BOSTON (TheStreet) -- There are mistakes. Then there are mistakes.
In assessing the most talked-about errors in judgment by top companies and their leadership this year, it's clear some might have been avoided with a healthy dose of common sense. The following are a few resolutions the execs might want to consider to avoid similar blunders in the New Year.
Resolution: Think before you speak
When the Deepwater Horizon blowout pumped millions of dollars of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, it was a historic setback for BP (BP) . But confidence in the company really bubbled away when CEO Tony Hayward -- now the former CEO -- opened his mouth.
The ignored warnings, safety violations and overall culture at BP were the real villains here, and perhaps Hayward was a bit of a scapegoat. Nevertheless, he was the man in charge and, as such, he oozed failure.
Among his more memorable bon mots during the crisis:
"We made a few little mistakes early on."
"There's no one who wants this thing over more than I do. I'd like my life back."
Further alienating those mourning the loss of loved ones who worked the rig, and the thousands whose livelihoods were affected by the spill, Hayward dashed off from a Congressional hearing during the heat of the crisis to take part in a yacht race off the Isle of Wight.
Resolution: Be less arrogant
In giving another example of bad crisis management, Steve Jobs unintentionally crafted a punchline in the tradition of "That's what she said."
"You're doing it wrong," was the Apple (AAPL) CEO's snippy retort to all those ungrateful fanboys who complained that their new iPhone 4s had miserable, unreliable connectivity and reception.
But "Antennaegate," as the design flaw would be dubbed, would not go away, and Apple was forced to issue rubber bumper cases (albeit not a real apology) to resolve the issue.