Learning from the Mistakes of Others

No one missed the tragedy that befell Deepwater Horizon and the Gulf Oil Spill that captured the attention of the nation for nearly 3 months last summer.  However, the news of the blowout, the oil spill and the cause of the blowout frequently overshadowed the tragic loss of life on the drilling platform.

This New York Times article offers a gripping tale of the final hours aboard the drilling platform and there are many lessons that we can apply to business.  The article doesn’t focus on the blowout but instead on the failure of the numerous defenses available on the Horizon to protect the loss of the rig and, more importantly, the loss of life.  Reflect on what these lessons can teach you about your business:

  • A failure to train for the worst circumstances meant that people were not ready for the speed of the decision making that was required in the moment of greatest need.
  • Protective measures were implemented too late to achieve the desired outcomes.
  • Failed preventive measures revealed weaknesses in the plans themselves.
  • The sheer complexity of the systems to prevent catastrophe meant that people were paralyzed by a lack of clarity about how to respond next.

Have you prepared for the worst case scenarios and actually trained for them?  Are your measures too complex and thus require more innovative and elegant solutions?  Be sure to read this article to discover insights into the final hours of the Deepwater Horizon and consider the lessons for your organization.


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