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One team One job

Photo — Interview with Carol Antaih, general manager, SHE, and Oluseyi Fadahunsi, Management Support Manager, Upstream Nigeria

Improvements in safety performance / profitability since the campaign kicked off

Antaih:  'One Team, One Job' campaign has helped us as one organization, focusing on our goal of Nobody Gets Hurt. Thus, getting us as a team to have the mindset that we are one team has helped to ensure the safety culture and message is consistent across board. We have seen an improvement in the uptake of the safety vision, focus and message as one team. We know that if a team member is hurt, irrespective of the department, everyone is affected. The focus has made us to care more for one another, because we are one team.

Fadahunsi:  We have made some important observations since this campaign kicked off. It's clear that this campaign was most effective because of the boost from other initiatives we are currently executing within the organization. One of the major wins of the campaign is on a mindset change of the workforce. We have to give it that credit, and the success of aligning it with other initiatives that is run throughout the several functions within the company.

For safety, there are few key areas that we have seen improvement since this campaign began.  Again, trying to change the mindset of the workforce, we have seen that in 2016, potential hurts and high potential incidents are continuing to decline (the safety data buttresses it). I would not say it's just this campaign alone that made this happen. It's this campaign in conjunction with all the several initiatives that are being done. However, this campaign is critical, because it's a mindset change that we are trying to drive through the organization. We have seen the benefits of Good-to-Go initiative and other initiatives like Stop, Think, Act in play. We noticed the workforce are more focused on the barriers, effectiveness of those barriers, and making sure that each barrier is checked and that they are healthy.

Also, there has been some improvement in top-down leadership. It's been evident. Again, for safety, there is a lot of leadership and accountability that comes with it. Thus, we can allude that the good safety performance is closely linked to effective leadership accountability. For instance, we have seen leadership leading in several initiatives like sponsored facilities visit. We have seen leadership going to platforms and talking to PICs. In the Executive Safety Council, we have seen broader leadership there. Same with the Safe-start engagement with the workforce.

Overall, we have seen top-down leadership evident among the workforce, and that has contributed to the safety performance. Lastly on safety, is the ground-up ownership. Ground-up ownership simply means, you and I owning the safety performance of things around us and being responsible for the safety of others; that is, intervening and caring for others (learning and applying the learnings). At the beginning of the 2016, we stated that we want to build the culture of learning, which basically means I see a safety incidence, I see a narrative about what happened, I see a broader sharing of the lessons learned, and I as an individual reflect on those learnings and think about how those learnings peculiarly apply to me. In this whole process, I think we are beginning to see some improvement in it. And that's good.

For profitability, there are two areas - broader efficiencies and volumes improvement. In 2016, this initiative coupled with every other good work that's been going on around the functions contributed to greater efficiencies notwithstanding the oil price and the current business environment. We have seen contracts renegotiated. We have renegotiated things in drilling, vessels, operations, and manpower contracts. We have had quite significant savings from them, even in fuel efficiencies. All these are ongoing, and we will capture a lot of efficiencies from them. Broadly, there has been optimization in headcount as well. It's really restructuring and trying to be more effective the way we get work done. On project execution, we have efficiencies in riser repairs and Erha North Phase 2 well drilling (we have reduced the number of wells that we drill for the project while capturing most of the resources).

In terms of volumes improvement, the two focus areas are capacity enhancement and well restoration. Basically, we have been able to maximize value from installed capacity. These are volumes that we have already developed in the past, but they are in the ground waiting for some kind of investment - minor or major. We have been able to devise creative ways to bring some of those volumes on land and upstream. We give great credit to the sub-surface team for getting that done. In the beginning of year, we anticipated to get the work-over rig, but it did not happen because we have some constraint with our JV partner. Notwithstanding the constraints, we were able to grow some of our volumes in base. So, that's good. On the other hand, we restored some of the idle wells. We have been able to bring forward the wells through creative solutions. In all, I think we have seen tangible contributions and improvements in our profitability.

Behavioural changes noticed amongst the workforce since the campaign commenced

Antaih: What the initiative has done for us is, improving the way we share our lessons across the organization. We have taken lessons from the different parts of the organization and apply them in how we do our work. It has helped us to integrate and collaborate. Before now, if something happens in GREF for example, we wouldn't know in Operations when it happened. We now work as a one team. Every week, all the different functions meet together to share and discuss learnings from each of the department. Therefore, we are working as one in applying learnings to our work. That's the change. We take the learnings and apply them in the different work streams that we have. That's a good thing for us, because, the learnings we get from an incident in a particular functions can be applied in other functions.

Fadahunsi: Generally in the company, in the spirit of the synergy, I think there is interrelation between the One Team, One Job mindset and the global Upstream Synergy. I think there is some connection between the two. The changes I have seen in line with the synergies are behavioural change in terms of collaboration among the different functions. I have seen people take ownership and use their judgment to solve problems that matter most. I have seen people focus on more clarity to get work done and focusing on the most effective way to get it done.

In terms of organizational change, we have seen a lot of integration. And we have seen people really maximizing the value of networking, which is, basically knowing who knows by connecting to the knowledge network. For instance, if I have a problem, I can contact somebody that knows about it.

The last one is really about process. We have seen simplification of processes, which is very good, and actually the mindset we are promoting. Here in Planning, we have done some simplification and elimination of work that we think is not required. We have stopped them going forward. Those are the changes I have seen.

Challenges faced in improving upon previous safety / profitability performance since the campaign began

Antaih: Safety is a journey. Everything that's happened is history. We keep focusing on today by making sure that, Nobody Gets Hurt. Regardless, that's a challenge that remains with us. We don't look back on how good we were yesterday. If we do that, we might lose focus, and somebody might get hurt. Getting everybody to focus on today is very important, and how we do that are the different ways we communicate our messages to the workforce, ranging from Manager's weekly messages to their teams, weekly teleconferencing on the incidents we have received, staff meetings with all the teams, getting together to make sure what happened previously does not repeat itself, and also focusing on the potential when we look at the portfolio of incidents. When there is an incident we investigate. And if there is an incident that has the potential to hurt someone, we deploy the hurt-based approach which has helped us in getting better. A look at our safety statistics shows that we have improved over time. That's because we apply different tools.

We have noticed that the barrier that fails most is the people barrier. In safety, we have three major barriers - People, Process and Equipment. For the process part, we have well-defined processes and procedures that we keep improving on. On the equipment, we make sure that they are up-to-date. While the people part is what we are focusing on today. That's what ties in the One Team, One Job; looking at people's behavior, how we think, how we focus, how we take on our task, and make sure that every day we work safely. Some of the initiatives we have deployed to improve in this area are the Good-to-Go; Stop, Think & Act; Fairplay application which are focused on improving people behavior and our safety culture.

Fadahunsi: It still boils down to getting most of the workforce alignment from top to bottom vice versa in terms of safety commitment. We still have a lot of work to do there in trying to get people to focus on owning safety around them and also applying the lessons learned. That's the journey as we continue to move forward. It's achievable. The No hurt, Zero hurt is achievable if all focus on achieving this objective. Those are the few areas I have seen. It's really getting that bottom to top alignment fully in.

There are broader challenges we have actually noticed in terms of improving the company's profitability. There are three key areas. The first one is price. The oil price is still low. Relative to last year, the price is not that better. So, we are still challenged in improving our profitability performance over the last two years. The other piece is the JV arrears. We have some challenges with the JV arrears. We are looking forward to the government defraying all the arrears that we are owed, which is over USD1 billion. This needs to be resolved before we can move forward. On the other hand is the security challenge. We were out of production in QIT for quite some months. These are external impacts.

In terms of moving this initiative forward internally, we have done a good job and we can continually improve.

Key learnings from the campaign

Antaih: One of the key learnings is that, if it's not safe we don't do it. When we have a job to be done, it must be carried out safely. That's the message we preach at every level in different teams. As we do our job as a team, it must be done in a safe manner. So, every member of the team has to adhere to this message. In making sure that they are healthy, Good-to-Go has helped us as a team by touching the barriers that keeps us safe. If it's not healthy, we mitigate them. If we cannot mitigate them, then we stop the work and re-evaluate how we want to do it safely.

Fadahunsi: The key learning for us are the classic change management learnings; that if you can get the workforce more aligned in a direction, if you can make leadership and process ownership demonstrated visibly and leaders are in the forefront, then you can get a lot done. I will promote more leadership visibility and continuity in discussion on the things we want the workforce to do. Let the leaders begin to share and show those to their respective teams. Let the leaders demonstrate it in the day-to-day decisions they make. That will be most helpful to the workforce in internalizing those virtues.

Increasing the effectiveness of the 'One Team, One Job' message amongst the workforce

Antaih:  At the moment, I think we need to take it from the leadership to the people at the work sites. We need the message to come from the work sites as well.  We want the ownership of this message. We want feedback from the PICs and first line Supervisors. That's when you have everyone taking on that's same message of One Team, One Job - safely producing Oil and Gas. How do we do it safely? To do it safely, we need to work together as one team. So, as we hands-off from one person to another, we need to integrate. That's the One Team concept. We put our One Team hats on as we do tasks safely. The expectation is that the workforce carry on the message while executing their jobs. When the workforce takes ownership, we see great success because people are internalizing the message, owning the vision and personalizing it. That's what will help us move this forward.

Fadahunsi:  Building upon what we have already done, I think first, people need to be grounded in what we have achieved. Basically, where we are at the moment, and the need to be clear on the work that's still required to move forward on the journey. For safety, bottom up, we still need alignment. There is some work that need to be done on getting the lowest and highest of the workforce having a safety mindset and taking ownership of safety around them, and caring for others around them. It's basically saying that the safety of other depends on me as long as they are around me. On safety we have that work to do.

For profitability, aside from the external challenges, if we can continue to focus and ask ourselves for every task, what is the most efficient and effective way to do this task? The other piece is to ask, how does this contribute to the company's bottomline? If those two things are clear to me as a member of the workforce, then I can be more driven in terms of how I get work done and the kind of work that I pursue.