A Lesson from Mike on Getting Things Done by Gia Machlin, August 31 2011, 0 Comments

I hope those of you living on the East Coast all came through hurricane Irene without any damage to your homes and property and of course hoping all your loved ones are safe as well! We were quite lucky here in New York City as the storm surges were not as high as predicted and the resulting flooding didn't cause too much major damage. What really struck me was how Mayor Bloomberg and his administration were able to successfully shut down a city with 8 million people with relative ease. By exercising true leadership, amazing teamwork, excellent planning, and clear communication, they literally took a city that never sleeps, a city that is constantly alive with activity, and turned it into a ghost town. In my 30 years of living in Manhattan (OK, actually I was in Queens for two years), I have NEVER experienced ANYTHING like this (aside from 9/11 - which is a totally different story).

On Saturday, when they shut down the subway and bus system at noon, I was thinking - what the heck? It's not even raining yet! But the Mayor and his staff knew that it would take 8 hours to completely get the system off line. As New Yorkers, we collectively dealt with the consequences of this shut down, we made other plans, we stayed home on a Saturday night for a change. Not to say that there weren't huge inconveniences for many people. For example, my parents depend on their home health aide to arrive from Brooklyn at 6:30 every morning to get my mom, who is paralyzed from a stroke, out of bed. Instead my 90 year old dad had to do that. I'm sure thousands of businesses suffered major losses from closing for 2 days since their employees couldn't get to work. Weddings and parties were cancelled and rescheduled, Broadway shows closed, tourists had to hunker down in their rooms (were the hotel bars even open?), I couldn't order Sushi from my favorite restaurant after returning to NYC after four weeks out of town (boo hoo, poor me), and countless other inconveniences were incurred. But I don't hear any New Yorkers complaining. We all knew that this was what had to be done as a preventive measure in case Irene turned out to be a devastating storm (like unfortunately she was in upstate New York, Vermont, and other places).

It makes me wonder what we can accomplish as a nation, with some good leadership, planning, clear communication, teamwork, and a HUGE threat. Oh yeah, the threat is already there, it's called CLIMATE CHANGE. Unfortunately we are lacking the leadership, planning, communication and teamwork needed to tackle this one...