In the United States, we each express our patriotism uniquely according to our political identity and values. While the results of last week’s election will continue to unfold for weeks to come, the election offers American oil and gas leaders an urgent opportunity to express our unique patriotism — by leading the country in this moment of uncertainty toward the energy future we all want.
Political commentators are predicting that the close election results and slowly unfolding legal dramas will drive even more cultural polarization and political partisanship. That political partisans — their eyes already on the next election cycle — will inflict gridlock to paralyze progress in the name of preventing a “win” for the other side.
Those predictions will come true — in the absence of strong civic leadership. And in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis, more paralysis would be disastrous for our country, the world, and oil and gas.
As America’s oil and gas leaders, we cannot let that happen.
We must do our part to lead our country back to the middle ground.
And we are perfectly positioned to lead. Not only because we are in the middle of a hotly contested political arena — energy, the environment, and climate.
We lead because leadership is the natural position of oil and gas.
Our leadership will show the way for our companies, our employees, our stakeholders, and our country.
We will lead by example on how civility, collaboration, and compromise can and must become the new order.
And we will expand our civic leadership by proactively engaging in another key societal arena — addressing racial equity and justice — as we build bridges that transcend political divides.
This leadership is in our industry’s DNA. We only need take it up again — choose it again, now, when it is needed most.
Both of these things are true:
- In the absence of leadership, deepening partisan polarization and gridlock will unfold.
- Oil and gas leadership can break the logjam, taking the first step into the arena of civility and collaboration.
Some among us will choose to celebrate divided, gridlocked government as a reprieve from the
massive demographic and public opinion disruptors underway. That celebration would not only be short-sighted, but foolhardy.
As I’ve documented in countless editions of Both True as well as in The Gamechanger’s Playbook, federal policy is only one, tiny area relevant to the existential disruptions at play for the oil and gas industry. Public opinion, investor expectations, state regulation, and community skepticism are on a directional march prioritizing climate as well as racial equity and justice.
A step forward now is required. Waiting until asked, or forced, weakens our leadership opportunity.
It matters because:
The specter of a divided, impotent America is too disheartening. We have it within our power to lead through our words and deeds.
The mistakes we make:
We have all watched the election results unfold through our own political and personal lenses. Many have sighed in relief that the blue tsunami did not come to pass. Others are celebrating an unexpected strong showing among conservatives.
None of that matters now.
Individuals and organizations who embrace gridlock and partisanship will both miss the opportunity to lead and only delay facing the increasing existential risks to our industry.
Seize the day:
All my recommendations of 2020 still apply, and I add one more: You must make the first move toward leadership today.
- Convey your patriotism in inclusive ways. Oil and gas leaders become civic leaders when they convey their vision for a united, collaborative country.
- Articulate shared values. Now is the moment to express shared values for a shared future. Those values can and should include political unity, addressing climate change, and creating an equal and just society.
- Strategize your first moves. Leadership requires making the first move. Your company should think about how it will reach out to build civic bridges — at the federal level and within your operating region. Think about forging new collaborations to address your environmental footprint, targets for emissions reductions, and gaps in racial equity.
- Get specific soon. In the next year we will have a unique opportunity to build bipartisan consensus on common-sense oil and gas regulation. Consider how you can support methane regulation, a price on carbon, and federal R&D. Common-sense first steps at a federal level will create common ground and prevent a wild pendulum swing in the future.
Three ways we can help each other:
- Adamantine Energy is collaborating with game-changing leaders across the oil and gas industry. Reach out to my team at Adamantine to accelerate your company’s leadership strategy.
- You can contact Lindsey to order The Gamechanger’s Playbook for your leadership team.
- Hit reply and let me know the strategic moves you as a leader are making to address the disruptors that transcend election politics.
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