I confess to being a binge-caliber fan of AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’, continuing even now through its prequel, ‘Better Call Saul’ which explores James ‘Jimmy’ Morgan McGill (known to Breaking Bad fans as Saul Goodman) and the challenges encountered in his early years. Without divulging the colorful detail, Jimmy is court-ordered to remove a new, high-visibility billboard campaign that copies his nemesis’ look and trademarked color, ‘Hamlindigo Blue’. Jimmy creates an even higher visibility local news phenomenon by adhering to the ruling, flipping a potentially devastating financial loss into a simultaneous windfall of exposure, opportunity, competitive ‘thumb in the eye’, and professional rebranding as a ‘Hero’ for the people. It’s with this mindset of advantage from challenge that I read NPR’s article, ‘As Oil Prices Tank, Firms Large And Small Feel The Pain’ and asked; “What would Saul do?”.
Oil prices cut in half within six months have resulted in an industry-wide, laser-focus on cost cutting and operational savings. CEO Gary Evans of Magnum Hunter Resources, is succinct; “We’ve had over a 50 percent drop in commodity prices, so we’ve got to have a bigger drop in service costs.”
Mitratech clients include the world’s largest energy firms and based on our conversations, many are viewing this challenge through ‘Saul-colored glasses’ as an opportunity to improve efficiencies, rethinking operational best practices, while externally assessing how and with whom to maximize collaboration to drive hard-dollar savings.
The Williams Companies exemplifies Jimmy’s (aka Saul’s) approach in its study, ‘Doing (Much) More with Less’. During a similar market downturn, Williams’ legal department was directed to increase internal services, dramatically reduce its budget including headcount (by 40%) while cutting spend on outside legal services. Individually these are tough – combined, they represented a challenge juggernaut.
Williams flipped challenge to legal advantage with the assistance of TeamConnect, automating processes, ensuring regulatory compliance and controlling finances. Additionally, Williams’ legal department assumed managerial oversight of five other groups, including Compliance, Ethics, Enterprise Security, Records Management, Contract Management, and Corporate Environmental Health & Safety.
When asked what was needed from its solution to flip challenge to opportunity, The Williams Companies’ Legal Business Manager, Danette Gallatin responds with; “cutting edge from a technical perspective, intuitive enough to ensure user adoption, and customizable enough to keep pace with the changing needs of our clients and partners.” Gallatin concludes; “We knew what we wanted the system to do for us going in. But what’s especially helpful is knowing that we can adapt the system to meet any new or revised internal or regulatory measures down the road.”
As you face departmental budget, service level and operational challenges, we welcome your feedback and insights as your consider Williams’ story and ask yourself; “What would Saul do?”.