Winter 2020

A new sense of purpose for the James Fisher group

Throughout 2020, executives and division heads within the James Fisher group have been involved in a group-wide exercise to identify a ‘purpose statement’ to bring the operating companies together within one framework, and to provide a renewed, shared sense of direction going forward.  

This initiative set out to find a way the group could identify a common ‘purpose’ to act as a ‘North Star’, which would define the core guiding behaviours to support the successful growth and impact of the group, and create a happy, positive, high-performing culture now and into the future. 

CEO Eoghan O’Lionaird explains:

Many of the operating companies within the James Fisher group have their own sets of values. This individuality certainly contributes to our strength as a group, so rather than aiming to replace or supersede any already established values, the intention is to use this quest to define a common purpose to act as a glue to bind us. 

‘Ultimately, the ambition is to build belief and alignment behind a shared purpose and set of core behaviours, and have engaged, action-focussed debate and discussion around what it means to be purpose led within each operating company,’ he adds.   

To this end, executives and division heads got together for workshops throughout the year, working to refine the purpose-led process. This culminated in a senior leadership conference in October and the creation of the James Fisher purpose statement:  

Pioneering safe and trusted solutions to complex problems in harsh environments to create a sustainable future. 

 
The statement encapsulates four key areas: 
 
  • Pioneering – James Fisher is a group of niche businesses working at the leading edge, and being entrepreneurial is in the group’s DNA and an important part of its heritage 
  • Safe and trusted solutions – Safety is at the forefront of everything the group companies do, and it underpins the group’s reputation for quality, plus the stake holders trust and rely on the group companies to deliver consistent results 
  • Complex problems in harsh environments – James Fisher companies specialise in solving complex challenges, taking on projects that others are not willing or able to do (usually in difficult environments which require expertise and resilience)  
  • To create a sustainable future – working towards improving the status quo, and supporting the transition to a cleaner, safer, more sustainable world in which all stakeholders succeed 

Eoghan explains:

We have a long and proud heritage of innovation and endeavour, delivering unique solutions to some of the most demanding operational and technical challenges around the globe. 

In partnership with our customers we tackle the toughest problems, delivering energy safely and reliably, developing life-saving equipment and securing critical infrastructure on land and at sea, supporting a sustainable future 

A diverse group of businesses and people, we are united by our shared purpose, and our valued behaviours: pioneering spirit, integrity, energy and resilience, which guide how we work with each other and with our stakeholders.’ 

We aspire to be an exceptional place to work, have fair and trusted relationships with customers and suppliers, support communities to grow, protect and restore the environment and generate sustainable returns for investors.  

With this purpose statement, the hope is that the James Fisher group can start to think of itself as a ‘purpose led’ company. The idea is that the defined values will drive action - guiding and growing behaviours, mindsets and ideas that propel the business forwards, faster and more effectively in the pursuit of a common purpose. 

The James Fisher purpose statement will also act as the basis for the building metrics and performance objectives that drive an aligned, motivated workforce, and to put an increased emphasis on developing fair and trusted relationships.  

The process is designed to help the group grow a stronger sense of identity, to reinforce positive dynamics both at the individual and team level, and enhance the ability to attract, retain the best people, and offer high quality careers and leadership progression.  

Right now, the management teams are reviewing the collective feedback and building this into the planning for the next phase, which will focus on building understanding, alignment and action behind the stated purpose and the group’s new strategy. It is hoped that being purpose-led will inspire longer term actions, investment and innovation to create new opportunities and open up new markets in the future.  

It is when we start to begin ‘living’ our purpose, and taking actions, both big and small, that we will begin our transition to becoming an even more successful, inspiring and excellent place to work,’ says Eoghan 

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