JBS photo - 10-14

About John Stevens 

Nearly 50 years practicing, studying, and WRITING ABOUT leadership and teamwork

During John’s 45-year career, his management style has been one of building teams to bring competent people together to focus on a common objective.

For several recent years John has been a coach himself, helping mostly small business owners improve the efficiency of their operations. He helped them clearly communicate their mission to their employees and encourage the employees to think about how their work relates to the company’s mission.

Wiggins Airways provides small-aircraft “feeder” support for major air freight companies. John was Chief Pilot for Wiggins for 2-1/2 years. As he started this assignment, he was faced with a low-morale group of 55 pilots with a dismal performance record. Over a few years’ time he helped them become a top-performing enthusiastic team. A union movement among these pilots simply evaporated as a result of the morale improvement. The on-time performance and safety record of the pilot team improved greatly as communication and teamwork reigned.

John served as V. P., Technical Services at VICO Indonesia, a major independent gas and oil exploration and production company in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. He focused on assembling multi-disciplinary teams to design the exploitation of the company’s geologically complicated gas fields. This greatly enhanced the communication among these disciplines and resulted in improved efficiency in developing these complex fields.

Later, as Operations Manager, John worked to coordinate the efforts of the drilling, production, pipeline, and engineering departments in the front-line operation of these same fields. During his time as Operations Manager, the fields’ production exceeded budget at under-budget costs, with a safety record much improved over earlier operations. These departments included over 600 employees and hundreds of contract personnel.

There’s an interesting little side story to this phase in John’s career.

Early in this stint as Operations Manager, John became acutely aware that his two largest departments were not communicating and cooperating well with each other. The Drilling Manager was a late-in-career, gruff, tough-talking Texan, and the Production Manager was a bright young Indonesian. As one might expect they, and therefore their departments, were “on different sheets of music”.

John quickly recognized that their cooperation with each other was vital to efficient operation and that it wasn’t happening. He invited the two managers to his office one afternoon and explained to them that, in the Company’s sole purpose of putting gas in the pipeline:

    • Each department is vitally important to the operation,
    • Neither is more important than the other, and
    • They must cooperate with each other and work as a team.

He said, “We’re going to make that happen – understand?”

John began working with the two managers and other key people in their departments. He helped each see the other’s issues. He coached them on communication and cooperation. Gradually he began to see improvement.

John woke up one morning a few months later and noted the improvement  He said to himself, “Wow! This is where I belong in the business world – helping teams work as teams.”

Since then, all of John’s work has been dedicated to practicing and studying leadership and team-building. Currently John is inseparably linked with the business coaching industry.

Along the way, John has regularly written about his observations of human behavior, and how people can improve the results of their efforts in life and business. Check out some of his articles hereJohn is now publishing a weekly newsletter on similar topics. To receive it, you can sign up here.

John has held various management positions spanning the aviation, oil and gas, and real estate industries. His approach has similarly been characterized by a focus on bringing people together in focused efforts. With  this focus, the team performance becomes greater than the sum of the individuals’ contributions.

With this background, John is ready to do your promotional copywriting. He understands the work you do to help your clients improve their businesses. He’s passionate about improving relationships, teamwork and leadership in business. 

So call John to discuss your writing project . Maybe it’s an e-newsletter (he specializes in writing e-newsletters), white paper, case study, blog, or even a book, which he’ll ghost-write for you.

There will be no charge or obligation while you and John discuss your project and see if it’s a good fit for you to work together. You won’t pay him a dime until you hire him to write something for you.

In his personal pursuits, John enjoys people, golf, sports car racing, physical exercise, pool. Of these, people are the most important part of each area of interest. Who he plays golf with is much more important to him than how well he plays, or who wins – winning is important, but it’s not what makes the experience. The social aspect of the game is much more important to him.

John remembers thinking, early in his career, “People are so difficult – machines are much more predictable – turn ’em on, turn ’em off, they mostly do what you tell them to do. I’d really rather not deal with people”. Now, 50 years later, people are the most important and enjoyable aspect of his life, and his work.