BP Oil Spill: Leadership Failure?
June 24, 2010
In an article, Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, describes the role of failed leadership and dysfunctional culture as contributors to the BP oil spill:
“BP must also clean up an organizational and cultural mess.
A true leader faces facts, presents a situation fully to all stakeholders, and models accountability. A leader does not attempt to minimize the extent of a problem or promise action faster than can be delivered. A true leader sets appropriate expectations and delivers. He or she does not duck responsibility by shifting the bulk of the blame to someone else.”
As the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill continues to grow, reports suggest that several IT failures may have contributed to the problem. More importantly, the spill represents a deep state of failed leadership inside BP.
The company needs a leader who engenders confidence. CEO Tony Hayward has had over six weeks in the spotlight to demonstrate his leadership capabilities. Yet the situation keeps getting worse: escalating damage in the Gulf and a whopping %35 drop in BP’s stock price.
Why is Hayward still running BP? BP’s finances were in good shape before the explosion. This is an acute, explosive situation with short-term urgency and long-term consequences.