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Working with Multicultural Crews

Working with Multi-Cultural Crews

One of the processes that we have had great success with is something we call the “Thirty-Word Challenge.” We start at thirty words. We take the expats, normally Supervisors, and challenge them to come up with a list of the thirty words that they believe their crew absolutely need to know. While they’re working on this list, we go to the National crews and ask them to come up with thirty words in their language that they absolutely want their leaders to know.

Would it surprise you that these two lists are rarely the same?

The lists from the ex-pats are generally focused on technical words, such as “blocks,” “slips,” “wrench.” The lists from multinational/multilingual workers tend to focus on relational and feeling words or phrases, such as “please,” “thank-you,” “Can you help me?” But the best part of this exercise is putting the two groups together and letting them compare their lists.

…Getting people to “communicate” is integral to safe and efficient operations. But communication is not always enabled by the same language and is not disabled by having multiple languages on a rig.”

This is an excerpt from my book ‘Commit to Safe and Efficient Operations’ you can get a copy here:

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Kris's Bio

After 20 years of working with clients involved in high-risk operations around the globe, Kris founded The Callen Group in April 2017 in order to focus solely on developing and promoting high-performing operational cultures that lead to safe and efficient operations.

He founded Performance Coaching International, served as president from 2005 – 2009, was Senior Vice President at The REACH Group from 2009 – 2017, and is a highly respected Senior Leadership and Safety Facilitator. In addition, he was highly involved in the mergers of Global Marine and SantaFe, Hercules, and TODCO as well as Talisman’s North Sea Operations transfer from Total. Kris remains on the cutting edge of advances in the area of behavioral safety, predominately in the Oil and Gas Sector.

Kris’ career has taken him to 90 countries training over 35,000 people. He has been intimately involved with the development and implementation of Behavioral Safety Processes with Enterprise Offshore, Orion Drilling, Hercules Offshore, as well as the former GlobalSantaFe which is now Transocean. In 2019 Kris authored the book “Commit to Safe and Efficient Operations” published by PennWell. This book outlines a clear roadmap for bringing many cultures together and simplifying the safety tools that are used day in and out.

Kris holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees from Belhaven University, Jackson Mississippi, in Accounting and in Business Administration. He is passionate about creating a performance culture where safety and efficiency go hand in hand. He currently divides his time between Lafayette, Louisiana, Tampa, Florida, and Houston, Texas, and has four grown sons: Braxton, Taylor, Joshua, and Noah.