Defining Moments of 2010: April

The Defining Moments series looks back at the biggest events of 2010 to see what we can learn from them here at P&P, to work better in our calling, in 2011 and beyond.

By DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)

The first quarter of 2010 gave us startling, literally earth-shaking, events in Haiti and Iceland, and the shocking meltdown of a public persona in Tiger Woods. April would roll that all together, kicking off a natural disaster and public-figure meltdown in one, with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began on April 20 and continued for months.

As 200 million gallons of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico, the owners of BP gas stations lost up to 40 percent of their sales as consumers boycotted the company. Stockholders saw their shares value cut in half. The regions fishing, tourism – and drilling – industries (the vast majority of employment) were decimated, as were the livelihoods of everyone involved in them. Countless birds and sea life died, poisoned. Four hundred species are threatened. 11 men died and 17 were injured, and the potential long-term health impact on Gulf Coast residents is still being studied.

And yet, the scope of the disaster was summed up in five words by one man: “Id like my life back. So said the CEO of BP, Tony Hayward. To a television reporter. With a straight face. And the camera rolling. As he stood amidst huge piles of cleanup equipment. Breathtakingly self-involved; monumentally thoughtless; very, very bad for business; and, it goes without saying, decisive for his career. Tony Hayward was replaced, less than two months later, by Bob Dudley, who grew up in Mississippi and is, interviewees said, “well-respected, “calm (and also, as one British oil-industry analyst noted, “American).

So what did we learn in April? Its not about you.

Whatever job you hold, you will have moments when work is not easy or fun or interesting or enjoyable. Things will go wrong. At Pixels & Pills we do everything we can to make our team brilliant, and take away as many of the obstacles to that as possible. But life happens. And when it does, youll have to handle them.

The important thing is, during those crises, to remember that its effects on you are probably not what your customers want to hear about. Its not that theyre unsympathetic people – its just that theyre distracted by dealing with the effects on their own lives, and you and your work are there to help them.

So when a crisis befalls your product, your patients or your clients, your focus is on them. Because when you solve their problems, you solve your own.

Check out our other posts in the Defining Moments series:

January – The Haiti Earthquake
February – The Tiger Woods Scandal
March – The Eruption of Eyjafjallajɬ∂kull

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One Response to Defining Moments of 2010: April

  1. These are the moments that people remember – when someone makes it “all about me” instead of the larger group of people affected. Mr. Hayward will never live that down and I’m sure at times, when he’s alone with his thoughts, he wishes he’d never uttered those words.