Mind the Gap: Getting Your Team of Today Ready for the Utility of Tomorrow
“The utility of the future,” “utility 2.0,” “the new utility business model” – there are plenty of names for this discussion in the industry, and an equal amount of thinking about the changes utilities need to make in order to thrive. No one is offering the silver bullet or even buckshot solution just yet; it’s not an easy challenge. But while those in senior leadership positions, policy makers, regulators and internal working groups are trying to find the right future model, you can start preparing your team for the changes that are coming, whatever those changes may be.
Your workforce can embrace innovation, adapt more nimbly and work more effectively, allowing them to be prepared for whatever new or different situations the Utility of Tomorrow brings with it. By focusing on collaboration, learning, innovation and new practices for managing teams, you can put your team steps ahead of other teams.
The Tennessee Valley Authority’s EnergyRight Solutions® for Business and Industry (ERSB+I), in partnership with Milepost Consulting, borrowed concepts from outside the utility industry to bust through organizational silos and design and implement forward-thinking practices. This work included re-thinking ERSB+I’s functional model, baking innovation into their daily business and creating collaborative trainings that get cross-functional groups up to speed quickly. ERSB+I even invented a new way to build clarity around roles/responsibilities that brings team members together—rather than separating them into silos—and provides a higher level of efficiency and service. These changes have created a business unit that is stronger, more flexible and is set to successfully manage the road to the future.
“Milepost really helped me solidify my thinking around what my team needed in order to be more resilient in the face of an ever-changing industry,” said Bonnie Latta, ERSB+I Senior Manager. “With their help, we developed and delivered trainings that brought new skills and fresh ways of thinking to my team members and to how those team members work together to achieve our common goal. We are more adaptive, innovative and collaborative than ever before.”
“Team development needs to be an ongoing focus for every team,” said Sabrina Cowden, CEO of Milepost Consulting. “Even high functioning, high performing teams need to turn their focus inwards on a regular basis and check on working norms, team dynamics and evaluate what new skills or techniques they may need to add to those working norms.”
If your team isn’t focusing on collaboration and innovation, you risk shifting from a high-performing to a mediocre-performing team or losing your best team members to places where continual learning is part of the company DNA.