Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is There a Positive in BP Crisis?


So great news that BP has finally stopped the unrestricted flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It took a long time and as an organization they have suffered greatly and in many people's eyes deservedly so.

As an example, I looked at a total of 25 blogs written in Harvard Business Review about a number of angles on the BP crisis. The most positive...and that is relative speaking of the BP oil disaster...was by Vineet Nayar titled "I'm Thinking About BP's Employees." Most however focused on some aspect of BP brand, culture and of course failure of leadership.

But I wonder if a silver lining can't be found for the future of BP or other organizations able to get BP talent in the future...

In many organizations, we attempt to replicate the conditions of the organization in our leadership development programs. We do this through action learning activities that help participants practice what they learn through business projects or solving organizational challenges. While these things are of immense value to the is difficult in a classroom setting to replicate crisis. The kind of crisis that comes in a world ripe with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity...the VUCA world.

The environment that new leaders in BP are growing up in now will pay dividends for them in the future. These BP leaders will be able to take advantage of volatility, make decisions under conditions of uncertainty, create clarity from complexity and adapt to ambiguity. All priceless traits for leaders of the future.

It would be extremely easy to just focus on the negative of the situation, but as a strategic human capital management leader...I prefer to focus on the positive.


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