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Scott Nicol - Performance Manager

Man in white shirt standing and smiling at camera

Scott, you started with Total (as it was then) back in 2007. Tell us about your career journey with us in that time.

I started as a Graduate Engineer in the Exploration & Production business and spent the first three years on a Graduate Training Programme, completing a series of 6-month rotational placements in Telecoms, Projects & Engineering, HSE and Operations, as well as offshore.

After building up an understanding of the business and our operations, I moved to a permanent role as Telecoms Engineer and then Senior Telecoms Engineer. My focus was to ensure all onshore and offshore communication systems were fit for purpose, operated as per design, and met company rules and external regulations.

I developed an appetite for project management, so I moved to the role of Information Systems (IS) Business Lead which is sort of like an account manager responsible for all aspects of IS in an operational area, for example, the West of Shetland and then latterly Northern North Sea.

Whilst in this role, I developed a real hunger for running improvement projects. I started my LEAN Six Sigma journey which grew into running projects for multiple disciplines – not just IS. From there I moved to the Continuous Improvement Lead role in the Strategy & Business function which mostly involved leading continuous improvement activities for the Exploration & Production business in the UK. I am now Performance Manager so it’s been quite a journey since I started.

I feel at TotalEnergies, if you want to develop in a particular area, there is always an opportunity for exposure to that area, whether that be via a project or a career move. I have had two notable shifts in my career…from a technical role to a project management role and more recently to a transverse business role.

What does your role as Performance Manager involve?

I work with a great team to deliver improvement projects for the business. In its simplest form, we measure business performance, find gaps or areas to improve, then deliver projects and company initiatives to make the lasting improvement (or coach and help others to deliver projects too). Part of the role involves steering the wider network of those working on performance projects and initiatives (to ensure we’re all going in the same direction) and interacting with our colleagues working on the bigger picture of performance at HQ in Paris.

In my role, I am also chair of the OEUK Continuous Improvement Network. One day I can be working on detailed data analysis to look for efficiency logistics improvements with our marine vessel fleet and the next I could be facilitating an ideas generation workshop for HR. No two days are the same!

Do you feel like you’re making a difference in your job?

I hope so! As a team, we’ve delivered many key improvements, whether that be around simplification of processes, reductions in costs, improvements to safety / production or simply making our working life more efficient. Something I am proud of from a personal perspective is reaching the LEAN Six Sigma Black Belt certification a few years ago. Proud in the sense that it is confirmation of delivering substantial improvement projects for the business but also being able to coach and help others to deliver their own projects too.

What is a particular career highlight when you look back at your time in the company?

I think I can narrow it down to three major highlights, all for very different reasons.

  1. Most recently… working will all the UK branches (Exploration & Production, Marketing Services, Gas & Power) to define the UK multi-energies roadmap. Hands down the most interesting project I’ve ever been part of, involving very strategic discussions and market research
  2. Going back to my engineering days, the first major technical project I managed from start to finish, replacing the Public Address General Alarm (PAGA) system on the Dunbar platform. It took a year to design, install and commission, and is one of our most important safety systems offshore
  3. Finally, going to the TotalEnergies football world cup! Going to France with my colleagues to represent our country against 20 other TotalEnergies countries where I made some friends for life

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

Only worry about what you can control. This sticks with me in that we need to remind ourselves, it’ll never be perfect. It taught me that putting our effort in to improving the areas that we can influence (piece by piece), we’ll get much better results than trying to solve everything in one go. It’s a similar metaphor to taking one step at a time, even if you can’t see the whole staircase.

What would you say differentiates TotalEnergies?

For me, it’s the network of great people. We have such a wide network across our company, mostly down to the opportunities to move around. Although I’ve always been based in Aberdeen, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different expats here in Aberdeen, who I’ve remained in contact with as they’ve moved around.

Also, with events such as the football tournament, the LEAN network, seminars, and other events…it’s amazing how many times I bump into people that I’ve worked with in some capacity over the years. Having someone you can pick up the phone to and ask how it’s done in their area, or their part of the world, can be really helpful.

And finally, outside of work, what gets you going?

Sport is definitely my happy place! This can be playing (mostly football and golf) or watching (any sport except cricket!). I also like to go out running, where I’ve found over the years, I do my best thinking and decluttering of my brain. I’m the sort of person that struggles to sit at peace, so I always like to have a personal challenge to keep me from getting bored. Recent examples include completing the Rubik’s cube, doing 200 press-ups every day for a year and this year’s challenge which was running the Loch Ness marathon.

I’m also a keen traveller and have been lucky to travel to around 40 countries in my life so far. Roll on the next one!