Business Management and Leadership Skills
Papers and Articles


195997-MS SPE Conference Paper – 2019
Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast: Developing Coaching Cultures in the Oil and Gas Sector
Roland Hamp, SPE, PRM Pty Ltd; David Webster, SPE, The Centre for Team 
Oil and gas businesses are often characterised as operating in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (‘VUCA’) environments, whilst also expected to meet ever more demanding operational challenges and stakeholder expectations. Within this setting the historically prevalent directive, ‘command and control’ leadership style has become increasingly ineffective at creating a workplace culture which fully enables and engages staff, especially millennials, to deliver outstanding results sustainably. This paper looks at what it takes for an organisation to shift towards a ‘coaching culture’, one in which exceptional performance is gained by a significantly higher quality of conversation between all involved in the business. The paper discusses the business context for a modern oil and gas business which necessitates a shift towards a ‘coaching culture’ for many in the sector; it sheds light on the critical elements of such a change programme and the key steps that are required for such a change to be successful; it examines the theoretical basis for development of a coaching leadership style in the sector; and it shares the authors’ practical learning from the field gained through implementation of such programmes in the sector, with examples and composite case studies.

TWA October 2019
Critical Skills for a Successful Career (Part II)
Kamel Ben Naceur, SPE, Nomadia; Ford Brett, SPE, PetroSkills; and Maria Capello, SPE, Kuwait Oil Company
The Business Management and Leadership Committee present this second article on Critical Skills for a Successful Career. This article, and the first one published in February 2019, are based on the panel session during the 2018 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) titled "Critical Skills for Career Success" in which industry leaders provided their insights on what skills make a difference in one’s career. In this second article, Kamel Ben Naceur describes the career importance of resilience and adaptability to change; Ford Brett articulates a set of values that can help a person navigate career uncertainties; and Maria Capello emphasizes the importance of curiosity.

JPT February 2019
Critical Skills for a Successful Career
The recently published LinkedIn “Roadmap,” which utilized data from more than 500 million members combined with a survey of 2,000 business leaders, identified that soft skills are often more needed than hard skills. SPE recognizes that its members need to possess such skills—and more. Recently, the SPE Soft Skills Committee was renamed Business and Management Leadership (BML) to better represent the needs and missions of such skills in successful careers. The BML committee organized a panel session during the 2018 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition titled “Critical Skills for Career Success” where industry leaders provided their insights on what skills make a difference in one’s career, and how to develop and master critical skills to attain business and management leadership. The moderator of the panel was Maria Capello, Kuwait Oil Company. Panelists were Kamel Ben Naceur, ADNOC; Behrooz ­Fattahi, The EnerTrain Institute; Ford Brett, PetroSkills; Thomas Blasingame, Texas A&M University; and Janeen Judah, 2017 SPE President.

191619-MS SPE Conference Paper – 2018
Present Day Softskills Needs and Views – 2017 SPEI Survey Results
Steve Cheung, SPE, SteveIOR Consulting; Peggy Rijken, SPE, Chevron; Etta Agbor, SPE, Shell-Nigeria
This paper documents the results from a SPEI survey that was distributed in October 2017 to gauge the members’ Softskills needs and preferences. We received approximately 1100 responses from 72 countries. This paper shows the survey statistics and shares the actions the SPEI Business Management and Leadership Committee (BML) (previously known as the Softskills committee) will consider in response to the survey results.

JPT September 2018
Learning Nontechnical Skills for a Successful Career
The main goal of the SPE Business Management and Leadership Committee (BML) is to promote learning opportunities for nontechnical skills. Technical skills often get you in the door, but strong nontechnical skills can propel you to career success.

JPT September 2016
Talent and Technology: Upgrading Soft Skills During Boom and Bust Business Cycles
Narandja Milanovich Eagleson, SPE, GriffinWorks Consulting; Behrooz Fattahi, SPE, The EnerTrain Institute; Susan Howes, SPE; Greg Solomon,SPE, MOECO Vietnam; and Kamel Ben Naceur, SPE, International Energy Agency
It is challenging for the oil and gas industry to survive and thrive despite continued low oil prices. How might individuals and companies prepare for a potential re-emergence of the boom cycle of our industry?

JPT September 2015
Talent & Technology: The Role of Soft Skills in a Challenging Environment
Narandja Milanovich-Eagleson, SPE, GriffinWorks Consulting; Susan Howes, SPE, Chevron; and Behrooz Fattahi, SPE, EnerTrain Institute
Lower oil prices have evoked a level of stress in the industry not only for those involved in a slowdown or cancellations of projects, and potential staff reductions, but also for those who may be buffered from the business cycle swings. These times of scarcity of operating cash flow and capital resources can create substantial anxiety because of an internal conflict among employment needs, a company’s survival needs, and corporate and professional conduct.

JPT October 2014
Talent & Technology: Soft Competency Development as a Global Challenge
Behrooz Fattahi, SPE, N. Milanovich, SPE, Susan Howes, SPE, Chevron Global Upstream;  Giovanni Paccaloni, SPE, Paccaloni Consulting International; and Ford Brett, SPE, PetroSkill
The global nature of the workplace in the petroleum industry has introduced a new challenge to our competitive business landscape: the development of soft competencies as a critically important element in driving productivity. Soft skills as an element of sustainability brings success to individuals and organizations in a variety of workplace activities, such as forging alliances, creating a team harmony that produces collaboration and innovation, and managing and using the human and system components to influence outcomes and achieve business goals.

JPT October 2013
Talent & Technology: The Elements of a Soft Competency Matrix
Behrooz Fattahi, SPE, and N. Milanovich, SPE, Aera Energy; Susan Howes, SPE, Chevron Global Upstream; Giovanni Paccaloni, SPE; and Ford Brett, SPE, PetroSkills
The oil and gas industry is facing a progressively more complex work environment that is ever-shifting, less predictable, challenging, multidisciplinary, and increasingly global, with more complicated technical problems to be solved. There is also more public awareness and interest in what we do, how we do what we do, and who we are. Combined with our industry’s rapidly changing demographics, these developments stress the need for development of competencies within a spectrum ranging from emotional intelligence/soft skills to technical skills. In the new work environment, new attributes are rewarded and, although developing technical literacy is highly regarded, the necessity of acquiring soft skills is gaining recognition and is considered equally critical for success.