drafted writings that make the connections between your life, the concepts, the learning objectives, the various activities and your work as a marketing specialist with Athens’ Own.    There are some very consistent themes running within the Athens’ Own internship program. Perhaps we should create a game with theme cards.  What concepts, systems, tools are at play during the various conversations, projects and activities?

In closing, many thanks to you, Constantine and the entire Athens’ Own team for this outrageously fun opportunity.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!



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