BP crisis: our shared responsibilities toward a new path to success

BP oil spill nearshore trajectory june18 2010
The tragedy in the Gulf continues. By now we’ve all seen the horrendous images of seabirds, fish, dolphins, and other forms of aquatic life – dead or dying, helpless as they slither about covered in oil, an agonizing sight for all the world to see.  We’ve seen the Cajun shrimpers bemoan the loss of their lifestyle, and we are witnessing a slow, lingering devastation – as the sea itself seems to be gasping for breath.
As the spill keeps gushing the questions keep coming:
  • Will Florida be soon deeply affected as well?
  • Will a hurricane stir up the oil even further?
  • Will the oil flow around the Florida Keys and wash up on the Eastern seaboard?
  • When will it end?
  • Will BP pay?
BP is certainly to be held responsible. Some conniving political alliances of the past probably as well. No doubt such a catastrophe could have been avoided if more preventive thinking (North West Blue Quadrant of The Intuitive Compass™) had been involved in the management of this underwater well and if decisions had been made based on sustainable value as opposed to shareholder value. Of course there is nothing wrong with compensating the financial risk of a shareholder or an investor. But the sole focus on financial ROI can easily lead to very unbalanced situations. BP and the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf is one more proof of such limited thinking. The many other global sustainability issues as well.
But rather than focusing on BP as the scapegoat of our anger and sorrows few key facts need to be remembered though in order to draw deeper lessons from the current situation in the Mexican Gulf and bring forth a call for meaningful change. Let’s look at the diagram below.

Average annual contribution to oil in the ocean (1990-1999) from major sources of petroleum in kilotonnes.
From Oil In The Sea, Ocean Studies Board and Marine Board of the National Academy of Sciences (2003).
Statistics show that above nearly 85 percent of the 29 million gallons of petroleum that enter North American ocean waters each year as a result of human activities comes from land-based runoff, polluted rivers, airplanes, and small boats and jet skis, while less than 8 percent comes from tanker or pipeline spills.

So what BP’s mistake is revealing is that all our  human operations and our system of wealth creation need to be reconsidered when it comes to oceans preservation.
Not only BP but most of us in business still base our decisions on a very limited perspective and understanding of progress. By focusing primarily – and at times exclusively even – on the North East Yellow Quadrant and the South East Green Quadrant of The Intuitive Compass™ we essentially destroy the foundations of our existence and upset the fundamentals of life on the altar of logic and linear efficiency.
We leave out our best instrument for adaptive and sustainable decisions: Instinct. Simply put neuroscience has now proved that there is intelligence in our guts and we all know that instinct is responsible for our survival; that is its main function.
So even if our brilliant human logical mind has been able to invent amazing technological and scientific solutions all around it is yet very limited when it comes to shift paradigm and emancipate from its own way of reasoning. Logic only knows what’s logical. This is why in the name of logic one can become totally illogical because logic leaves out the part of life that eludes our logical mind. And as we can all testify from experience: life and logic don’t match! It takes imagination and courage to go beyond logic. To engage in a new path status quo needs to be challenged. It costs more effort, more risk taking, more energy and requires independent and creative thinking.
Today that level of in depth and courageous thinking is required. That level of commitment and determination to change is unavoidable.
The good news is: it is possible!
Muhammad Yunus proved it with microcredit. He challenged the status quo. He claimed that poverty is not a necessity of our system of development. He showed that it can be efficiently dealt with. He imagined and thought out a powerful way of empowering poor people to go beyond their limits. He organized lending money for the poor and showed that poor people can be more reliable that solvent people by traditional standards. He shifted the paradigm of credit and made a huge impact: nearly 8 million individuals are members of Grameen Bank (a total of 40 million people impacted when you count their family members). Since its inception thirty three years ago Grameen Bank has lent more than $ 8 billion US dolllars to the poor in Bangladesh.
So how does one start an enterprise that reaches nearly 40 million people in one’s own country and improves the lives of tens of millions more in replicatio
ns around the world? How does one create socially sustainable prosperity?
Through imagination, intense feeling, courage (i.e. rage of the heart), and deep thinking while not being afraid of paradoxes and commending a holistic view of life where all count, paying attention to unusual cues into powerful creative solutions, by humbly accepting that we cannot control life but committing to influence our individual and collective destiny.
This exact same approach also applies to our relationship with Nature, seas and oceans. This equally applies to business model reinvention and innovation. In other words we can innovate and create prosperous businesses even in recession times and their impact can be positive, meaningful and economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.
It is time to rethink the way we think… Not from a fragmented paradigm where logic and linear efficiency prevail in an exclusive manner but from a holistic and inclusive paradigm that is both creative and sustainable, intelligent and relevant. This is why Intuitive Intelligence and The Intuitive Compass™ were invented. This is why i do what i do.

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