MSP business leaders can learn from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster that resulted in the loss of life and devastating environmental impact. Although BP tried to make this look like an unforeseeable event, they could have been avoided or minimized with proper leadership. This disaster was inevitable, but those in leadership roles ignored the warning signs. You can learn valuable leadership lessons from the mistakes of BP leaders where they went wrong.
On April 20, 2010, a huge explosion destroyed the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. After the explosion, almost 5 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico. While the crew drilled, the pressure of the oil and gases increased. The injection of seawater and mud into the well was supposed to relieve the pressure but it couldn’t contain the pressure. Mud, water, and hydrocarbon gas flowed onto the rig’s surface. The extreme pressure damaged the gasket inside the blowout preventer. Once this happened, the first explosion occurred, damaging cables that controlled the control room. A second explosion followed, killing 11 people and injuring 115 more.
The following investigation found the following technical causes of the disaster:
- Mechanical failure of the blowout preventer
- Faulty design of the cement barrier
- Control cable damage
- Fire and gas system failure
- Nonfunctioning alarm system
Later analysis discovered that BP and its partners focused on short-term profits, resulting in gross negligence of technically safe drilling procedures. They also failed to plan ahead and develop contingency plans with the coast guard, if an emergency ever occurred. Another factor that resulted in equipment failure was the inadequate regulations enforced by regulators from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS). The corporation’s reputation collapsed, and the financial loss was enormous.
Lessons learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon are:
- Make a safe work environment a top priority – Whatever your business is, the safety of your employees and the work environment are a top priority. Don’t try to save money for the short-term by trying to use inexpensive technologies or try to beat the system when it comes to safety regulations.
- Business transparency and trust – BP did everything they could to evade their leadership failures by lying about the aftereffects of the spill and their part in skimping on equipment and regulations. Everything that BP leadership said and did was wrong. Transparency and sincere concern for your customers is the only way to build trust and customer loyalty.
- Accountability – After the oil spill disaster, BP tried to talk their way out of the loss of life and environmental disaster they caused. Rather than holding themselves accountable, they downplayed the size of the spill and the underwater plumes. When you’re responsible for the leadership of an MSP business, accountability and honesty are vital to your success. Your business depends on your reputation and the trustworthiness of your brand.
- Develop contingency plans – Always have a crisis contingency plan in mind, so you are ready to face any crisis that might happen. Unlike the huge BP corporation and its inflexibility, always have an emergency plan ready to make the changes needed to keep your business competitive.
- Conduct training for all employees – Offer your employees training that allows them to meet any situation in your business. Whether it’s dealing with customer service, developing new technologies and software, or facing new laws and regulations, your employees can avoid disasters if they’re trained to react to new developments.
- Update available technologies – BP leaders made the choice to save money with inadequate, faulty equipment, which resulted in disaster. If you want to have a successful business with loyal customers, keep up with current technologies and services. Think of the future, rather than present savings. If your customers are happy with your services, they’ll remain loyal for long-term success.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster not only took lives, but destroyed trust, reputations, and resources. By examining the failed leadership of BP, you can apply what you learn to your MSP business decisions avoiding repeat failures. Consider areas, such as business policies and procedures, as well as honest, responsible, and proactive decisions.