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Misplaced outrage . . .

June 5, 2010

I can’t help it. The outrage at BP over this oil spill is getting out of hand. People are complaining about things that are not at all helpful to complain about. One bright light was complaining because BP is paying for Ad Words on the major search engines so that when people type in a search phrase having to do with the oil spill, BP’s website is showing up in the paid ad section. Duh!

Defensive move by BP to get their side of the story out.

BP Ad on Google

We live in the Internet age. What would you expect BP to do? The media is “all over them,” and painting them as a villain. BP is being portrayed as a company who purposely caused this accident, and perhaps we will find that some of the decisions they made have lead to the disaster. It makes no sense to believe they wanted this to happen. No matter what you think about that, BP is still critical in shutting down this well. It makes no sense to be treating them like criminals at this point. We all, including BP, need to figure out what happened to cause this accident. Right now, it appears to be a series of multiple failures.

Meanwhile, BP is not the only culprit here. My colleagues over at 2130 Partners have, as always, hit the nail on the head. With respect to this disaster, they ask “What can you own?” They ask us to accept our part in creating this reality. Admittedly, most of us are only indirectly responsible for the situation, however, we do all own some of this reality.

We’re all saying harsh things about BP. Can we consider that perhaps the leaders have recognized their failure and want to do the best they can? Can we consider that the BP organization cannot change on a dime and while there may still be a tendency toward secrecy and defensive attitude, they might actually be trying to be better? Can we consider giving them space to do well while at the same time holding them accountable? Can we give ourselves the space to realize our demand for energy drives this and many other processes?

As I write this post, the latest ideas are that with the “funnel” over the cleaned up riser pipe, much of the oil will be able to be collected. Then, as I understand it, the relief well will be drilled to intercept the present well below the failed blowout valve. Then they will attempt to effect a “bottom kill,” that is plug the well from the bottom instead of from the top as tried last week. All of this being done at a mile below the surface.

I don’t know if BP’s purchase of Ad Words is going to help them out or not. I’m sure it won’t help close the well down. Speaking for myself, I can say that I almost never pay attention to, let alone click on, paid Ad Words. I generally don’t trust Advertisements or Advertisers; they have an ax to grind, they have their own best interest at heart, not mine. So BP’s money is not well spent as far as I’m concerned. And don’t get me wrong on this, I do not think I’m going to end up thinking BP is a model corporation. No, instead, I’m pretty sure when all this is over we will be looking at a very large failure in Corporate Ethics. It’s just that I don’t think now is the time to focus on blame.

For the business owners and business leaders reading this blog, the question is how well are you and your organization doing to plan ahead for such a disaster? How will you manage in this internet age? You know your “sins” will not be hidden, right? You will be transparent, like it or not.

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