Mr. Atikom Terbsiri has over 25 years of experience in the petroleum and petrochemical industry. Heis considered one of the most knowledgeable and qualified person in the field. He served as the Senior Executive Vice President of Petrochemicals & Refining Business Unit at PTT Public Company Limited in 2013 before becoming the CEO of Thaioil today.
When he was appointed CEO of Thaioil in 2014, the world was faced with huge levels of uncertainty including fluctuations in the energy market and global economy. At the time, Thaioil Group was in the midst of creating sustainable growth. With his knowledge and expertise as well as his leadership and management experience, today the company has become a stronger organization under his administration. It is also globally recognized as number one of sustainability in the oil and gas industry for two consecutive years.
Amidst the pressure caused by external factors, Mr. Atikom’s management style has played a significant role in steering the company through the turning point. He not only managed the company’s stakeholders, but he also built confidence among the employees. He abides by three principles. The first one is “to provide opportunities.” In sports, it is like finding the tournaments for the players to take part in. He always says that the heads have to give their subordinates the opportunity to work, finding the tournaments for them to play in and being encouraging in what they want to do. The second principle is “to provide confidence” to the employees when they work, helping to fill in where they are lacking or unsure so that the work can continue on in a smooth manner. The third principle is “to provide forgiveness,” which means if anything goes wrong, we won’t assign blame.
In addition, team work is something that Mr. Atikom has been focusing on and promoting as it leads to a quicker success. Just like in soccer, when the ball is pushed forward, everyone has to perform their duties in the position that they are playing. Together, they create the games, coordinating with each other to find the opportunity to score a goal.
Mr. Atikom is an optimist. He strongly believes that there is a solution to every problem. He usually asks the staff if they want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Without a doubt, the answer is that no one wants to be part of the problem. Everyone wants to be part of the solution. In solving a problem, he follows the Four Noble Truths, which are Suffering (Dukkha), the Origin of Suffering (Samudaya), the Cessation of Suffering (Nirodha), and the Path to the Cessation of Suffering (The Noble Eightfold Path). It helps him in figuring out the cause of the problem and how to solve it.
When it seems like there is no way out of a problem, his idea is that finding a solution is to follow the path of those who have successfully solved the problem, but “if you can’t find a solution, then create one for yourself.” This is a quote by Napoleon Bonaparte that he has used to explain that anything is possible with determination and creativity, a philosophy that can be applied with anything.
His leadership strength lies in the fact that he can reach out to his employees and create inspiration in them. The idea behind this is that “hope” is a motivational force that keeps us up. Therefore, it is important to create hope, not fear. Moreover, employees’ contribution is key. That is why he always shares his visions with them, helping them to see the picture of what their future success looks like.
The guideline that he always gives to his employees is that the leader who can inspire his or her employees must be able to build confidence. Importantly, he or she has to be their role model by setting an example. Furthermore, in creating motivation among the employees in performing their work or accepting new changes in order to achieve the goals set, apart from inspiring, there should be three more IN involved, which are Innovate, Influence and Intuitive. In terms of communication, it means being able to communicate the substance and clearly get the message across. These three IN will help create a more solid inspiration. Participation from every level is crucial.
Mr. Atikom believes that a good leader has to be sincere, responsible, decisive, and able to lead the employees toward a common goal with confidence despite being under risky or unpredictable conditions.
One of his favorite sayings is “Lead yourself by head, lead others by heart.” In order to be a good leader, one has to use the heart, which means caring and supporting the employees in reaching their goals. In general, one must always be prepared to provide knowledge, opportunities, and acceptance for who they are. On the people side, his focus is on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. On the business side, he is focused on opportunities rather than threats and he prefers to concentrate on solutions rather than problems.
This will help support the company in becoming an organization of excellence where teamwork is encouraged and innovations are created and built on mutual trust for sustainable growth.
In addition, Mr. Atikom has a thorough understanding of Thaioil’s SD. He often tells the story of how the company was selected as a member of DJSI for 3 Consecutive Years. He also said that sustainability is something that Thaioil employees have been doing since the day that the refinery has been established, which was 54 years ago. We have always taken care of the environment and we have been caring toward the communities around us. The result of that is evident in what we call the company’s “sustainability” today. Therefore, the awards that company has won were not the result of the company’s aim to win the awards but because of the fact that we have done all those things in order for the company and the communities to be able to exist together in harmony.