How do you emerge from bankruptcy a better company than before?
New leadership of a privately held oil and gas company in the Gulf of Mexico was challenged to expertly navigate the company through Chapter 11 and a complex restructuring. Compounding the situation, the company needed to reinvent itself starting with its name, its visual and cultural identity and its approach to safety. The workforce needed to be convinced that the emerging company would be strong, committed and completely different from the original company, which had experienced a successful, yet tumultuous past.
The Human Approach
Every aspect of their identity and commitment to their people was rethought. They chose a comprehensive redesign of their interactions, their spaces, their safety and their culture. And, with a fresh start, came a new name and brand. Twenty-five degrees north latitude, or “quarter” north, runs directly through the Gulf of Mexico. This was the inspiration for the name, QuarterNorth Energy, since the Gulf is where they concentrate their work and it is literally their backyard. The brand colors were derived from their work environment as well—deep sea blue and sunset orange. The 25 degree mark is a key component in the brand system (every platform has it printed on their helipad, positioned to point directly north) and is the framework for their TrueNorth integrated safety and cultural model.
Brand Identity Aligned with Culture
The name drove the visual identity. The cultural identity was crafted from an aligned vision and foundational cultural elements, including an acronym (NORTH) that humanized their shared values. Every word was considered and defined. The expectations were set for what the company could and must become. The work extended far beyond the traditional office spaces. They were intentional about infusing their spaces with their expectations around culture, safety and how the company works in new and different ways. This manifested in newly designed experiences and workspaces everywhere the QuarterNorth team works—from the Houston and Lafayette offices, to all their assets in the Gulf.
Our team of behavioral scientists, safety experts and communications specialists collaborated with QuarterNorth to bring together all the different parts of their regulatory and safety management system and combine it with their cultural and brand elements to create one of the most innovative and integrated models for safety in the industry: TrueNorth. It creates context that speaks to the team as well as the individual in a holistically human way. More than simply words or edicts, it sets clear behavioral expectations of what it means to work and be safe.
Every aspect of how the company talked about and encouraged and recognized safe behavior became part of the change. The internal champions, “Northers”, became the internal drivers of TrueNorth as they drove change through their commitment and actions.
The Lasting Change
We helped QuarterNorth dramatically transform the culture from one of inconsistent to consistent performance, from fear to high engagement and the culture from compliant to committed. Employees are reconnected with the desired future state and expectations around safety, with every level of the organization espousing their shared vision, values and habits. The people have taken ownership of the culture and everything related to safety. They are believers and the heartbeat of what it means to work and live safely. They are flush with volunteers who want to be “Northers” to help drive the culture, and there is dramatically improved safety performance with a recent TRIR of 0.15. And, the brand image, redesigned experience and cultural engagement have positioned the company in a way that has made their transition not only visible, but enviable.