Tag Archive for ‘Tony Hayward’
Christine Bader’s new book – “The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil” – chronicles her work for oil giant BP, managing the community impacts of big projects in the developing world, and her later role as an advisor to a United Nations initiative on human rights abuses linked to business. Her hope, she says in an interview, is that someday corporate idealism “doesn’t seem like the oxymoron that it does to so many people today.”
Two years after a series of gambles and ill-advised decisions on a BP drilling project led to the largest accidental oil spill in United States history and the death of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, no one has been held accountable.
Columnist Gael O’Brien examines several recent crises and finds a common trait: self-deception by leadership. It “reflects an image that allows leaders to disengage and disconnect from their actual impact on others,” she writes. “Aside from the damage it does to those affected, it creates an understandable gap in trust, which is the very thing leaders want to re-build after a crisis.”
As each headline about corporate malfeasance is juxtaposed against record profits and bonuses, Americans become more jaded about the ethics of today’s business leadership. Many CEOs seem to lack the emotional awareness to deal with their own image problem.
Recent leadership failures in high profile companies draw attention to the reality that achieving goals – performance – is only part of the formula for success. Another critical piece is the way leaders do it which impacts others – relationships. Columnist Gael O’Brien says leaders who are low in self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills lack something called “emotional intelligence.”
Environmental activist Mark Tulay thinks there are lessons to be learned from comparing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – now the largest in American history – to the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. Instead of hedging and dodging, he says, BP would be well served to take the high road on settlement issues.