I recently read a blog written by Jack Uldrich titled, 39 Things That Should Keep Up Every Utility Executive At Night. The blog post was written in 2013, but the 39 things he listed as sleep busters, I would bet are probably still the top reasons in 2016 for sleep loss among many in our industry – not just utility executives.
The energy sector has been, and still is, forecasted to remain in a state of tremendous change for the foreseeable future. The aging power grid, the aging workforce, regulatory changes, stagnant load growth, emergence of new technologies, growth of alternative energy sources and the need to not only embrace but empower customers are just a few of the things that are part of the dynamic change unique to our industry. Combine these unique concerns with the day to day demands of running a business including, but not limited to embracing technology to stay ahead, doing more with less resources (time, money and staff) and recruiting and retaining the best employees and well, it is understandable why there is a lack of sleep.
We cannot hide from change and continue to have the expectations that our business will grow or our teams will flourish. We as business leaders can no longer be afraid of change, we must embrace change. It is an activity that should be a part of the day to day. Successfully addressing and adapting to innovation and change requires a culture of participation. Decision-making needs to go beyond the silo of the boardroom.
To stay ahead and move forward within our changing business environment, KFR Services needed to embrace innovation. How did we do it? We went directly to key influencers in the energy industry and asked, “How could we advance our utility rate database and our services to help them evolve and stay ahead?” Our newest product, RateAcuity, was developed alongside our customers and through their feedback, understanding and collaboration, not behind closed conference room doors. Their key concerns reflected many of the same concerns noted above including, saving time, doing less with more and maintaining the quality their customers demand. Because we were willing to embrace change and go beyond our comfort zone we were able to advance our business and continue to grow.
Take a minute and think about some of the most successful companies you know. Were they afraid of change? Did they not only embrace it but also create it? Ask yourself. How can you stop seeing change and innovation as scary and start seeing them as the path to greater success? What does that look like to you?