The media and government is taking the predictable “finger pointing” route in connection with the BP oil spill. Screaming someone is surely to blame attracts attention to the publications and politicians screaming the loudest. Fingers point to BP and Obama.
BP accepts responsibility and has allocated $20 billion for the cleanup. Citizens and politicians say Obama isn’t acting fast enough. Obama apologizes to no one, blames the MMS (Minerals Management Service) and appoints Michael Bromwich as its new head.
What if this ecological disaster is actually no one’s fault. There is that strong possibility. Recognize that in spite of everyone’s best efforts, sometimes things fail. Consider this excerpt from an article by Carl Hoffman explaining what most likely happened:
“No oil company wants to have a blowout and these companies spend vast sums of money and expertise to ensure that they never happen. But happen they do. If this was a blowout, it’s the first deep-water one in the Gulf of Mexico that I can think of. And for that to happen requires the perfect storm of scenarios.”
I totally support an independent investigation to confirm what really happened. There are two possible outcomes of such an investigation. First, all practical steps were taken to prevent this event and it still happened. Second, preventive measures were known and not implemented.
In the first case, we learn and get better. In the second case, there would be a violation of fiduciary responsibility and appropriate measures taken.
Related to investigations, I am wondering what information on preventive measures was provided at the Board of Director’s level at BP. This is a public company and Boards have very clear responsibility for asking the tough questions and getting answers. At the government level, appointing a new head of the MMS now is interesting. Obama failed to act following two scathing reports on the MMS by the Inspector General in recent years (See full article by the The Washington Post ) What if the MMS was operating as intended? Would the BP Oil Spill have been prevented?
I am a major advocate of a system of accountability in business and government. The media is accountable for accurate reporting. Citizens are accountable for holding government responsible for upholding the values of our constitution. All of us are owed accurate information as to what happened and what steps are being taken now to minimize the risk. The problem with the finger pointing culture is that the truth can be obscured or even ignored. That would be the ultimate disaster.
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About: Steve Pohlit CPA,MBA has been the CFO and COO of major domestic and international companies. Steve has extensive business ownership experience having purchased and started off line and on line businesses. Steve offers his business building experience to companies and entrepreneurs with business coaching and business consulting. His focus is on building business profits and net asset value at above average rates. All articles published by Steve unless specifically restricted may be freely published with this resource information.