Time has passed since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico but it can teach us a lot about how to take responsibility in a crisis. BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, ended up losing his job as a result of the disaster primarily because he failed to take responsibility for BP’s role in the disaster.

When held to account by Congress, Hayward repeatedly told members of Congress that it would be “premature” to prejudge the outcome of investigations into the explosion.  He refused to be drawn into discussions as to the causes of the disaster and this continued stonewalling led to growing frustration on the part of Congress. He also reiterated his claim that he wasn’t personally involved in decisions relating to construction of the well.

In refusing to accept blame, Hayward failed to take responsibility.I’m sure he took responsibility for their prior results but failed in this one crucial aspect of leadership.

There may be some hope for RIM yet because its leader, Thorsten Heins, is taking responsibility for past errors. By taking responsibility for the past, he can then move the agenda towards the future and focus on Blackberry 10. He may have then the makings of a good leader and RIM may indeed pull itself out of its troubles as a result of effective leadership.