James Bond, an Emergency Manager?


A night of little sleep and an early morning do not usually equal a good time, but this morning was the exception. After a restless night, I decided to get up early and do a little reading. This noble endeavor quickly took a wrong turn and I was flipping through the TV stations until I come upon Spectre, the 2015 hit James Bond movie. While I love the action, just ask my wife. I am always looking for the lessons in most everything I do and watch. While I am sure it was not Ian Fleming’s original intention, the emergency manager can learn a lot from his 007 character, James Bond.

The initial preparation for each James Bond escapade is done by MI6, the British foreign intelligence service. MI6 maps out the plan, the costs and all the inputs needed, including the selection of the best project manager for the job.[1] This preparation is vital because it lays out the foundation for most everything Bond does. This is not to say he does not add to the information, but the initial preparedness drives everything. In the EM field, it is no different. We have our Emergency Operation Plan’s (EOP) that guide much of what we do, but it takes a skilled emergency manager to operationalize the EOP.

No 007 movie would be watchable without a response. The movement to the emergency is what has caused countless people to tune in since the early 1960’s. Bond’s actions look eerily similar to the work of the emergency manager, including saving lives, and preventing property damage in an emergency. Response is putting your preparedness plans into action, and no pun intended, but “nobody does it better” than James Bond.

Another lesson we may learn from James Bond relates to his networking. Bond understands the importance of getting to know all the players, especially the local contacts to help him accomplish his mission. At one point in Spectre, Bond shares the name of his CIA contact Felix Leiter. He explains that Leiter can help get a young woman out of the country if there is any trouble. Whom you know in the EM field is often worth more than what you know. We all know how important it is to connect with those around us in order to identify good contacts.

James Bond is the quintessential emergency manager. He is prepared for everything based on the legwork done well before the action begins. Bond is a responder, never slow to save lives and property. Finally, he understands that he is only as good as the people surrounding him, constantly seeking to network with others in the field. We would do well to emulate many of the traits we see in James Bond as we go about our work as emergency managers.

[1] https://www.pambazuka.org/economics/james-bond-films-lessons-project-management-process

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