Talent & Technology

Our industry has entered a new era. An increasing demand for energy, complexity of resources, developing new technologies, management of the supply and demand for skilled human work-force, and the urgency of rapid knowledge transfer are daunting challenges. The sociopolitical climate, whether it is in one’s backyard or across the globe, demands transparency in our actions that conveys internal congruency with external expectations. This requires substantial ability to interact across a broad spectrum of disciplines, differences and diversity, and individual expectations. To prepare for this new world, future industry professionals must equip themselves with an expanded set of competencies that include organizational abilities to effectively develop and deliver technical solutions—soft skills.

While some still advocate identifying the top performers for mission-critical roles, the complexities of the new environment demand a new approach that sees the potential for development of leadership attributes in every individual to not only enhance his or her talent, but more importantly, to unlock organizational capabilities to ensure success. Forward-looking companies see that increasing collaboration in the development and rapid implementation of technology solutions will require a new generation of professionals who are able to inspire and motivate and who display leadership qualities regardless of their position in the organization.

In 2011, SPE formed the Soft Skills Council. There were two major drivers for the move: to help SPE fulfill its mission, vision, and values, and to respond to a growing conversation within the industry about the need to help our professionals develop interpersonal skills to add business value in the future.

Attributes of a Future Professional

The benefits and responsibilities of membership in a professional society are usually included in the organization’s statements of mission, vision, and values. For SPE, these are the following:

Mission: To collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit; and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence.

Vision: To be a society of professional excellence, providing its members the highest quality lifelong learning, and continuous personal and professional growth.

Values: Excellent, integrity, professionalism, lifelong learning, diversity, volunteerism, innovation, and social responsibility.

Considering that every word in the mission, vision, and values statements was carefully selected, the fact that the word “professional” appears often is an indication of its significance. Providing members with “continuous personal and professional growth” is an important goal for SPE, signifying a belief that the degree to which industry professionals prosper will depend on their ability to continuously develop skills, with a balance between technology and soft skills.

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