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Financial Times: Energy Filter: Stirring words on Sakhalin

June 11, 2007
By Ed Crooks

My colleague Lucy Kellaway has a characteristically brilliant – and almost persuasive – defence of the widely-discussed motivational email from David Greer, the deputy chief executive of Sakhalin Energy, who leant heavily on the words of General Patton (FT stories require subscription.) The email has also been published on, an anti-Shell website run by a father and son partnership that has been a long-running thorn in the company’s side.

Lucy writes: “Not only is it not the worst motivational e-mail ever written, it is actually one of the better ones,” commending Mr Greer’s honesty and plain speaking.

Many of the comments in the discussion about the memo support her view, and some criticise the FT for reporting the leaked email at all. Contributors who say they know Mr Greer speak highly of his commitment to the Sakhalin 2 project and his management skills.

Even so, the lesson of all this, it seems to me, is that email is by its nature a pretty rotten motivational tool. Even General Patton’s original address to the 3rd Army would have fallen flat if it had pinged into their in-boxes one morning.

Posted by Ed Crooks on June 11, 2007 and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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