Todd interviews Lynn Adams, the Vice President and Executive Consultant of Excergy Corporation, and author of The Art of Strategic Leadership.
- Adams has a Bachelor of Science degree and a background in communications, advertising, and public relations.
- Fluent in French, Adams went to Morrison-Knudsen to work on their project team to help them better communicate with clients. At the time, it was groundbreaking for an engineering company to hire a communications person.
- Work at Morrison-Knudsen segued into a path of working with engineering companies over the years, and ultimately landed her at R. W. Beck, where she served as Vice President on the Board of Directors.
- While her career advanced, the industry also moved through its realization that it wasn’t just about operation factors, but also about human factors.
- A pivotal point came when the electric industry deregulation was about to hit. Beck executives noticed that suddenly clients were asking about customers. Executives didn’t know what to tell their clients, but thought Adams might. Around that, Adams built the practice of what it meant to have customers and engage with them.
- Moving to Excergy was a mix of serendipity, accident, and design. Eight to ten years ago, Adams thought that the utility industry’s next wave would be centered on technology. Beck was not aligned with the direction she thought they should go to continue serving clients.
- Moving to a large company didn’t have the same appeal to Adams as moving to a startup company in terms of the ability to serve clients’ needs first and foremost, and the flexibility to do the right things for clients and staff. She also thought it would be fun to build something new.
- To understand their vision and mission, Excergy gathered and distilled thoughts from everyone in the firm and boiled them down to what they believed.
- It’s all about the technology and what it can do for people and their lives, both inside utility organizations and customers’ lives outside the organizations.
- On the customer side, Excergy is amazed at the enablement they’re having in terms of engaged and active energy and water consumers.
- Stakeholder engagement has become a necessity and a fundamental piece of successful project implementation.
- When talking about stakeholder engagement, start with what’s in it for everybody. You must think of your employees, customers and interest groups, commercial and industrial customers, and boards and regulators.
- Adams takes a “no surprises” approach to managing communications and engagement with the board and regulators. She doesn’t want them to be blindsided by anything at any time.
- To Adams, peak performance is a sense of who they are putting on their projects.
- Adams believes that Excergy does their best work for clients when they put people with a lot of experience on projects. That doesn’t mean they won’t mentor younger staff, just that it’s a much more subject matter expert- focused delivery model.