Sandy Carter, Vice President of Amazon Web Services, includes a footnote on her business emails that reads: “TRULY HUMAN NOTICE: Getting this email out of normal working hours? We work at a digitally-enabled relentless pace, which can disrupt our ability to sleep enough, eat right, exercise, and spend time with the people that matter most. I am sending you this email at a time that works for me. I only expect you to respond to it when convenient to you.”
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I hope you work with one or two Sandy Carters in your business! Tonight I’m writing this column at 8pm, as well as answering emails and sending notes to colleagues. Our household is isolating out of precaution, following recent contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, so today I cared for two little ones and kept an eye on my email, doing the best I could at both things. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a supportive team at World Pipelines and at home, and to be enabled by a whole world of technology so that most bits of my job can be performed from my kitchen table. In an ‘always on’ world, as has often been the case during the pandemic (and for many years before that for a lot of people), having sympathetic, communicative and team-playing colleagues goes a long way (thanks Aimee and Calli).
Being truly human at work is important. This issue includes a story from front cover advertiser NOV (p. 15). The article hinges on the story of the sale of NOV’s one millionth closure, as told by four key members of staff. The millionth sale is an impressive achievement, but the piece is really about hearing from Amber, Ed, Kerke and Sherry as they lead the reader through the story. They help map out the values and ambitions that belong to the company and its staff, and it’s a nice way to understand how things work at NOV. There’s another relationship story in this month’s issue, on p. 19. The article outlines the working relationship between Vacuworx and some of its vacuum lifting ‘super users’, which include Welspun Corp Ltd. “In a typical year, Welspun clocks approximately 6000 hours handling pipe using the RC Series attachments the company owns at its Little Rock plant alone.” The strong relationship between the vendor and the customer in this instance helped during testing for Vacuworx’s newly designed RC Series lifters, since Welspun could offer constructive feedback and help direct any re-engineering work necessary to the technology. P.I.T. Pipe, another vacuum lifting super user, was also able to help, at its own facilities in North Carolina. The article highlights the impact of in-person relationships and consistent communication that fosters an environment in which ideas can be shared and concerns may be addressed in near real-time.
My hope is that in-person relationships in the pipeline industry will be able to flourish again soon, with the return of conferences and exhibitions where we can all meet face to face, share an elbow bump and continue to grow those friendships and working partnerships that make the pipeline industry so special.
In the meantime, please continue to make your voice heard in the World Pipelines virtual community: say hi on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, and consider signing up for our online conference in October – OpTech 2021 – which will offer expert guidance on operational technology, servicing and maintenance for pipelines, as well as networking opportunities (worldpipelines.com/optech2021). Or write for me! Think about a pipeline story you could tell, send me a short pitch at firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise I’ll let you write it at your own pace, at a time that suits you best. Get your unique, truly human voice out there!