The Situation:

Shell, global group of energy and petrochemicals companies wanted to streamline practices and communication on their Keppel Shipyard in Singapore to ensure zero accidents and maintain the project scope, timing and budget.

The Challenge:

The team targeted for Communication Development and Team Building consisted of 30 Health and Safety Inspectors, working in the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore.  The team’s primary focus areas are Health and Safety coaching and high-level Technical assurance. Nationalities in the team include American, Bangladeshi, Chinese, English, Filipino, Indian, Malaysian, Myanmarian, Singaporean & Scottish.  They work as part of a wider team overseeing a workforce of 14,000 from all over the Far East. The team was realising that their messages were not being understood or taken on by the workforce and this was causing some frustration and breakdowns in communications.

Friction amongst the team was also a cause of further misunderstanding so team cohesion needed to be developed.  Good communication within the team is therefore necessary to present a consistent message to the contractor and to the shipyard.

The Solution

Inspector Programme

4 Day Programme with 40 Inspectors in groups of 10 attending an interactive workshop.  This hugely successful programme achieved the following:

  1. increased insights into different communication styles to enhance team cohesion
  2. developed skills to ensure open and honest feedback with teams
  3. revealed techniques to use voice and body language to attain rapport
  4. discovered when and how to adapt communication styles to various Asian cultures
  5. maximised the ability to steer others to positive behavioural change
  6. increased the impact of written and spoken communication to influence and persuade

One Day Whole Team Building Event

A barbecue and drag netting on a boat was a organised as a fun team-building day.  This was invaluable in that it helped:

  1. to maximise a spirit of co-operation within the team
  2. key individuals open up about particular challenges in an informal environment
  3. relax and get to know each other!

Return on Investment


Prior to the training, some members of the Management Team were taking around 5 sick days per person per year, costing the company £1,500 per person. In a management team of 30 this amounts to the company paying £45,000 for days not worked.  This significantly reduced within 2 months of the training.  In addition it meant that the Management Team, who are employed to oversee the Health and Safety procedures while the workforce are building an oil tanker, were on target with the project: for every day the oil tanker is delayed at the shipyard, Shell loses millions of pounds.  There is therefore a huge return on investment.


As with most Management Development Programmes, the Return on Investment is also qualitative.  Such returns were as follows:

  • greater trust and sense of co-operation with in the Management Team
  • 100% steadfast Health and Safety record throughout the project
  • maximised openness among the team, thereby allowing for rapid resolution of issues
  • enhanced verbal and written communication to keep work time productive and co-operative.

What Shell said of the experience:

Alison was brought in to help improve the communication skills of our team both in terms of communicating within our team as well as with our prime contractor. We also needed some assistance with obtaining a better understanding of cultural differences given the multinational content of our team. Alison arranged a number of useful exercises during the training session toward this end which has greatly enhanced the effectiveness of our team.”
Shell FPSO Project Manager, Tom Muirhead