Lessons for Industry Courtesy of the Gulf Oil Spill

Satellite image of oil spill in Gulf. (NASA)

Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when your company becomes involved in a crisis.

  1. Communicate. At the very least, make a fact sheet of basic company information and your products.  Answers to”Who, What, When, Where?” is a great template for a fact sheet.
  2. Use your website to keep insiders and outsiders informed. Your website is on 24/7 worldwide. Why not use it to help you provide facts and minimize rumors.
  3. Don’t oversell quality. Zero defects has an almost magical ring to it. But the fact is that in complex systems  even redundant backups don’t always work. Statistically, outlying events can and will occur.
  4. Do demonstrate your sincerity, and discuss the steps that your company is taking to identify the problem, get the problem contained, and the immediate and long term corrective actions that your team is working on.
  5. Don’t speculate on “Cause” nor “Blame.”

As of noon May 3, 2010, Cameron International’s Website has nary a mention of the fact that their company’s Blow Out Preventers may be involved at the BP- Deepwater Horizon spill ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico.

No news. No Comment.

The first quarter earnings release conference call seems to be the only “newsworthy” item on Cameron’s webpage.

No mention of any work or involvement by the Cameron Team to get the situation in the Gulf fixed.

No “Who, what, when, where?” information. No spokesperson.

The Washington Examiner meanwhile reports that Cameron has been named among other companies in “lawsuits seeking damages.”

The AP reports Cameron is the manufacturer of the “fail safe device on the well that is spewing crude into the Gulf” and that Cameron has “$500 million in liability insurance for legal claims.”

That would have probably been good info to have on their own site…

The website provides a company with a powerful means to get the facts out. To show their customers, their employees, other people who may be affected what efforts are being taken to get things under control and restore normalcy.

Guess what BP is talking about on their website?

The best bargain in education is when you learn from other people’s mistakes.

Watch how this one works out.

Meanwhile, how about sitting down with your team  and asking “What if this happened to us?


4 Responses to Lessons for Industry Courtesy of the Gulf Oil Spill

  1. stick says:

    “Lessons for Industry Courtesy of the Gulf Oil Spill”

    I was really looking forward to the beach this weekend! (And several weekends hence!) Not sure what the lesson is here, but I’m mad!

  2. speakingofprecision says:

    They could probably use a hand putting up sorbents…

  3. This oil disaster is one of the biggest problems which has ever been. I hope with the help of BP the most damage can be stopped.

  4. Samuel Khlok says:

    Substantially, the problem of the Florida oil desaster is actually a majour problem. Your post is deserving contribution to this bloody oil desaster. One has to look at it in depth. In fact I do not harmonise with some small points in general Im agreeing to your position. I am looking forward to future development, which eventually brings a solution and terminates the oil desaster.

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