Posts tagged “Disasters

That One Time

Posted on January 29, 2016

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Remember the project that failed, the proposal that fell flat or the experience that didn’t quite live up to expectations? There are always a few people that latch onto that one time it didn’t go so well. It can become Exhibits A, B and C of failure and an excuse to never do anything remotely similar again. Invariably it happens when I review a portfolio of potential initiatives with a client. Oh, we tried that one once…it didn’t work. Only once!? The good news is circumstances are different now…we’re older, wiser perhaps…if nothing else, you can learn from the failure. Fight the overreaction to disaster. Find the variables you can control. Go get wins – however small they are at first – to gradually replace the one time…

Rethinking Trajectory

Posted on October 23, 2015

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An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…unless acted upon. Do you need a trigger to rethink your motion or the trajectory of your ecosystem? Some took a tragedy like Hurricane Katrina to better their lives by either rebuilding or moving to a new location, reemphasizing that adaptation is influenced by changes in the periphery and spontaneous activity as well as personal preferences. There are triggers every day. Question is, are you built for change? “Does anything ever change in this racket…of course it changes. Don’t take it so hard. Some of us die, the rest of us get older, new guys come along, old guys disappear. It changes every day.” –The Friends of Eddie Coyle *

Organizational Reaction to Disasters

Posted on June 16, 2013

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As demonstrated with the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, a poor understanding of risk can contribute to large scale disasters. By looking at organizational decision-making after the 1984 Bhopal disaster, we can further understand how organizations react to disasters – a pattern typical of corporate behavior following low-probability, high-impact events. Prior to an accident, the firm focuses on a probability threshold (p*) and assumes that any event whose estimated probability (p) is less than p* will effectively have a zero chance of occurrence. Hence, no consideration is given to ways of reducing the risk of such events. After a catastrophic accident in its own plant or in the industry, the firm emphasizes ways of avoiding such events in the future even if p<p*.…

A Look at the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Posted on June 8, 2013

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On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami waves triggered a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant affecting hundreds of thousands of residents. According to the official report of the Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC), the nuclear disaster was manmade – it could and should have been foreseen and prevented. Regulatory Capture Leading into the disaster, the relationship between nuclear operators and regulators lacked independence and transparency. In many cases rather than setting high standards and enforcing compliance, regulators consulted with local operators and avoided comparisons to global leading practices. In effect, regulatory rationale was retrofitted to local intentions, and interests of local organizations and the desire to advance Japan’s nuclear vision were prioritized over public…

Management Lessons from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Posted on April 8, 2013

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On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon mobile offshore drilling unit exploded in the Gulf of Mexico while drilling the Macondo well 49 miles off of the Louisiana coast. The explosion killed 11 workers, started a massive oil spill and resulted in tens of billions of dollars of economic damage. Based on the findings of The National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling,  the disaster was a culmination of management failures by BP, Transocean and Halliburton. We should learn from their mistakes. Background In March 2008, BP paid $34M to the Minerals Management Service for an exclusive lease to drill in a nine-square-mile plot in the Gulf of Mexico. BP served as the legal operator for this block, and Macondo…