Monday, May 31, 2010

Lessons from an Oil Spill

It's ugly and gross.  It's smelly and dirty.  Thousands of gallons per day gush from the jonesed up pipe a mile below sea level in the Gulf of Mexico and we just can't seem to do much about it.  As I've watched this unfold over the past 5 weeks or so, some thoughts have come to mind.  Here they are, in no particular order.

We can claim it's best to be a proactive leader.  We can champion the values of proactivity in the leadership sphere.  We can read the books, attend the conference, and implement the principles.  But you know what?  Sometimes leadership is reactive.  We can't get around it.  Sometimes, things get messed up and you have to react.  It was true for me at the church during Hurricane Ike.  Reaction is forced upon you at times.

Speaking of leadership, it seems better to appoint a singular figure during times of crisis and equip them with what they need to do what needs to be done.  Who in a barrel-of-crude-oil is in charge out there?  The President claimed he was and has been from day one.  Nobody believes that, but I am grateful that he's at least taking some responsibility here.  Who's the go-to guy or gal?  That seems like a good thing to identify early on and ride that horse until you get the problem fixed or it needs a different level of leadership.

Lastly, on leadership:  nothing speaks to a struggling population like presence.  Being down there, being down there often, being down there actively - those are all things I wish the President would have done.  It's a different ballgame when it's Hurricane Katrina and a Presidential motorcade would screw everything up.  This is an offshore problem with onshore implications.

BP has apparently cut some corners and they have a horrendous safety record.  We had a church member at the plant in Texas City when it went up.  I hope that CEO guy with the accent can pull those people together and start being a responsible corporation instead of merely a liable one.  What's more, their lack of responsibility has now cost thousands upon thousands of others in unimaginable ways.  There are always social implications to our sin.  Always.

Once again, it appears volunteers are the strongest part of the recovery effort.  We've seen this over and over again haven't we?  Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Fires.  Tornadoes.  Haiti.  New Orleans.  Name a bad situation and you get the same answer.  Who's out doing the work (or waiting to come and do the work)?  Volunteers.  Government folks sweat about who gets camera time.  Volunteers sweat while they do what needs to be done.  In particular, church groups have done thousands (if not millions upon millions) of man-hours worth of hard work in all of the situations mentioned above.  People who follow Jesus have that capacity because they're drawing from a different source of strength and have different motives.

Finally, I have friends in Houma, LA.  I hope they all survive this - not the ecological problem but the economic one that is soon to follow.

But that's just me thinking thoughts.

No comments:

Post a Comment