Utility Week

UTILITY Week 8th May 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Page 10 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 8TH - 14TH MAY 2015 | 11 Utility Week Live: review Conference & exhibition Utility Week Live, 21-23 April, Birmingham Leadership is the showstopper The inaugural Utility Week Live exhibition and conference identified that leadership and trust are the defining ingredients of success. 4 TO THINK ABOUT... Leading change • The "old guard"  hierarchical nature  of many of the large  utilities means that  creating a change in  culture or vision can  be difficult to commu- nicate and sustain. • The shifting pres- sures of a changing  political landscape  mean leaders are  focused on reactive  strategies rather than  a proactive vision. • Lessons in how  to thrive in turbulent  times can be learnt  from other sectors,  and new entrants  should be seen  as a prompt for  incumbents to raise  their game. See more on p12 Gaining trust • People can have  a "contradictory" at- titude towards utilities  depending on whether  they are viewing them  as a customer or a  voter. The way they  regard the trustwor- thiness of utilities can  depend on which role  they assume. • There is a failure  of leadership in most  organisations when it  comes to modelling  the behaviours needed  in frontline employees  for rebuilding trust. • Recruitment must  be improved and  made more rigorous  to reflect a "hire for  attitude, fire for at- titude" ethos. See more on p13 Nurturing innovation • Risk aversion is  the norm while there  is an obsession with  the regulator and its  requirements for in- novation "outcomes". • Relatively immature  cultures of innovation  tend to confuse it  with continuous  improvement or  fail to embrace the  intrinsic link between  technology innovation  and business model  innovation. • There is a lack  of purposeful  collaboration or  clear structures  for assimilating  innovation into  business as   usual.  See more on p14 Preparing for the unexpected • Understand the  complexity of long- term weather fore- casting and develop  plans for responding  when forecasts show  an increase in the  likelihood or impact of  extreme weather. • Keep a long-term  view despite short- term regulatory peri- ods and consider the  combined long-term  impact of parallel  trends like climate  change and popula- tion growth • Develop a coherent  approach to a multi- impact threat by col- laborating with other  stakeholders. See more on p15 U tility Week Live highlighted the disruptive changes hitting utili- ties from a multitude of angles as big picture trends in customer behaviours, political interven- tionism, climate and – not least – technol- ogy come to bear. Content around all of these issues pro- voked thought and inspiration at the exhi- bition, seminar programme and keynote conference, making it a stimulating first year for the event, which has grown out of the long-standing Iwex exhibition. The following pages distil some of the most pertinent messages for leaders across the water and energy sectors that emerged from Utility Week Live. The themes of change and leadership are central, arching over the perennial difficulty of creating a dynamic and innovative skills base for the sector and running alongside the contextual challenges of regulation and climate change. "Take steps to shape your future, you might not like the outcome of a wait-and-see approach." John Scott, director, Chiltern Power "Delivering crap customer service does not save you money. Delivering crap cus- tomer service costs you money." Colin Skellett, chief executive, Wessex Water "The way you achieve your results should be as important as the results you achieve." Andrew McMillan, former head of customer service, John Lewis Talking points Industry champions Utility Week Live played host to the Institute of Water's National Drilling and Tap- ping Championship – now in its 27th year and formerly a popular feature at Iwex. The winners were: •  Ladies: Northumbrian Water • Men: Anglian Water

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