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Adaptability

June 10, 2005

From Exxon Mobile’s Guiding Principles

Exxon Mobil Corporation is committed to being the world’s premier petroleum and petrochemical company. To that end, we must continuously achieve superior financial and operating results while adhering to the highest standards of business conduct. These unwavering expectations provide the foundation for our commitments to those with whom we interact[.]

Exxon Mobile has fallen into a common trap. They have limited themselves in their mission statement. The mission statement, or in EM’s case, their statement of Guiding Principles is the first place everyone in the organization looks for guidance in making strategic decisions on a daily basis. They haven’t expressed the scope of their business in the broadest terms possible. For example, a recording company who’s mission was to be the ‘premier cassette tape company,’ and acted that way, would have probably missed the boat when the rest of the industry went to Compact Disks. Whereas, if their mission had been to be the premier ‘musical entertainment company’ they would have been constantly open to new innovations that could enhance their business. So when EM strives to be “the world’s premier petroleum and petrochemical company” they are really limiting the possibilities for the company to adapt to changing conditions in the market.

The effects of this dilemma become evident when we see them desperately fighting to remain relevant in a changing world. Revealed: how oil giant influenced Bush

In briefing papers given before meetings to the US under-secretary of state, Paula Dobriansky, between 2001 and 2004, the administration is found thanking Exxon executives for the company’s “active involvement” in helping to determine climate change policy, and also seeking its advice on what climate change policies the company might find acceptable.

Exxon Mobile must rethink their mission before it is too late. Being “the world’s premier petroleum and petrochemical company” is a goal from a bygone era. Looking forward, they need to take the broader view and get back to their core values: to “lead the way in making Earth uninhabitable (while continuing to achieve superior financial and operating results.)”

With a renewed commitment to succeeding in the “making Earth uninhabitable” business it will no longer matter if Science tries to stop them from pursuing their mission by causing the breakdown of fossil fuels into hydrocarbons and releasing them into the atmosphere, to change the Earth’s climate over time.

In order to “continue to achieve superior financial and operating results” right up until the end of the world, EM has a couple of options:

  1. Bring about Earth’s destruction rapidly by leveraging the cash they currently have on hand due to the record breaking profits they traditionally experience when there are high gasoline prices. With these resources they might procure several of the ‘loose nukes’ from the former Soviet countries to create a doomsday machine that would make Dr. Strangelove proud.
  2. Adopt a method similar to their current strategy whereby the consuming public gladly pays for their eventual demise. This might take some R&D in the short term. Perhaps they can develop an alchemical process that, while converting base metals into gold, releases undetectable but poisonous byproducts directly into the water supply. You know, something like that.

Once these adjustments are made, EM will no longer need to compromise “superior financial results” with expenditures to gain favor in the halls of government. They need only call in one last favor to buy some time..

OFL ‘needs to know more’ about global warming
“We need to know more about it,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to solve when you know more about it.”

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