Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina—Resource Management vs. Disaster Management

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, inadequate response has brought to light grave deficiencies in our emergency response. Almost two weeks later things are starting to work out. Good leadership will emerge as bad ones are exposed. Proper command will recognize the resources and utilize them properly. But I have yet to hear news reports of the primary resource being rightly deployed.

With all catastrophic events there is drastic change, and in every change there is opportunity. Katrina has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands. And the greatest resource now being mismanaged are those affected. Human resources, our greatest potential advantage, is currently being wasted. Those displaced can turn from victim to relief worker. They, of all, have the greatest motivation.

Good leadership and proper business management will recognize this. Those who lost their homes and their jobs have the world to work for, to reclaim, to repair. Leaders in resource management will take right advantage of this force and channel it into the power that manipulates the material resources of recovery. There are billions of federal dollars as well as private donations that are at the disposal of the recovery effort. Volunteer work crews, if recruited from the victims themselves, would be those with the most to gain from the effort. And this voluntary work force will be the base of the thousands needed as industry takes up the rebuilding of the infrastructure, site-built homes and manufactured housing, schools, casinos, distribution and communications systems, etc.

Good leadership in human resource management will affect the best possible outcome. That which is now misdirected will be reapplied. Resource management will replace disaster management.

How long will it take? Leaders, Entrepreneurs, step forward.

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