Thursday, February 17, 2011

The BP Verdict Is In

The verdict is in, and as the Institute for Crisis Management says so often, "The sad fact is that this was an entirely preventable disaster."

It was also the conclusion of Fred Bartlit, chief counsel for the Federal Commission investigating the BP oil well explosion and spill in his detailed summary of the final report. The report had been submitted a month ago, but this subsequent report includes more detail.

Bartlit, said in a statement. "Poor decisions by management were the real cause."

In 20 years of tracking negative business news, the Institute for Crisis Management has found year after year that two-thirds of all organizational crises are what we call “smoldering” crises.

They start out small, usually internal, and in almost every case, someone or several someones should spot them and recognize their potential to grow into a major business disruption and ultimate crisis. And in most cases, they end up costing the company far more in the long-run than they would have spent to avoid or prevent the issue from getting out of hand and becoming a public embarrassment later.

According to the BP Commission report, there were signs of potential disaster as early as 2007.

Investigators found repeated signs of incompetence and carelessness and disregard of warning signs of both, over at least three years, before the well blew-up, collapsed into the Gulf and began spewing crude oil across the region.

All you have to do is create a work environment where everyone is paying attention to what is going on around them, and no one is afraid to speak up when they see a problem and tell someone who can do something about it.

That’s not hard to do.

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