Trunkline Magazine 11 Jan 2021

Agility ability

Change is a constant in our business and the Project Agility team has been working on ways to ensure we don’t merely adapt to change but thrive on it.

There are more ways of becoming agile than completing star jumps or touching your toes. Just ask somebody preparing to roll out Project Agility initiatives across Woodside over coming months.

“We sometimes feel that there are a few Woodsiders who think Project Agility is all about developing a new pre-start exercise program,” says Rebecca Murphy with a laugh.

Rebecca, an Agility Leader, is quick to correct any misapprehensions about the work she and others in her team are focused on.

“In corporate-speak, being agile means being adaptable in the face of an ever-changing business environment and building an organisation that thrives on change,” she explains.

“Project Agility’s goal is to ingrain a team mindset of better-every-day.”

The benefits of being agile have been around for some time and various elements have already been introduced into the company – concepts like collaboration, acceleration and rapid decision-making, for instance, are already employed by Woodside.

“But Project Agility aims to take it to a level higher by leveraging the benefits from new ways of managing performance assessment, fostering a continuous feedback culture, simplifying and sharpening Woodside’s decision accountabilities, streamlining associated systems, process and tools and refreshing our culture/Compass,” says Richard van Lent, Senior Vice President Agility.

“The focus is very much on systematic change required to improve Woodside’s performance and culture.”

The spur for Project Agility was the 2019 employee engagement survey.

Staff indicated that while they enjoyed working at Woodside, improvements were desirable in performance management and decision effectiveness.


Long-time senior leader Robert Edwardes took the lead on the enablement project, tasked with identifying improved approaches in these areas.

The Project Agility team was established in July 2020 and includes six Agility leaders, each with the responsibility for a division of the company and work area.

Together with People and Global Capability (P&GC), the team has been examining what changes must occur for more agile work practices and to ensure the business is set up for future success.

Forty-five Agility agents provide a connection to the organisation to help test and rollout change and facilitate two-way feedback.

“These agents are instrumental to Agility’s success in making the changes we need at Woodside,” Richard says.

To date, Agility’s focus has been on improving performance management and reforms in this area were rolled out in September.

Key changes included sharper focus on feedback and development.

“The aim is to simplify the annual assessment of the performance of our employees, while also dedicating time to authentic coaching and regular feedback throughout the year,” explains Vice President P&GC Jacky Connolly.

“The changes recognise the valuable contribution of our workforce while still maintaining a level of performance differentiation.”

Next on Agility’s list (and the focus for 2021) is to clarify roles; to enhance Woodside’s framework for effective decision making; to continue to develop our organisation’s culture; and to ensure leaders have the right leadership skills and that future leaders are being developed.

Daniel Kalms, Senior Vice President Corporate and Legal, believes Agility’s work will improve Woodside’s ways of working and culture.

“We need to set Woodside up for a better and bright future – so get involved and play a role in making the change we need,” Daniel urges.

Read the full Q4 2020 issue of Trunkline here.