What is Your Company’s Deepwater Horizon?

Don’t you just hate those Worst Case Scenario kind of people?  Every time you come up with an idea, they run through a million possible (though unlikely) ways things could go wrong.  They make meetings last twice longer than usual with warnings, caveats, and regulations.  Who needs that kind of negative thinking?  Or is it really negative?  Could that worst case scenario discussion just be critical thinking?

I can’t help but wonder what discussions happened at BP regarding deep water drilling rigs and safety procedures.  Did someone warn of impending danger?  Reportedly, yes. It appears engineers raised concerns over safety issues, but those warnings were ignored.

Why were the warnings ignored?  Did someone make the assumption that the worst case scenario would never happen?

It is so important to think critically when planning for future disasters.  If BP had followed the RED Model for Critical Thinking when assessing danger and possible worst case scenario, they might have been ready for a deep water oil spill.

What is the worst case scenario for your company?

  • What would happen if your building were destroyed?
  • Is there someone with so much experience and knowledge that they are key to the success of the business?  What if that person disappeared tomorrow?
  • What if your largest customer left?
  • What if there were a negative social media campaign against your company?
  • What if your company stock price dropped by 50%?
  • What if your company’s financial backing pulled out?
  • What if a massive defect in your company’s product was revealed?

One only need to read the news over the past year to see examples of each of those worst case scenario’s actually happening.  It is so important to ask “what if” and then think critically through the answers to prepare your company for the worst case scenario.

When you plan for disasters, if you ever say “that could never happen” then you are just one step closer to your own Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

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Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens.  She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training.  She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting.  She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson.  Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.

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