Communication is key to any companies success. In an office, or business setting its pretty easy- you’ve got your traditional email and the face to face meetings. But imagine if you are running a company where a percentage of your employees are on the high seas? Tankers which range from two to four and a half football fields in length are always on the move and immediacy of information is critical. I found it interesting how Peter Evensen, CEO of Teekay Corporation (NYSE- TK) is using the power of social media not only get information out quickly to his staff but how he has encouraged the breaking down of the traditional hierarchy in communication.
The following is an excerpt from “Dynasties of the Sea”- any reproduction must be given the approval of Marine Money International
Long before Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point was released, Evensen learned to value social networks. This realization came while he was conducting an interview with a 22-year-old candidate in the mid-’90s who was telling him that he knew someone who could help him. “I was thinking to myself, ‘How could he think that he could help me? He was just starting out. What kind of value could he provide?’ Then I realized he was a ‘networker’ and I thought about it some more and realized what he was saying. If you ever think you can’t learn from people, you’re wrong. The quality of relationships in a network, no matter the age of an individual, can provide value.”
One way Evensen tries to encourage such networking is through social media. Teekay invested in and rolled out Yammer, which he describes as an internal Facebook where employees can share ideas, interact and ask questions. “Not only is it a great way to keep connected, it’s an employee retention tool as well. The young people immediately got it, but the older people at first, with some exceptions, did not get it, because it broke down the traditional hierarchy of communication.” The immediacy of such communication is important to Teekay, Evensen said. “We need to critically build out our internal and external communications.”