Retired Shell Oil Co. President John Hofmeister took leadership at the highest levels in the United States to task and offered solutions to improve the current inadequacy at the fall PVF Roundtable meeting held at the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society Club in late October.
“CEO tenure is shrinking. We have enormous disrespect for elected officials across the country because we’re holding them accountable and they don’t want to be held accountable,” Hofmeister said in a video interview with Supply House Times at the conclusion of the meeting (watch the video at www.youtube.com/SupplyHouseTimesMag).
Hofmeister, who has a new book in the works titled “The Coherent Leader,” said today’s leadership model needs updating. “The 21st century is very different than the 20th century whether it’s corporate, government or institutional leadership or institutions such as universities and churches,” he explained. “There is an inadequate leadership model guiding our leaders today where they are not up to task. In this day and age we need leaders who think about the long term, medium term and short term simultaneously and I think we are falling short. Rather than just complain about leaders, how about offering them a leadership alternative-a model for the 21st century with all the complexities and degrees of difficulty we face in this century that are different than the last century.”
1. Values and behaviors. “Leadership starts at every level with values and behaviors. It always has and always will. When you have disconnects, you have problems.”
2. Understanding context. “It’s critical to be aware of not only what is at the center, but what is happening on the fringes.”
3. Balancing the emotional, spiritual and mental components of life at the top.
4. Cognitive capacity. “A leader can be smart and intelligent and well-read, but go beyond that and think in parallel terms, incorporate values and behaviors and make decisions.”
5. Time span of horizon. “Balance the short term, medium term and long term and develop a track record of accomplishment. When the president can’t deal with the legislature, things can’t get done. Leaders of corporations who can’t get things done can’t stay on the job.”
6. Relationship orientation. “People matter.”
Prior to getting into the meat of his keynote speech on leadership, Hofmeister expressed concern over aging fuel infrastructure in the wake of the damage Hurricane Sandy caused on the East Coast.
“There is a significant amount of refined product that goes to New England and the mid-Atlantic area that comes from outside the country,” he said. “While the population of the mid-Atlantic and New England has more than doubled the last 50 years, no new refineries have been built. We have twice the population now living off that older infrastructure.”
The fall PVF Roundtable meeting again drew a packed house to H.E.S.S. Club. New PVF Roundtable members include Lenco, Chevron, UPC Interpipe, Viar Piping and National Specialty Alloys.
The first PVF Roundtable of 2013 will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19 in Houston. For more on PVF Roundtable, visit www.pvf.org.