Well, I wasn’t surprised to find the BP Oil Spill as the biggest business blunder of 2010 in today’s article on FoxNews.com:
1. BP Oil Spill: A Failure of Leadership and Metrics: The Deep Horizon oil rig explosion is clearly the biggest business blunder of 2010. At the most basic level, BP suffered from a failure to balance competing objectives. Tony Hayward began as BP’s CEO in May 2007 with a promise to focus “like a laser” on safety concerns, as well as operating performance. The metaphor proved to be all too apt: A laser can focus on only one thing at a time. It appears that BP failed to focus on the right target.
What’s likely is that BP’s management believed they were meeting all safety performance targets, or at least gaining on them, because they were spending millions of dollars to improve safety. By the metrics they had created, the company might well have been making progress. The metrics they chose were the problem. The point for all businesses is that making safety a priority and throwing resources at it without appropriate metrics may lead to very bad outcomes.