Adapting to change brings success

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, once said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” The quote comes up frequently in the business world and is a reminder that how one reacts to constant change can lead to success — or challenges — at work.

As one of ConocoPhillips’ four Leadership Behaviors for Sustainable Change, leaders model adaptability by responding to changing priorities and driving practical, sustainable transformation. They deliver fit-for-purpose solutions based on a consideration of risks, pros, cons, tradeoffs, timing and available resources.

Two members of the Barossa FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading vessel) team define adaptability and the concept of fit-for-purpose and explain how they put these principles into action daily.

Zak headshot

All projects require the team to be adaptable to discoveries from engineering studies, to stakeholder requirements and to changing commercial constraints. In engineering, “fit-for-purpose” is a “justify-in” approach. You don’t just pick up the last project you did and replicate the design. You ask yourself and the whole team if you really need all the functionality that was packed into that former development for this new project. Robust conversations with business unit operations teams help us understand where functionality was really adding value and where it was “nice to have.”

— Zak Thomson, project/interface engineer, Houston

Brandi headshot

Adaptability is the ability to respond quickly to a changing set of circumstances. We work in a very dynamic industry, and if we are not able to adjust to changing conditions we will not often be successful. In addition, the highly integrated and iterative nature of our work means that we frequently work with incomplete data. We must build plans that allow us to incorporate learnings and take advantage of the opportunities and address the challenges that new information can provide.

Fit-for-purpose means seeking a solution that is appropriate to the problem in front of you and leaving behind a one-size-fits-all mentality. What has worked for us in the past may not be the best approach for today’s challenges. Adopting a fit-for-purpose mindset allows us to be creative and explore different ways of solving problems.

— Brandi Sellepack, project integration manager, Perth