Friday, August 27, 2010

Records are Proof

Close your eyes and silently read the following chilling words from the August 26, Wall Street Journal article—“On April 20 at 10:43 a.m., a young BP PLC engineer sent a 173-word email to colleagues abroad the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The email spelled out a recent change to a key safety test that sparked confusion and debate abroad the rig. Less than 12 hours later, the rig was engulfed in flames so hot they melted steel”.

As the fateful day proceeded, it was clear there was confusion about whether or not the well was stable. “over the next two hours, there were signs the well was slipping out of control. For one, more fluid was flowing out of the well than was being pumped in, according to electronic data reviewed by investigators after the explosion.”

As the lines are now being drawn to determine who is responsible for the death of 11 people and the largest oil spill in our history, what is clear is that records will likely be central in determining who is at fault. For example, Brian Morel who “wrote an email about a week before the explosion, saying that it was a ‘nightmare well which has everyone all over the place’ has refused to testify before a federal governmental panel citing his 5th amendment against self incrimination.”

For those businesses who refuse to recognize the importance of a records program, ask yourself if your business would continue to exist after sustaining a multiple billion dollar penalty.

Viva La Records Management

Monday, August 2, 2010

Leaks happen. How do we stop them?

This week has been a bad one for the administration when it comes to information leaks. As they try to figure out who the data colander is and why he/she has exposed 90,000 classified documents about the Afghanistan war which may explain why it’s going so poorly, one needs to ask what can be done to stop such leaks.

Well the government had policy (in this case a really serious one) and the soldier with intelligence access didn’t follow it. Find him and fire him. Not strong enough. Find him and court martial him — same thing. We need it stronger so others don’t follow suit. OK, if we were in Iran what would they do — behead him? We are free not a Islamic totalitarian regime. Ok, what if we were in Russia - Gulag summer camp and Siberian Labor camp winter get away? Now that is better. But the American people won’t agree and maybe it's “Cruel and unusual punishment." Ok what if we were in France. They would make the leaker the president. Ok wrong location.
Ok, lets be America. But let’s find better ways to make our point to employees and make it stick. Lets realize that information flows and sometime out of the receptacle and we will need to deal with it.