Petroleum Industry 2020: People First: Excellence and Fairness - Part 1
- Abdul-Jaleel Al-Khalifa (2007 SPE President)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 10 - 14
- 2006. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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It is amazing how all people are attracted to excellence and fairness, reflecting a human unity without regard to colour, race, gender, or religion. However, as much as people are united in admiring fairness and excellence, they sometimes differ in understanding their true meaning and application in real life. This can explain why some people live isolated in their thinking and feelings despite today’s fast-growing means of communication. Let’s explore an understanding that I hope can be universal and practical. We will then try to apply this understanding to individuals and corporations in our industry.
Let us start with the idea that excellence and fairness are twins; they rise and shine together. This principle applies to individuals, corporations, and industries. Individuals, aspiring to be excellent, can be a change agent within their corporations and the industry at large.
In my November JPT column, I talked about how healthy organizations enjoy an evolving process of technology innovation, cost management, and high productivity. They engage the workforce and utilize their employees’ full potential. Healthy organizations also exhibit a very high degree of character and competency at both the individual and corporate levels, as demonstrated in Fig. 1. The increasing challenges of higher demand and stretched human resources will drive organizations to do a better job of engaging their workforce. A corporation’s workforce is its foundation for future survival. Industry’s focus on research and technology spending will build on this foundation.
Genuine efforts to enhance character and competency must be at both the individual and the corporate level. This month’s column focuses on the individual. Individuals at all levels collectively form the character and competency of the entire corporation. Furthermore, it is essential to plant the seeds and anchor high standards of character and competency at the individual level, where ownership and accountability reside.
Let’s now discuss how SPE can help enhance the individual’s character and competency.
Broaden SPE Focus to Cover People Issues
SPE’s historical focus has been mostly on technical competencies. Very few SPE papers have discussed ethics, values, organizations, and leadership. Only one in 100 Distinguished Lecturers over the past few years spoke about ethics with regard to reserves booking. Engineering curricula are almost void of courses on character, values, and ethics. While industry training offers courses and information like Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, in general there is a dire need for an immediate focus on this critical area. This explains why 95% of the respondents in the December 2005 SPE survey of members’ job satisfaction were in favor of a more SPE focus on people issues.
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