In the dynamic realm of operational management consulting, where strategic thinking meets cultural transformation, Mark Broussard stands as a beacon of leadership at the helm of SAMI, Strategic Asset Management Inc. As the President and CEO, his journey is a testament to the fusion of an extraordinary engineering mind with a decade of invaluable experience in aerospace and petrochemical industries.
Mark’s career trajectory began with a deep dive into the intricate worlds of aerospace and petrochemicals. With a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and post-graduate studies in Business Administration at Louisiana State University, he laid the foundation for what would become a remarkable career.
His near decade tenure in the aerospace industry shaped his understanding of asset reliability throughout its life cycle. Mark’s analytical approach and proactive discipline in aerospace maintenance and reliability became a cornerstone for his future endeavors. Little did he know that this experience would lay the groundwork for a transformative approach to operational excellence.
Transitioning to the petrochemical industry, Mark encountered a stark contrast. Reflecting on his early experiences, Mark shares, “The early formative years in the industry were crucial in establishing the foundation for my career. I have always been involved with the maintenance and reliability discipline. The aerospace and petrochemical industries provided significantly different perspectives, teaching me both ends of the maintenance and reliability spectrum.” Despite the challenges, this phase became a crucible for learning. It revealed the incorrect methods prevalent in managing maintenance and reliability. This contrast not only fueled Mark’s intuition for a “better way” but also imparted a profound understanding of organizational culture dynamics.
In 2002, Mark joined SAMI, a decision that marked the beginning of his journey toward becoming an internationally recognized figure in operational management consulting. For two decades, he has steered SAMI to the forefront, offering breakthrough solutions for sustainable cultural transformation and elevated economic performance across industries such as oil and gas, mining, metals, power generation, and petrochemicals.
Mark’s strategic and engaging leadership style is a product of his deep experience in international consulting operations, operational excellence, operations and maintenance management, asset reliability optimization, organizational excellence, operational readiness, knowledge and technology transfer, global restructuring, and rapid growth management.
Strategic and Tactical Prowess for Sustainable Transformation
In the intricate landscape of business consultancy, SAMI, under the stewardship of Mark Broussard, unfolds a multi-layered approach to guide businesses towards sustainable cultural transformation and elevated economic performance. At the strategic level, SAMI employs models that transcend conventional understanding, delving into realms that lead to enhanced income and earnings. These models serve as a compass for client leadership, unraveling the intricacies of functional improvement. Equally pivotal is the recognition that organizational culture is the compass dictating performance levels. SAMI champions the concept that sustainable transformation necessitates a shift in organizational culture.
On the tactical front, SAMI’s approach revolves around two pivotal components—coaching and governance. Sustainable cultural change is not a one-time event but a journey, and coaching becomes the vehicle for embedding behaviors supporting operational execution over extended periods. Leadership plays a central role, with SAMI advocating the establishment of a robust governance structure. This structure serves as a guiding force, steering improvement efforts and creating forums that reinforce accountability and discipline within the organization.
A crucial internal strategy, often unnoticed by clients, involves deploying SAMI consultants capable of modeling and coaching the behaviors crucial for successful transformation. While technical qualifications are imperative, SAMI emphasizes the paramount importance of effective communication, facilitation, training, coaching, and behavior modeling across the organization. This unseen force ensures that the transformative journey is not just technically sound but also human-centric and culturally attuned.
Mark Broussard shares, “For brevity, I’ll limit the explanation to a few points on two levels; strategic and tactical. The SAMI approach to achieving sustainable cultural change is focused on embedding the proper behaviors that support operational execution of functional processes through extended periods of coaching.” In the labyrinth of sustainable cultural transformation, SAMI’s strategic and tactical prowess forms an invisible thread, weaving through organizations, guiding them toward elevated economic performance and a culture that stands resilient in the face of change.
Pioneering Transformations Across Continents
Since its inception in 1996, SAMI has not only embraced change, but has been at the forefront of catalyzing transformative journeys for its clients. The evolution of SAMI into a leading operational management consulting firm is underscored by a series of impactful success stories that traverse internal refinement, scale, and regional validation.
“In the early 2000s, our journey with Shell was pivotal. It allowed us to refine our tools and methods while producing outstanding results,” reflects Mark Broussard, SAMI’s CEO. The project, focusing on an Operational Strategic Plan for maintenance and reliability, resulted in a substantial increase in asset reliability, translating into hundreds of thousands of additional barrels of production volume. “It was a defining moment where our commitment to excellence took tangible form.”
Following the success with Shell, SAMI’s capabilities were put to the test on a global stage with SASOL in South Africa. “The SASOL project showcased that our model, methods, and tools are not bound by geography,” Mark shares. Focused on maintenance work management for a workforce of 4000+, the initiative yielded a remarkable 2X productivity improvement coupled with enhanced asset reliability. “It wasn’t just about solving problems; it was about scaling success and leaving a lasting impact.”
With success in North America and Africa, SAMI ventured into the Middle East, collaborating with SHARQ (Eastern Petrochemical Company), a SABIC affiliate. “Our work with SHARQ was about overcoming regional challenges and validating that our approach is universally applicable,” notes Mark. Despite complexities, SAMI exceeded economic and behavioral metrics within 12 months of the planned 15-month transformation project. “It was a testament to our adaptability and commitment to shaping organizational cultures.”
“These engagements represent the heart of SAMI’s legacy—transformations that endure,” says Mark Broussard. Carefully selected for their impact on SAMI’s evolution, these case studies continue to deliver returns greater than 15:1 over a 3-year period. “It’s not just about numbers; it’s about creating a legacy of success that stands the test of time.”
SAMI’s Performance Culture™: Transforming Aspirations into Operational Excellence
At the core of SAMI’s transformative approach lies the Performance Culture™ model—an aspirational state of continuous improvement that has become synonymous with operational excellence. Mark Broussard, SAMI’s CEO, shares insights into how this model has contributed to the success of the organizations they work with.
“The Performance Culture™ is a beacon of continuous improvement—an aspirational state that not every organization achieves,” notes Mark. It represents a landscape where all functional processes operate in harmony, synchronized and optimized. The key to achieving this state lies in embedding the proper behaviors within the organizational culture, where staff actively seek to identify, understand, and close gaps.
Mark explains that many enterprises begin their Performance Culture journey by selecting a single underperforming function, whether it’s Asset Healthcare, Production, Supply Chain, or Safety. A diagnostic phase follows, identifying gaps and the economic value they represent. The transformation kicks off by optimizing business processes, managing systems, and defining the required behaviors. SAMI consultants play a pivotal role, employing templates of best practices tailored to each client’s unique aspirations and destination.
“Not every organization has the same aspirations or destination,” says Mark. SAMI’s templates are flexible, acknowledging the uniqueness of each client. The heavy lifting of organizational culture change begins with training and behavioral coaching. Individuals must grasp the personal benefits and the collective intent to optimize the entire organization.
After achieving success in a singular function, organizations often progress to interfacing functions to “balance” performance and eliminate constraints to sustainability. Mark emphasizes that the Performance Culture journey is lengthy, designed with successive stages of improvement. Each stage allows for the celebration of significant performance advances before moving on to the next opportunity for transformation.
Mark acknowledges that sustainable organizational culture transformation is the key to maximizing performance potential. Visionary leaders recognize the potential returns of such initiatives. However, they also realize that their individual behaviors must change to expect a different result. “The visionary leaders maintain the effort over longer horizons and reap the rewards,” Mark adds.
SAMI’s Adaptive Resilience in Shifting Tides
In the dynamic currents of the business world, SAMI has demonstrated a resilient approach to adapt to the ebb and flow of global economics and technological advancements. SAMI’s business, like many others, experiences fluctuations with global economic conditions. Mark elucidates, “Our business is not totally dependent on one industry vertical, and we typically see cycles of business volume through different industries during difficult periods.” Recognizing the potential challenges, SAMI has proactively adjusted fixed costs to reflect economic conditions and business volumes. Despite the inevitable variations, no drastic changes have been required, showcasing SAMI’s adaptability and proactive financial management.
In an era dominated by technological advancements, SAMI stands out for its discerning approach. Mark emphatically asserts, “SAMI is not a waggoneer!” The company does not chase the latest trends for the sake of sales. Instead, SAMI maintains a philosophy grounded in the belief that automating or digitizing a poor process and data yields only a faster but still suboptimal outcome. “We believe there is limited ‘technology’ that can replace ‘the right person, doing the right thing, at the right time,'” Mark emphasizes.
While SAMI may be perceived as “old school” in its commitment to proven methodologies, it has consistently delivered desired results. Incremental and cost-effective technology upgrades have been pursued judiciously, ensuring that each advancement is justified by tangible returns. This balanced approach aligns with SAMI’s commitment to delivering value without succumbing to the allure of technology for technology’s sake.
Looking ahead, Mark acknowledges the potential impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on core business processes. “AI may present some opportunities to improve some aspects of our clients’ core business processes,” he notes. The evaluation of how and where to apply AI in SAMI’s solutions reflects a thoughtful and strategic approach to technological integration.
Internally, SAMI adopts a pragmatic stance, avoiding the allure of being early adopters. Technology upgrades are undertaken incrementally, ensuring a careful assessment of returns on investment. This approach, while not flashy, underscores SAMI’s commitment to leveraging technology where it adds value, aligning with the company’s core philosophy.
SAMI’s Operational Excellence
In the landscape of operational excellence, SAMI distinguishes itself through a symphony of unique value propositions, each playing a crucial role in setting the firm apart from others.
SAMI’s Unique Value Propositions (UVP):
The Performance Culture Pyramid: Mark emphasizes the significance of this globally recognized model, stating, “It’s a holistic representation of functional best practices, standing at the forefront of industry leaders’ approach to operational excellence.”
The AscendTM Engagement Methodology: Mark highlights this proprietary, phased approach for identifying and addressing performance gaps, proven to result in consistent alignment for attaining organizational cultural transformation. “It provides the structure for effective change management through extended behavioral coaching,” he adds.
The APEXTM Tool: Described as a one-of-a-kind proprietary tool, Mark notes its ability to measure individual and functional behaviors, identify barriers to sustainability, and provide evidence of organizational cultural maturity. The tool is a cornerstone in evaluating barriers and focusing transformation resources.
The People: SAMI’s team of internationally respected subject matter experts stands out. Mark underlines, “Our team primarily consists of experienced industry veterans on their second career pursuing their passion for asset management.”
Mark’s personal journey with SAMI started in 2002 as a contract Project Manager on the Shell engagement, joining the direct team in 2003. “We refined the original Asset Healthcare model for the first decade of SAMI,” he reflects. Mark played a pivotal role in leading the development of additional models, collaborating on content since 2006.
The concept of the Performance Culture, developed jointly with SAMI founder Brad Peterson in 2012, became a defining element. Mark shares, “We defined the organizing principle, developed the supporting elements, and introduced the concept to the industry through extensive speaking at conferences, symposiums, and global forums.” This collaborative effort tapped into the intellectual capital of many, showcasing that SAMI’s excellence is a result of a collective effort.
Mark’s role has evolved to reinforce these elements with the operations team and introduce them to regional partners. He emphasizes, “We apply the concept of Performance Culture to our own company, and just like our clients, we are on the journey.”
Navigating challenges is an inevitable part of leadership, and it seems SAMI, under your leadership, has faced them with resilience and strategic adaptability. Let’s explore how SAMI addressed some of these challenges:
Leading Through Challenges
Since taking on the role of President & CEO in 2015, Mark Broussard has encountered and navigated several challenges, showcasing SAMI’s adaptive resilience and strategic acumen. The sudden loss of Brad Peterson posed a significant personal and business challenge. Reflecting on this difficult time, Mark shares, “The visionary and inspirational voice that mentored me was no longer. This devastating event was difficult for me personally, for the SAMI team, and for the business.” The void left by Brad’s absence, particularly in Sales & Marketing leadership, required a strategic response.
In response to the void left by Brad’s passing, SAMI underwent a strategic change in regional development. Abandoning the singular salesperson approach, the company implemented a partnering model. This model involved establishing agreements with reputable firms in targeted regions, developing them to provide sales, marketing, and operational resources to deliver SAMI business. Mark notes, “The results to date have been encouraging and robust enough to continue our growth aspirations.”
An ongoing challenge for boutique consulting firms, including SAMI, is the perception of the value add of management consultants. Mark recognizes the negative sentiment fostered by various factors, including consulting fatigue and failed engagements. To overcome this, SAMI has chosen to live and model its core values, with a particular emphasis on integrity. Mark explains, “We must consistently ‘Do what we say we will do’ to build our client’s trust through modeling this value and earn the right to secure more business.”
Looking forward, an upcoming challenge is the wave of retiring consultants, a situation many boutique consulting firms are facing. SAMI is actively addressing this challenge by planning for leadership succession. Mark acknowledges that recruiting younger talent for asset management-focused roles can be challenging but expresses confidence that asset management can be taught, and consulting talent can emerge from various disciplines.
In the face of these challenges, SAMI’s adaptive strategies and commitment to core values have proven instrumental in navigating complex landscapes. Stay tuned for the next segment, where Mark shares insights into SAMI’s future aspirations and the evolving landscape of operational management.
Shaping SAMI’s Future: A Vision of Regional Excellence
Mark Broussard envisions a future for SAMI brimming with opportunities, with a strategic theme for the next five years: Regional Excellence. As SAMI’s CEO, he outlines the goals and initiatives that will propel the company forward in the coming years. The central theme for SAMI’s future revolves around Regional Excellence. From a sales and marketing perspective, this entails onboarding new regional partners, maturing existing regions, and maintaining legacy regions. Mark emphasizes the importance of coaching partners on the “SAMI Way” and adapting engagement methods to the unique cultural nuances of each region.
The operational side of the business presents immense opportunities. Engaging new networks of regional consultants and immersing them in SAMI methods is a significant endeavor. Simultaneously, refining content for every stage of the Performance Culture Pyramid, leading clients on tailored journeys, and delivering on promised economic value are formidable challenges. Integrating new technologies, refining quality control methods, and maintaining a focus on safety in all engagements are also key objectives.
The growth and opportunities generated by SAMI’s initiatives naturally lead to a focus on leadership development. Mark underscores the importance of finding and selecting the right leaders for SAMI’s next generation. This includes identifying individuals who can navigate the complexities of Regional Excellence and uphold SAMI’s standards globally.
The theme of Regional Excellence aligns with the longer-term vision developed by Brad Peterson and implemented by Mark: “The sun never sets on SAMI.” This vision encapsulates the idea of ongoing operations around the globe continuously. As SAMI expands its reach and impact, the goal is to have a lasting presence in various regions, creating a global tapestry of excellence.
SAMI’s future, under Mark’s leadership, is marked by continuous growth, adaptability, and a commitment to excellence. The focus on Regional Excellence serves as a strategic guide for the company, navigating diverse cultural landscapes and unlocking opportunities on a global scale.
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