Lee Olivier was appointed president of Connecticut Light & Power in 2001, and immediately had a problem. Within five years, 40% of Connecticut Light & Power’s electric linemen would be eligible for full retirement with benefits. Electric linemen had not been trained within the company for years, and a qualified lineman took at least four years to train.
Inexperience was taking a toll as rising interrupted-power incidences frustrated Connecticut Light & Power’s 1.2 million customers. The problem, Olivier recognized, and its solution was in the Connecticut Light & Power culture. As someone who’d previously experienced The Pacific Institute’s curriculum, Olivier knew the company’s constructive cultural training could develop in Connecticut Light & Power the organizational cooperation to correct its problem.
By 2003, Olivier had offered participation in The Pacific Institute curriculum to his entire staff. According to Olivier, it was The Pacific Institute’s training that drove veteran employees and new trainees to reduce interrupted-power instances by 70% in 2003. Connecticut Light & Power both regained client trust and built up its client base as the company’s Pacific Institute-trained leadership reduced capital expenditure by $27 million.
Diagnosis: A Long And Out Of Date Path
As a longtime leader in its industry, Connecticut Light & Power had deep, taken-for-granted assumptions, beliefs and behaviors. In evaluating the effectiveness of company policies, Connecticut Light & Power consultants found that the cultural stagnation created a “process-based organization with seemingly satisfactory performance, but without a clear vision, direction or strategy.” According to the consultants’ report, a “risk-averse culture” with a “reluctance to hold people accountable” had literally “frozen” Connecticut Light & Power into performance that was “not cohesive nor executed with precision.”
“The centralized staff governance and Connecticut Light & Power’s implementation of a process structure are barriers… to becoming a top-performing business accountable for customer and shareholder satisfaction,” the consultants explained.
Intervention: Mission, Vision, Values, Goals & Success
The Pacific Institute assisted Connecticut Light & Power in developing a new executive leadership team to eliminate cultural barriers blocking cross-corporate solutions. The team started by solidifying what it meant to be part of Connecticut Light & Power by creating a mission, vision and values.“For the long-term, best interest of the company and its customers, Connecticut Light & Power needs… a shared vision and a sense of urgency,” the consultant report said. Using The Pacific Institute’s philosophy towards progression as the focus of organizational change, Connecticut Light & Power transformed with a new organizational structure, the implementation of key result areas to focus the company’s strengths, communication and training on the new direction and a performance-measurement system.The Pacific Institute’s Imagine 21® program was tailored to give Connecticut Light & Power’s 2,300 employees a framework for personal change and create a launchpad for organizational collectivity. With self-efficacy well established, The Pacific Institute assisted Connecticut Light & Power in creating a one-year corporate strategy. The strategy’s success at the leadership level in 2001 led to its expansion over the next two years to “give purpose and team identity to all employees,” Olivier said. “It has provided common language… and has given leadership a tool… to discuss the company’s direction, listen to the employees and to engage in constructive, robust dialogue.”
Measurable Results: Back In The Light.
In Olivier’s drive to make Connecticut Light & Power the “best of the best,” the organization has exceeded and continues to exceed its corporate, employee and customer-satisfaction goals.Today Connecticut Light & Power is more agile, results-driven and forward-looking than ever before. “The mindset has changed. The people now see the visions of two years ago becoming a reality,” Olivier said. “They see accountability in action as results are soaring.”The Pacific Institute “ignited a future perspective and consequent positive energy when it launched the Imagine 21® program to all employees and to all levels of supervision,” Olivier said. This “engaged the employees in self-discovery, practicing new learning, setting goals, and being accountable for the desired future.”
“Once exposed to the power of affirmations and positive self-talk, the people of Connecticut Light & Power began visualizing a future for the company that was fueled by imagining the best possible future on the personal level,”
- Lee Oliver, President