NOV's David Reid Talks Survival at Oil, Gas Conference

David Reid, chief marketing officer for National Oilwell Varco (NOV), encouraged oil and gas leaders to “survive and strive” during the industry downturn at the 2015 Best Practices for Oil and Gas Conference Thursday morning.

While delivering his keynote, Reid said he personally loves downturns.

“I love them because we get serious about what we’re doing. We get focused. And people hear great ideas and have great ideas,” he said.

During downturns, companies go into survival mode, but striving takes a little bit more.

“The problem with thinking ‘let’s just work really hard and develop our skills and we’ll do better,’ is that if you truly want to make a difference in work, it starts with inside you,” Reid said. “Controlling others is nothing; the hard work is controlling yourself – how you tackle problems, how you behave is the hard work. That’s where you strive. You have to choose that you’re going to push through all the hard obstacles.”

Reid also shared characteristics of good leaders.

“If you want to do great things in life, do not use people to get things done. If you’re in the people-growing business, use the job to grow the person,” he said. “Give [employees] experiences they need, not because they’re going to be great starting off, but because they’re going to become great.”

Bosses who are interested in personal growth of their employees will earn the employees’ loyalty, said Reid.

Downturns can also reveal good (or bad) leaders.

Reid said he’s heard leaders say layoffs allowed their companies to get rid of employees who aren’t great performers.

“That’s just wrong,” he said. “That means you’re a bad manager because you should have dealt with the non-performers some other time. Layoffs is not the time for that.”

Rather the culture of layoffs should involve leaders telling all employees how good they are, but unfortunately the layoffs are part of the company’s survival.

“The best scenario I’ve ever been in was when I saw a cycle of layoffs where almost everyone who was laid off came back,” he said. “That’s healthy. Now you’re growing people. But you have to feel that pain. It should hurt. If it doesn’t hurt, something is wrong with you.”


Valerie is an experienced writer and editor dedicated to providing useful and relevant career news about the oil and gas industry. Email Valerie at


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