Harvard Business Review Blogs carries our post today on the role BP's organizational structure may have played in causing the horror show in the gulf. See "Why BP Crashed and Killed the Gulf." I wrote about this briefly here shortly after the explosion on April 20.
Many of us have worked with BP (we did one small project for its-then Organizational Engineering group in 1993, thanks to Lilly Evans).
Many more of us have pointed to some great examples at BP, like its early start in knowledge management, communities of practice, and its unusual organization designs.
Now BP is at the heart of a colossal safety failure that killed eleven people, seriously injured many more, and which threatens the entire Gulf of Mexico.
Those of us in consulting spend so much time talking about communication and organization and so many other terms that I first listed them here then deleted them all because the stream together sounds like so much gobbledygook.
Although it will take time to determine everything that went wrong
(here's an excellent piece by Forbes blogger Christopher Helman, "BP's
Deepwater Disaster: What Happened and Why?", who suggests, among
other reasons, a decision-making call that may have been in part to
blame), this horrific incident offers both a practice field for
prevention and a readiness plan for the next time something like this
What advice can we, brilliant consultants of the world, offer BP and the US government right now--and offer to future BP-like disasters? No one in this catastrophe may ever hear what we have to say but every disaster (Haiti was barely 14 weeks ago) cries out for better collaboration, faster knowledge exchange, greater innovation.