Chapter 2

Practice Radical Honesty

Communicating What’s Really Going On

When a wellhead on BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana in April 2010, it killed eleven workers and triggered an oil spill that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico for eighty-seven days. By the time the wellhead was capped, about 200 million gallons of oil had been released into the ocean, killing generations of fish and wildlife and damaging the ecosystem.1 Meantime, BP was widely criticized for not responding swiftly enough or, in some views, adequately acknowledging the extent of the disaster.

For example, according to one report, “CEO Tony Hayward called the amount of oil and dispersant ‘relatively tiny’ in comparison with the ‘very big ocean.’” ...

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