Categotry Archives: Management

Les Produits des Grandes Écoles

First this story: Two Air France managers have had their shirts torn as they were forced to flee a meeting on job cuts by angry workers. Human resources manager Xavier Broseta and senior official Pierre Plissonnier had to clamber over a fence, while several others were injured. The men were taking part in talks about plans for 2,900 job losses when hundreds of workers stormed into Air France headquarters at Roissy. This scene couldn’t be more French if it had […]

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Rood Boyz

There is an odd phenomenon in corporate environments whereby extreme rudeness and impolite behaviour is perfectly acceptable provided it is of a certain form, while others are very much frowned upon.  Here is an example. A project I was managing required a specific type of insurance document to be drawn up on behalf of one of the contractors.  For this, I had to go to a chap who called himself Head of Legal Affairs.  I explained to him what was […]

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Who judges the judges?

An employee in a major oil company finds themselves bombarded on a daily basis with advice, most of it unsolicited, uninformed, patronising, self-serving, and muddle-headed.  This is especially true if you are under 30, after which it tends to die down a bit as men who are not afforded respect at home quit trying to be your dad. That said, occasionally one stumbles across a gem.  One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given came from an […]

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Appraisals: the biggest waste of time short of washing submarines

May is almost upon us and, as is the tradition in the organisation which employs me, this is the month in which the annual employee appraisals are done.  I’ve thought about this and I’ve reached the conclusion that in no other field of our industry is there a greater disparity between the seriousness with which something is presented and the importance it actually has.  Even the boilerplate committment to Safety shoehorned in at the beginning of every report or presentation […]

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Going, going, BGone

Four days ago, on 7th April, BG CEO Helge Lund – who had joined the company only in February – outlined his strategy for the company: Lund acknowledged that BG had sustained “operational setbacks” over the past two years, having been hit by lower liquefied natural gas exports from Egypt and construction challenges and cost overruns on its Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) project in Australia. He said “we must take account of the lessons learned from these experiences as we […]

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Vertebrates need not apply

The other week I was at a party and I heard a splendid little anecdote.  The party was on behalf of a driller who was turning 65, but had retired several years before.  The driller was a real, old-school company man and had worked for the same oil company for his whole working life, clocking up something in the region of 35 years with them.  During the party somebody happened to mention a certain individual from the driller’s former company […]

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Cry ‘Havoc!’

It is well known among those familiar with military history that those who excel in a peacetime army are often useless during wartime.  The reason for this is the personalities and skills required to succeed in the intensely political and bureaucratic environment of an army at peace are completely different from those required to ensure the same army prevails when the bullets start to fly.  As such, when an army embarks on the first campaign of the war it often […]

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Don’t ask, don’t tell: oilfield version

Upstream Online reports a change in ExxonMobil policy: ExxonMobil has changed its business conduct policies to explicitly forbid discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, a move the corporation has previously resisted. … The US supermajor had, to the chagrin of LGBT rights activists, previously insisted that broad anti-discrimination policies were adequate to protect its employees. Multiple shareholder resolutions on the subject were brought up but ultimately rejected. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organisation, has previously ranked […]

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One supermajor too many?

It is difficult to talk about the oil price these days without somebody or other popping up with a conspiracy theory involving the Saudis deliberately not cutting back on production in order to simultaneously cripple Russia, damage Iran, and hobble the fledgling US shale oil industry. Streetwise Professor does an admirable job of explaining why this is bollocks, that the price drop is from the demand side, and the Saudis cutting production would cause them to lose revenue (which is […]

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Malheureusement, nous ne sommes pas Charlie

Before the echoes of the gunfire from the first attack in this (hopefully) now completed week of carnage in Paris had faded, debates erupted all over the internet as to how other news and media organs should respond.  How they actually responded, with very few exceptions, was to condemn the killings and reaffirm the importance of free speech while refraining from reprinting any of Charlie Hebdo’s content that might be deemed offensive.  This resulted in many charges of cowardice against […]

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