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Attitude is everything

I was at our local grocery store this week and saw Rick, one of my former employees from over 25 years ago when I was a Regional Manager. Rick used to drive truck for me. He was a good worker and a friend. Rick has been retired for several years and took this part time job as a stocker to have something to do. I always appreciated the blunt honesty of Rick and the other people who worked for me in West Virginia. It wasn’t always what I wanted to hear, but it was the truth as they saw it. We can always make better decisions if we are working with truth. My people were willing to admit if they made a mistake. This saved a lot of time and we could then work together and fix the problem.

Rick and I talked about the people we both knew and how they we doing. We laughed about some old times. He still remembers with pride how we went from a facility with one of the worst safety records in the company to one of the best. Our walls were full of safe working and safe driving rewards by the time I was transferred and Rick left the company.

When I took the job of Regional Manager, my people told me, because of the hilly terrain and narrow roads, accidents and injuries were inevitable. As a young manager, I believed them until we had a fatal accident. One of our men was driving too fast on a sharp curve and rolled the truck. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. I had to go to his house and tell his wife and young boys he wouldn’t be coming home. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

As far as I was concerned it was all the driver’s fault. He was driving too fast and he violated the company policy to wear a seatbelt. My boss, the Division Manager didn’t see it that way. He exploded and said, “The safety of those men is your responsibility!” I was upset and totally disagreed with my boss. Then I thought, “If I am responsible, what can I do to make a change.” I had to change my attitude about safety from “accidents are inevitable” to one of, “Every accident and injury is preventable.” As the leader until I changed my thinking and attitude, I could not expect the attitude of my people to change. This wasn’t easy.

What Rick did not know is how we became so safety focused. When my attitude changed the attitude of my leadership team changed. We began to set an example for our people to show we were serious about their safety. The change in attitude moved down to the front-line supervisors and ultimately to drivers like Rick. The rare accident or injury became the exception not the norm as it had been. The walls of our facilities began to fill with safety awards. It was a Team effort. It all started when I, as the leader, changed my attitude. People will reflect the attitude of the leader. What I didn’t expected was as our safety record improved so did our profitability.

What this means for those in leadership positions is everything starts with your attitude as the leader. People will reflect your attitude good or bad. We live in a negative world. As leaders, it is not easy to stay positive but it is essential. How to stay positive is for a future article.

The natural gas industry in the Shale Crescent USA Region has a positive attitude. It has led to positive results USA consumers. Since 2008, 85 percent of all new USA natural gas production comes from Shale Crescent USA. This has lowered natural gas costs for all US consumers.

Next week Shale Crescent USA will release the results of a new study done in conjunction with the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, another non- profit organization, on energy savings to American end-users. All Americans have benefited with billions of dollars in savings. The savings are not just from heating or power generation. Since natural gas is feed stock for petrochemicals it impacts the cost of thousands of products we use every hour of the day.

Lower natural gas costs also have a positive environmental impact. USA carbon dioxide emissions are down 14 percent since 2000. Most of this decrease happened in the last 10 years. What this means is increasing natural gas production has given American consumers lower energy costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions. If carbon dioxide is a problem, the USA has a solution that doesn’t require higher utility costs and restricted electric availability like the Green New Deal.

World carbon dioxide is up 43 percent since 2000 and is continuing to increase despite USA reductions. Unless other nations, particularly in Asia, start reducing carbon dioxide emissions anything the USA does is meaningless. We now have a solution we can sell to the world. We can show world leaders how to lower their energy costs using natural gas. This will help consumers in their country. One of the side benefits is lower farbon dioxide and other emissions benefiting their people and the planet.

Will environmental groups and politicians who have claimed fossil fuels are the problem for decades be willing to admit there may be a solution to the problem they haven’t considered? Are they willing to be real leaders and do what my staff and I did years ago and change their attitude? Great leaders know they don’t have all of the answers. It depends on how serious they are about solving what they believe is a problem.

I’m glad my boss got my attention. It made a difference in a lot of lives including Rick’s. Attitude is everything. Keep yours positive.

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Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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