Rebuilding trust in BP

Prof. Michael Watkins on crisis management

After any crisis, it is vital to have the right voice out there immediately and transparently, to tell the company's story about what it knows and what it doesn't know so far," says Michael Watkins, professor of leadership and organizational change at IMD business school, Switzerland, and author of "How BP Could Have Avoided Disaster”.  

He says: "If you don't do that and you are in a hole, a very deep hole, then you are in the brand recovery stage, and the damage has been done." In that case as happened to BP, the first thing to change is the leadership, as you cannot hope to rebalance a decent dynamic once the damage has been done, he adds. The new leadership needs to focus on getting right what went wrong.  

The other priority, says Prof Watkins, is to ensure the crisis does not distract the leadership team from what they normally do. At these crisis points, companies are vulnerable to things going wrong because executives are distracted. 

Read more