Monthly Archives: January 2013

Plan to Leverage Lower Cost Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids — Part 1

“Something’s happening here……..”

And as the Buffalo Springfield song goes… what it is ain’t exactly clear. So what’s happening?

We are on the verge of a significant change in the availability of lower cost energy in the United States. The growth of the natural gas and oil industry in America and Canada has the potential to
lead us into a new industrial resurgence if not a revolution. Along with natural gas there are abundant other natural gas liquids such as ethane and propane that will be produced and processed in the US, specifically in the Northeast.

The significance of these liquids may not be exactly clear to you, and I would suspect the same with most individuals living in North America. In a few years, once the infrastructure is in place to transport and process these liquids, it will allow our country to return to a model of lower cost manufacturing. Any process, product or service that uses polyethylene, plastics, specialty chemicals, fertilizers and the like will be impacted in a positive way.

So let me get to the point of this blog. While it isn’t exactly clear when, what and where this will occur it is abundantly clear that many opportunities will present themselves to you and your business if you are prepared to take advantage of them. Conversely, the availability of low cost energy and petrochemical feedstock can present a threat to your business if your competition plans and executes a strategy to leverage these changes and enter your market. The good news is that you have time to plan as the abundance of gas and associated liquids will not be able to fully get to market until the necessary infrastructure is in place. This will take anywhere from one to five years.

Regardless of your emotional feelings or environmental position relative to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, as it is commonly referred to, increased natural gas production in North America is going to happen. As you and your executive team update your SWOT analysis and strategic plans, take these changes into account.

Something is happening here and one thing is exactly clear. Many businesses and organizations will benefit from this energy boom if they plan and execute properly. Follow my blog over the next few weeks if you want to learn more about the soon-to-be-changing manufacturing landscape in the US and Canada. Also I will be sharing some surprising facts about the positive impact the abundance of low cost natural gas is already having on our environment. Feel free to drop me an email with any specific questions you have.

In the meantime everybody look what’s going ’round.

Leading Change… Through the Valley of Despair

“You know you make me wanna shout”……!

Throw my hands up and shout “NO MORE CHANGE.” Has your organization become weary of change as a result of your efforts to grow and sustain your business in a difficult economy? Likely you are not alone as these are trying times for any company. Let me take a few minutes to introduce you to a tool that will enable you to manage your team through the many emotions of change.

Change Management - the emotions of change.

As depicted above there are eight emotions of change you and members of your team must help everyone in your organization through.

First: Shock and Surprise, “Why this, why now?” People typically resist any attempt at change out of fear of the unknown……a little bit louder now.

Second: Denial, “No way, this too will go away, you just watch.” If your organization has a history of poor follow through your team may feel they can ignore your efforts again……a little bit louder now.

Third: Anger, “OK I am getting really mad. I just got good at the old way of doing things”……a little bit louder now.

Fourth: Negotiation, “Hey I’m special. I’m going to cut a special deal for myself.” Some team members will likely attempt to just let everyone else go through this. “After all boss this doesn’t really apply to me anyhow.” ……a little bit louder now.

Fifth: Depression, the valley of despair, “I hate change.” This emotion can be very debilitating to your team as well as your initiative……a little bit louder now.

Sixth: Evaluation, “Other people are going along. At least, I should study this for myself.” Make sure you have taken time to communicate why change is important and what is in it for your team members……a little bit softer now.

Seventh: Trial, “What the heck, I might as well give it a try.” If you have done a good job telling them why the change is necessary they will at least give it a shot ……a little bit softer now.

And finally… Commitment: “Hey this isn’t so bad. I can get behind it.” Your job as a leadership team is to get your entire organization to commit to making this change a successful effort as soon as possible……a little bit softer now.

As leaders the sooner you take your team through these eight emotions and gain commitment, the better the chance you have of getting them on board. Every team member will likely move at a different speed through the curve and it will take individual attention and conversations with most team members. Sharing success stories of how well some team members have benefitted from change will help.

When, not if, someone gets stuck at denial, anger or negotiation you must address the issue quickly as it is imperative you move them on. If it is not possible to resolve their individual concern they, and you, may have to consider other alternatives. Failure by you or your team to address issues at this point, or giving in at the “Negotiate a deal for myself stage,” will undermine the importance of the change you are trying to implement as well as your own credibility.

Lastly take time to recognize your organization’s ability to adapt to change in these difficult economic times.

Don’t forget to say you will……yeah, yeah.