What's Ahead

Adding Value With a New Mentality

Thomas Bruni, Editor, The Way Ahead

First things first: On behalf of the Editorial Committee of TWA, I want to thank  all of the Society’s members who so enthusiastically expressed their appreciation for the first issue of this  magazine. The messages that we received all had a common denominator: While so far 100% of SPE publications have focused on technology and its applications, readers have appreciated that TWA represents a radical innovation that looks at the people in the industry and at tomorrow’s leaders.

Back to business. We have all been through training programs, and while we can argue how these can be improved, we should all agree that companies invest a great deal of resources in the process. The training/induction period can be prolonged, and it may require some time before a new hire is ready to make a significant contribution. How is development time perceived by our companies? Is there a risk that young resources are considered a (temporary) burden rather than an asset? Any company with some vision will recognize that this group of young people represents tomorrow’s leaders and the company’s future or, as His Excellency Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, Sultanate of Oman, puts it: “A petroleum engineer today is a Managing Director tomorrow” (read more from His Excellency in the TWA Interview). Hence, much energy and commitment should be devoted to young professionals’ development. They are indeed an investment, and as with any other investment, companies want to see a return on investment and dividends ASAP. It is the bottom line that counts.

I see an opportunity here: Can we improve the bottom line despite our limited experience and exposure to the industry? Can we add more value more quickly?

I dare say, “yes.”

We need to cultivate a “can do” mentality of self-awareness that will inspire us as well as drive us forward.

A challenging vision, born from out-of-the-box thinking, will give us the motivation to go the extra mile and will encourage us to be initiators rather than followers. After all, leaders lead the pack, but they can’t accomplish much without a pack! There is no leader without a team.

Teamwork is central in today’s workplace. Our goal should be for each of us to function as an effective team player: a respected, assertive, sociable member of the group who will readily offer his/her contribution and facilitate the flow of information and the integration within the group. Being in a team also offers us the priceless opportunity to learn from our colleagues’ experience. As John Donachie puts it in the YEPP PerSPEctive section: “I have always thought that the trick is to combine the need for guidance with the desire to seek and receive it when it is offered.” I could not agree more. Mentorship is offered to us in free, daily doses by our more senior colleagues, and it takes a fool to walk away and not capitalize on the opportunity.

Hugh Mitchell, Global Human Resources Director for the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, in his contribution to the HR Advice section, offers this advice: “Achieve your objectives, expand your horizons, and seize the opportunities when they come.” This is the ideal synthesis between the capacity to deliver results and work within a schedule, but still be able to think creatively. To be truly effective, one must deliver the results expected by one’s employer, but avoid the common perception that living up to expectations defines success. Meeting expectations is the starting point, while success demands taking the next step to accomplish the exceptional. Tomorrow’s leaders will be able to create value early by finding their way through the melee of general industry training, corporate inductions, and management expectations to see the true pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and make that a reality.

Can we do all this? Can we be visionary leaders, indispensable team players, and focused specialists, ultimately improving our company’s bottom line?

If we embrace the “can do” mentality, absolutely!