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Leading in a Time of Increased Expectations

Book Description

Traditionally, the focus of big energy companies has been on power generation and maintaining and managing their assets. But in electric power, as in many businesses, today's consumers want convenience and answers in real time. Since taking over as CEO of Duke Energy Corp., a large energy company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lynn Good has faced the challenge of reorienting an old-line business to meet the needs of today's customers. As Good says, "We have to keep up with what customers expect from an experience: information, control, convenience, and choice. People expect that from their energy provider just as they do with all the other services in their lives." In this interview with MIT Sloan Management Review editor in chief Paul Michelman, Good discusses three big changes that are affecting the electric power industry: customer expectations, technology, and public policy. She explains how she is attempting to reshape Duke Energy, which has 29,000 employees, around what she calls "our leadership imperative." The imperative, says Good, is composed of five elements. The first element involves a commitment to "live" the company's core purpose and mission of serving its customers 24/7, during every season. The second element is knowing how to lead change and guiding the organization "toward the vision in an agile, flexible way." The third element is the need to deliver outcomes to customers and other stakeholders "with safety, integrity, and customer service." The fourth is to "work as one" to meet customer needs. The final piece, she said, has to do with inspiring employees. The company can't succeed in a period of change, she notes, "unless we have absolutely every employee aligned and getting up in the morning with enthusiasm about what they're going to add to the future of the organization."