The Amazing Power of Teamwork

I drove up to Sacramento yesterday to join about 25 colleagues, most now alumni from Global Energy Decisions, at lunch to celebrate a new job for Hind Farag who is joining Wood Mackenzie after a short stint at CERA. She is an extraordinarily talented woman—one of my best hires, without question, at GED. She will be working for George Given at WoodMac just as she did at Global Energy. They will once again make a great team.

These ritual luncheons to mark professional transitions have turned from bittersweet to celebratory. They are driven by the continuing collegiality among a group of people who dedicated themselves to building world class energy advisory products and then using them to successfully help clients turn their energy strategies into actionable results. They celebrate what we all once had together as well as successful transitions to what we each now do separately.

These luncheons are, in part, completing the process of grieving the loss of what we all worked so hard to build only to see it wrenched away in the crude process of M&A. But they are more than that. They are joyful not maudlin, full of optimism not anger. They renew our spirit and remind us of all we learned about ourselves as well as teamwork from our experience.

This message is not about the unintended consequences of M&A, it is about something more important. It is about the amazing power of teamwork. It is about the ability each manager has to ‘do good’ for his team while ‘doing well’ for his company. It is about savoring and learning from those rare but precious experiences of being in a job, at a time, and with people that make us feel self-confident, and challenge us to grow as fast as we can and go as far as we can. And—it is about giving each person you hire that same pure and perfect experience, as true as the North Star, to guide their own growth as professionals, managers and leaders.

As I looked at the faces sitting around that table over lunch, I received again one of my most satisfying rewards. For me it is the satisfaction of giving some eager kid right out of school the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of his chosen field and seeing him thrive and grow into a skilled professional at the steady hand of a good mentor with whom you team him. It is the satisfaction of having recruited skilled people like Hind who had grown as an individual contributor and then watch her blossom as a mentor, team leader. It is taking a mentor or young manager and challenging her to build a new team better than the one she just flourished in herself—and seeing it happen right before your eyes as each rose to every new challenge.

This band of Global Energy Advisors was more than good. At a time when the world was full of conflict and chaos, ethnic strife and global suspicion, we led by example building a team of such rich ethnic, religious, national, and cultural diversity and collegiality that our business truly lived into its name “global” energy advisors. I believe my most lasting and profound professional contribution will be igniting the personal growth and nurturing the early professional success of people like this group of talented people who called themselves Global Energy Advisors.

I am extraordinarily proud of each of them.