A couple of weeks ago, I was conducting some researches on the oil industry , when i came across a documentary dubbed the Seven Sisters. Manipulation, conniving, coup, cartel are some of the words that best describe the games played by seven oil companies to gain power.
 
Seven Sisters was a term that became common from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s, and referred to the dominion of the global petroleum industry. The industry group dominated 85% of the world's petroleum reserve and consisted of: “Anglo-Persial Oil Company (now BP), Gulf Oil (later part of Chevron), Royal Dutch Shell, Standard Oil Company of California (SoCal, now Chevron), Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (Esso, later Exxon, now part of ExxonMobil), Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony, later Mobil, also now part of ExxonMobil) and Texaco (later merged into Chevron).”
 4. The Seven Sisters. Source Petrosociety
 
Although the unethical practices cannot be ignored much less approved, we can still learn a few things about the strategy these organizations used:
 
1. Partnership: Individuals and companies alike continue to partner for capital, expansion, diversification, networking, providing emotional support among others. But how often, do we partner with our competitors and more so, when each company has a good market share? Yet collaborating with competitors can help grow your company, increase revenue and give you control over your industry. The Seven Sisters were able to dominate the world thanks to their strategic partnership that left out other competitors. Do you collaborate or compete?
2. Influence policies: the seven sisters were able to command the market and influence policies favourably due to their immense contribution in taxes and their vast network. How are you influencing policies within your industry? 
3. Innovate: do things differently. Think outside the box. With over 2 billion habitants on planet earth, the market is wide enough to recreate processes and disturb the status quo. Innovating does not only mean inventing new things, more often, it is doing things in an uncommon way. What innovation have you introduced in the past year to grow your business?
4. Strategizing and positioning: from the onset, the giant oil companies made calculated moves to dominate the industry. Years later, in order to achieve their vision in Africa, “the sisters installed a king in Libya, a dictator in Gabon, fought the nationalisation of oil resources in Algeria among others.” As you reflect on your 2020 strategy, how should you position yourself and positively impact your market?
 
The documentary was an eye opener regarding the games played by big organizations and how we, continuously contribute to their wealth. It reminds me of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi that says "the rich cannot accumulate wealth without the co-operation of the poor in society." Indeed "nothing is so unequal as the equal treatment of unequal people." 
 big oil fleecing
 
The seven sisters? A MUST watch!