Joe was a very talented freshman on our high school soccer team several years ago. He loved to take shots. A lot of them. Many were low percentage shots from long distance or bad angles. I almost “fixed” that as a coach until I realized that Joe may take 10 shots a game but he would score on at least 2 of them. Our other players might take 2 or 3 shots and wouldn’t score at all. As a freshman Joe understood 2 simple truths; First, you don’t score on 100% of shots you don’t take. Second, things don’t have to be perfect in order to act. I also learned an important lesson as a coach. Joe was in a much better position to make decisions on the field than I was from the bench. I still worked with Joe on decision making so he would pass to an open player that might have a better shot. Joe went on to become a multiyear All- State player. He had a great college soccer career. He is now a successful attorney and family man.
As parents, we know we can’t be with our children 100% of the time to make decisions for them. Our best hope is to give them good values and teach them to lead rather than to be led by others. We let our kids make as many decisions as possible that were non-life threatening. They decided what flavor ice cream they wanted or what to order from the children’s menu. They also had to live with that decision. We do the same thing with our high school soccer players. We teach them HOW to make good decisions on the field. They are in a much better position than us as coaches to make quick decisions during a game.
As a corporate manager, I can honestly say from personal experience that Americans are smart and creative. Other counties may also be creative. I just haven’t worked with them very much. I learned early on that once a goal was set, it was best to let my people decide HOW to achieve it. It didn’t matter whether it was a financial, operational or health safety & environmental goal. In some cases, we would sit down as a Team and brainstorm ideas and ways to solve a problem or achieve a goal.
At Shale Crescent USA, my responsibility is to make day to day marketing decisions that will help us to let the world know about our Region and bring high wage career type jobs here. When a decision involves a significant expense, the Executive Committee gets involved and we have a discussion. The final decision is always better than what a single individual could develop on their own. Our Executive Committee knows how to stay focused on the vision or goal.
I was back in Washington DC last week with Bob Miller, President of the Marshall County Commission. We met with high level people in the Department of Transportation, Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce. These meetings were a result of our White House meeting in July. Bob’s goal was to move an I-68 expansion from Morgantown to the Ohio Valley and on to I-77 forward. Shale Crescent USA’s role was to provide data to justify that expansion. All of the agencies were incredibly attentive, helpful and supportive, just like our White House meeting. Mr. Miller now has a guide of what needs to be done so that he can hopefully inspire the State and Local leaders of Ohio and West Virginia into action.
Shale Crescent USA’s role in DC was also to inform. We told the story of our cheap, abundant natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). We gave them the Executive Summary of the IHS study, released at this year’s World Petrochemical Conference, that said the Shale Crescent USA is now the most profitable place in the world to build a petrochemical plant. They knew we had a lot of natural gas. They did not know that the Shale Crescent USA was 30% of the US natural gas supply. They did not know that if Shale Crescent USA was a country, only the rest of the USA and Russia produce more natural gas. No one had put together Regional data. Our goal was not much different than my role as a manager, coach or parent. We wanted to give them the information they needed to make good decisions for our country and our region. The agencies got it! They told us about the national security, geopolitical and economic importance of what we told them. Hopefully they will act accordingly.
What does this mean for you? In your business do you make all of the decisions or do use the creativity and expertise of your people and let them decide the best ways to get a job done or achieve a goal? Do you take advantage of your people’s brainpower with brainstorming sessions to achieve big goals or solve tough problems? Are you a leader or a manager?
In business, on the athletic field, at home, or in our government we need to make sure people have the information they need to make good decisions. Sometimes they need a little coaching or leadership. Leadership isn’t about commanding it is about influence. Anyone can lead if they choose.
Thoughts to ponder.
Greg Kozera is the Director of Marketing for Shale Crescent USA www.shalecrescentusa.com . He has over 40 years of experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and the author of four books and numerous published articles.