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The Age of Volatility in Oil and Gas: How to Recognize Your Future Leaders
The Age of Volatility in Oil and Gas: How to Recognize Your Future Leaders

It has been said that in a corporate culture with the agility to manage change and drive growth under the dynamic conditions in the oil and gas industry it is difficult to separate culture from leadership?  What that in mind, what is the success profile of an oil and gas leader in this age of volatility? How do we find leaders who match it and develop leaders to have it? Let’s dive into those questions now.
 
With the benefit of applying recent research and new thinking on leadership development from our experience here at Right Management, our model of leader development applies to a range of industries, and is particularly well-suited to the challenges in the oil and gas sector. Our model identifies four traits in individuals most likely to be successful managing complexity and rapid change.  Below is a summary of our findings, that can be used to help better identify potential in various industries.. 
 
Adaptability: Clearly oil and gas leaders need to be comfortable with ambiguity, complexity, uncertainty. They must be adept at alternative scenario planning and “what if” thinking. Adaptable leaders don’t need certainty to act; they accept reasonable risk, confident in their ability to change course as needed. A prime example is the increasingly complex and costly projects to reach new reserves. The most adaptive oil and gas companies have used this time to make deeper improvements by focusing on enhanced efficiency and performance through business process change, supply chain optimization, and operational improvements.
 
Endurance: The search for oil reserves is intense, forcing companies to drill in increasingly remote, inhospitable locations—and so the quality of endurance has always been highly sought in the industry. Endurance also includes mental toughness, emotional resilience, and a level of persistence. Even in adverse circumstances, effective leaders show tenacity and stamina, constantly asking themselves: “Do I understand what I’m doing? Am I following the process? Am I doing the right thing, the right way, every time?” 
 
Drive: The hunger, energy and desire to achieve high performance have never been more important to the oil and gas industry. Despite the immediate financial pressures, it is time to reinvent the way things are done. There are significant opportunities to uncover new efficiencies, remove waste and create value through continuous improvements. 
 
Brightness: As in “all the lights are switched on inside.” Given the pace of technological change and the global reach of the oil and gas industry, leaders must be intellectually curious and have strong appetites for continuous learning. This foundation creates the right environment for the ongoing “up-skilling” required to address changing technologies and new global frontiers. The development of emerging technologies and the integration of existing technology into the energy industry are game changers for nearly all job roles. Since companies cannot count on having a workforce prepared with all the skills necessary, leaders must create a culture that provides opportunities for employees to develop their aptitudes for learning, discovery and critical thinking.
 
Author:
Holly Davis
M.A., Senior Consultant, Talent Management
Right Management
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