BP: Big Problem
Q: What do you do when your best effort fails? BP has ended its "Top Kill" attempt to stop the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, and will focus on containment. When a plan didn't work for you, did you quit, or keep on trying? Would you approach the issue in the same way today?
The baseline for success is doing very little of what you do badly and a lot of what you do well. If you have been trying to do something with great effort for five years and have seen no improvement, it means that you suck!
The top performers whom I have interviewed over the years focused on getting better at what they already did relatively well. People don't become a champions because they worked extra hard at something in which they possessed zero talent! ... Well, actor Steven Seagal could be an exception, and a couple of people on Dancing With the Stars may affect the grading curve, but you grasp the logic.
Of course, show-business success is based on what an audience will actually tolerate, and we forget that TV shows like Baywatch and F Troop had great ratings. If you remember F Troop, you should be old enough to know when your efforts exceed your abilities and it's time to pull the plug. Or, in the case of our country's largest oil spill, when to stop screwing around and put the plug in.
Let's get real about what's going on: My oil company sources have informed me that unfortunately most of the time it's just a lot cheaper to pay the fine than it is to practice safety and prevention. BP is known for being cheap on safety and cleanup. So if you think putting a big concrete "hat" over it or jamming mud into the well sounds weirdly simple, it's because these are the cheapest solutions. (Beware of any solution that has the word jamming in it.) When I was kid, my mom tried to solve most of our problems with Scotch Tape. She said it was the best and fastest way to succeed. It's also why I still have a fear of bicycles and my brother walks with a limp!
BP's goal is to salvage the well with as much profit as possible -- and that means trying the cheapest solutions first with some half-baked promises, get your lawyers ready and then wait until you can drill relief wells in August. If this had happened to Shell or Chevron, they would have solved the problem in a week. Those companies spend time and resources on safety and environmental protection.
Personally, these days I'm willing to make the effort and spend the cash to solve problems effectively. When things don't work out the first time around, I look for ways to improve my approach so my chances of future mistakes are minimized. Additionally, I don't let my drive to succeed spill over into the lives of others to create an environment that prevents them from earning a living.
Posted by: Rabbitsmoker | June 3, 2010 9:42 PM
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