BP Disaster – 9 Lessons For Business

1. Don’t just do your risk analysis but have the action plan ready in case that potential risk is realized. Okay, they’ve tried several ways to stem the leak and none of them worked. It appears they were Car Accident Injuries Symptom feeling their way in the dark (literally and metaphorically) and seemed they didn’t have a clue about how to deal with this disaster. Be ready for the worst case scenario you can possibly imagine.
2. Don’t assume that one business context is the same as another. The original proposal to drill for oil in that location contained comments that ‘everything would be done to protect walruses’ in that part of the world. There are no walruses in that part of the world! Don’t assume contexts are the same and don’t just copy and paste one solution and assume it will perfectly fit another.
3. Don’t appear too self-absorbed to those you serve. When questioned about the disaster, BPs CEO commented that he ‘wanted his life back’. Although he didn’t mean to appear self-interested, it clearly came across that way or was used in that way by the journalists which did him damage in the eyes of others.
4. Don’t suggest any of your stakeholders are in any way inferior to others. BPs Chairman referred to some of those affected by the disaster as ‘small people’ Again, it was not his intention to offend but this was interpreted as insulting. Treat all your stakeholders the same with the highest possible regard.
5. Be mindful of the consequences of your actions however ‘routine’ they appear to be and however many times you’ve taken those actions before. Oil companies have been drilling routinely for a century. It may seem that routine projects will all be the same with the same procedures. Perhaps they are but this is what leads to negligence and little mistakes that have huge impacts.
6. By all means protect the interests of those you represent – your fault is not their fault. Without doubt BP is accountable for this disaster and will pay the price, but many people who are innocent shareholders and whose pensions are tied up in the fortunes of this company are not to blame. An accident is an accident however strongly we want to blame someone. Mr Obama is absolutely right to blame and demand recompense. But I’m not sure he is right to continue to beat up BP to the extent that so many innocent associates of it are affected.
7. When something bad happens demand justice but don’t beat up those responsible to the point where it starts to threaten your own reputation. This is what Mr Obama has done. He has focused on blaming BP at the expense of doing practical things to help those impacted. As a consequence he is now being criticized for this and damaging his own reputation.
8. Be aware of your limitations. What has emerged in this crisis is that an apparent invincible business could go under. A small mistake in the wrong context at the wrong time with inadequate preparation and back up can destroy you. Another point here again is about Barack Obama. As much as he wants appear in control (he has even said that he ‘takes responsibility’). He is not responsible not is he able to do much about what has happened except put pressure on the guilty. But he has no professional or technical expertise. In other words, even the most powerful man in the world has serious limitations. Be aware of your own limitations.
9. Don’t allow people to forget the good you’ve done even if a mistake has had a bad impact. Notwithstanding the questionable record of BP in the past, it has brought so many huge benefits to so many people – including those who have been so badly affected. The US is in love with oil as are many Soft Tissue Injury Compensation Amounts other countries. It has made a mistake – a big one! But in the mess of its mistake it should be remembered what benefits the industry as a whole has won for people all over the world. Even if you mess up big time – remind others (when the time is right) of the benefits you have brought.

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