It’s Not Just Oil That’s Leaking in America!

By now, everyone knows there are millions of gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico due to an oil rig accident. It is late Spring 2010 and the news is filled with this tragic event.

If you are like me, by this time you have probably received e-mails from both American political parties using this accident to push their agendas. So what does this say about our leadership on such an epic event?

Massive Finger Pointing

The Republicans say that this event doesn’t represent a total indictment of oil exploration/production and that energy reform is not necessary. But rather, this event is being used as a Democratic Party agenda issue. Democrats, on the other hand, are saying this accident should be an example of why it is time to seek other alternatives for energy beside oil. They are also blaming the previous administration for this horrible accident.

Meanwhile, the Director at the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency responsible for regulating the ill-fated oil platform, has been fired. This agency recently gave this oil platform a safety award.

So much for stellar leadership…

Locals in the area of the spill have already began legal proceedings against the operators of the oil platform, British Petroleum ( BP). BP has busied itself scrambling for a way to stop the tremendous amount of oil spilling into the environment on an hourly basis. The company’s ability to control its technology has been questioned. Of course we all know the reason they (BP) were out there drilling for oil: It is because there is a demand for it from a global consumer base.


L2LRadio :: Stay Tuned™

From a leadership perspective, we can see the same problems with stopping the spill that we see in corporations every day. People are focused on their individual agendas instead of the common interests of the group. In this case, the group is America.

Here are the real questions we face:

Will not all Americans suffer from this accident? Will it not cost us all to clean it up? Will we not lose valuable natural resources—food, water, animals, oil? Will we not feel the economic effects for years to come?

The Blame Game

The question for creating a solution is this:

“Would we be better off sharing ideas and information on how to stop the spill and not discussing who’s to blame?

Some of us probably know that we can’t contribute to stopping the flow, not having the knowledge, the power, or even something as simple as a boat. However, others clamor to respond in fury for a quick stop to the oil flow and add their personal barbs of spite because of their anger over the apparent devastation that soon is expected to appear. But what does finger-pointing really accomplish?

Question One:

When people make much noise about how they feel about the situation with accusations and threats,  aren’t they just distracting those with the ability to help make a difference from their mission of stopping the flow of oil from the bottom of the seas?

Question Two:

Are we so focused on our personal agendas, or are we focused on the common interests of the group?

Question Three:

If everyone in the country (including our government) was solely focused on stopping the leak (and the damage to our common interests), couldn’t we collectively have reacted more effectively and stopped the leak more quickly?

Where Does The Buck Stop?

We have a massive problem. What is the solution? If our current administration had acted in the interests of the American people and they used their vast resources to stop the leak instead of saying it’s BP’s responsibility, would that have made a difference? Everyone knows it’s BP’s responsibility, but it’s our natural resources being spilled out in our seas and not being refined for effective use that is a much bigger issue at hand.

And how about these looming question:

  • Should we allow capitalism and fiscal responsibility to trump the common interests of the people?
  • Are we focused on our mission and the continued success of America and its people or are we focused on money?
  • What good is money with nothing to buy and nowhere inhabitable to live?

Month after month and year after year, Americans are becoming less focused on our country and our people’s success and more and more focused on our individual agendas.

A team is not productive when its members are not focused on a common purpose but rather on their own personal desires.

This has been proven and played out over and over throughout history from the focus on “States Rights” in the South instead of common goals during the American Civil War. This pattern of selfish ambition at the expense of a common good also shows up in corporations and in professional sports teams as well. The size of the team is irrelevant. teamwork requires no finger-pointing and unity toward a larger cause.

Think of the old adage: “United we stand; divided we fall.”

We all know that when the members of a team become self-centered instead of group focused, prosperity and success begin to decline and loss begins its ominous accent. What is leaking off the coast of America is ruining the natural environment. What is leaking out of the souls of people who blame others first before seeking solutions first is ruining our societal environment.

So the question becomes for all Americans: “Are we ready for the decline, or is our American Team worth focusing on?” Where is the leadership for a country and its vital resources when it comes to solving massive problems like a huge oil spill of gargantuan proportions? How does your firm’s leadership resemble what you see on the global front? I would love to hear you thoughts!

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A. D. Roberts is President/CEO of A. D. Roberts Consulting, Inc. in North Augusta, SC
He helps with Leadership & Interpersonal Communication Consulting & Training

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