Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Yet another Baker Report to Sit on Shelf?

For the second time a government department contracted out an investigation to James Baker, ex. Secretary of State. The British Petroleum Texas City Refinery Accident Investigation joins the recently submitted Iraqi Study Group Report. The refinery explosion killed 15 people and rather than the government conducting its own investigation it encouraged BP to contract it out. Apparently the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board no longer conduct its own investigations.

The Baker report found a corporate culture that valued entrepreneurial leadership, didn’t prioritize safety, tolerated risks and failed to communicate. A critical deficit was management’s failure to emphasize “process safety”? How did BP leadership react?

The chief executive said the company would implement the panel's recommendations, including the independent monitor. But he said the company needs to compare Baker's report with a companywide safety examination that began soon after the Texas City explosion and gave no time frame for making the changes Baker's group suggested.

Will the CEO need a month to digest alternatives like President Bush? Come to think of it BP’s corporate culture sounds like the White House. Didn’t an entrepreneur suggest freeing Iraq would open the region for Western style democracies and free markets? What risks did President Bush tolerate in Iraq post invasion? How did he fail to communicate with the rest of the world, most of which condemned America’s forays into Iraq? How did he fail with the Iraqi people as 80% would like no U.S. military presence in their country?

As for neglecting “process management”, recall Bush’s consistent calls for results, for delivery and his administration’s incapable responses. This is from a White House press conference on the economy in April last year.

Q Mr. President, we're seeing some turnover and some change within your administration, and I wonder what it says about what you think is necessary to turn your presidency around at this point?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it's necessary to continue doing -- to achieving results for the American people. We've got big challenges for this country and I've got a strategy to deal with them.

Q But I asked you about your internal changes and what that says about how you think things need to be changed. They've been very public, your internal changes.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, David, I'm a results-oriented person, and my job is to achieve things for the American people, positive results that make us more secure and more prosperous. And of course, I will have people by my side that work toward that objective. Thank you for your penetrating question.

See if this segment of the newest Baker report doesn’t sound like FEMA post Hurricane Katrina (while Michael Brown gave his staff 72 hours to report to the disaster zone)?

“….tended to have a short-term focus in its operations, and its decentralized management system and entrepreneurial culture delegated substantial discretion to (workers/managers) without clearly defining process safety expectations, responsibilities or accountabilities".

Did FEMA specify two leaders putting on hair gel prior to TV interviews?

Of course the BP CEO commenting on the second Baker report in a month is stepping down in July. That’s what non-process people do, they roll heads while the problems remain…

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