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Katherine Hargis, Key Energy Services, Highlights Cross-Functional Collaboration During Leadership Forum

Katherine Hargis, Key Energy Services, Leadership Forum

During a recent Leadership Forum, Council Advisory Board Member Katherine Hargis, SVP, CAO, General Counsel & Secretary, Key Energy Services, discussed strategic vision and the importance of cross-functional collaboration. 

Hargis began by reflecting on her time at Key Energy Services, and said she is able to manage the departments and functions she oversees through cross-functional collaboration that recognizes the importance of communication across the different departments to achieve company goals and initiatives. Hargis believes this idea of collaboration starts with leaders who check their egos at the door.

“As leaders, we should surround ourselves with teams of people who come from different functions,” Hargis said. “It’s the diverse perspective that comes from cross-functional teams, where you not only find solutions but new ideas.”

Hargis said the events companies have endured over the past year – such as the pandemic and lockdown, low oil prices and the Texas freeze – challenged organizations to navigate the storms while maintaining a culture of trust, transparency and engagement.

“Organizations have to find ways to create an environment where people want to stay and be heard, especially during challenging times like we have seen over the past year,” Hargis said. “It starts by utilizing cross-functional teams to create a cohesive core of the company to keep our ship sailing and the company growing.”

Hargis addressed common themes she’s observed during her career that hinder an organization’s success: departments working in silos and inadequate communication.

“When messaging, communication and transparency are poor, most employees have no idea what the strategic vision is, much less feel that they are a part of it,” she told attendees. “The key is to have support for cross-functional collaboration from the C-suite to start with clear messaging throughout the organization.”

Hargis fielded questions from the participants, touching on topics such as ownership of tasks, initiatives and duties in cross-functional teams, as well as best practices for collecting diverse viewpoints when communicating.

“Companies need to be open to involving all groups from the beginning, including voices from across departments,” Hargis said. “Support from the C-suite is key in this regard when there is push-back on how and what to communicate. Statistically, cross-functional teams supported by leadership successfully achieve corporate goals.”

The Leadership Forum series, now in its seventh year, provides high performers with the opportunity to interact with Council Leadership in an informal setting. Check the Energy Workforce Upcoming Events for information on our next forum.


Peggy Helfert, Senior Director Programs and Events, writes about the Council’s sector-specific best practices and leadership. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.
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