By now it’s old news that the CEO of BP has been replaced. But the BP story continues to swirl in a downward direction. And to think, this whole thing comes down to a story of relationships and communication.
BP is a company suffering from lots of perception issues. In a recent post I talked about the truth of perception—that perception is reality. Meaning that whatever perception you create for others becomes their reality of who and what you are. And unfortunately for BP, the perception Americans hold of them today is one of deception. So I guess you could say that they succeeded in creating a deception perception. Not bad, huh?
BP made a big, big, big mistake. But then they tried to fix it with this thing I call deception perception. But we humans have pretty good deception perception radar, and we got the gig pretty fast. The reality in all this is that the CEO could have avoided the whole thing by just telling the truth. Scary, huh? BP’s relationship with the American people today is built on a foundation of half-truths, schmoozing, and hustling. And now they have to win us back.
So, the answer lies partly in those new BP ads with someone telling the story of their replacement CEO—the guy who grew up in Louisiana, and is telling a very compassionate story. The new CEO has a steep trail to climb. His representative sounds sincere, and he may be, but now that our reality on this issue is the deception perception, it’s a tough repair job.
Our trust may be won back some day, but it will take 100 times the amount of oil spilled in good deeds to do this. It sure doesn’t help that they’re in the oil business, an industry not well known in the first place for its honest and open dealings with customers.
So you’d think when you’re playing at this level of relationship building and communication BP would know better. But we humans like to dance sometimes, and hope that we can get away with things. I think this BP fiasco is a huge reminder to just tell it like it is, in any relationship, and take our lumps. Whatever short-term pain it causes is surely better than finding a recovery path from this kind of long-term damage.
So thank you, BP, for reminding us that perception is reality. If you’re in a bad mood today, and you’re showing it, you are creating a perception that other’s take as reality—like maybe you’re a moody, grumpy person. Not to say that we don’t have the right to be grumpy once in a while, but be on the lookout for this becoming the perception you leave behind consistently. Same behavior, enough times at bat (as our BP friends did), and that perception gets entrenched as reality.
All the best to BP and their new CEO. Maybe they can create a new word that rhymes with perception that is much more positive than the deception one. In the meantime, I’m working on checking my grumpiness at the door.