Dec 21, 2018
When I was first exposed to the concepts behind our methodology here at JMJ, I thought to myself, “Wow, I think, maybe, this kind of approach could end wars.”
After all, the Principles of Transformation and the work we do in terms of making seemingly impossible things happen are fundamentally about the language we use, and how we communicate with that language. It sounded to me that, if done in an empowering way, you could create peace where it might have seemed impossible.
It’s plausible that people really listening to each other and committing, together, to create peace is what ends conflict, right?
Recently, we wrote a case study about JMJ’s work on the Chevron Escravos Gas to Liquid project (EGTL) in Nigeria.
That case study is available here.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to mast our sails too high and take too much credit. Many factors came into play to make this project one of the most successful large capital projects in our history. It’s really the work our clients did that made this possible.
The thing is, though, this level of safety accomplished at the mega level was certainly not likely. This was far from ideal geographical or cultural terrain.
They were digging in swamps. Plus, they were working with, at times, total inexperience in many positions, and a work staff drawn from tribes who, just a few years prior, were in deep conflict among each other.
Chevron’s Project Manager Michael Kraly told me this:
I find it challenging to describe Nigeria. I’ve worked in developing countries around the world—complex and challenging environments. I’ve always been able to get my feet on the ground in three months. In Nigeria, it took me about 15 months. It’s a complex environment given the high unemployment and inadequate manpower. For us to create this sort of an environment where people are happy to come to work is no small feat.
A fantastic result for the EGTL project, and what really captivated me about their story was that, in fact, the tribes were applying the tools they were using in the Incident and Injury-Free® (IIF®) approach to actually settle confrontation and improve relationships among each other OUTSIDE OF WORK.
I’m not saying the conditions there are perfect now and all problems have been solved. Also, my point of view does not come from first-hand experience, but as told to me through one-on-one interviews. Still, if Nigerian tribes who have held long term, sometimes violent disputes are using these tools to create peace, perhaps my original thought that our Transformational practices could end wars may not be so far-fetched.