Utility Week

UTILITY Week 17th February 2017

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

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6 | 17TH - 23RD FEBRUARY 2017 | UTILITY WEEK People & Opinion Utility Week community Running a business can be hard. Especially when that business is a utility which is vital to people's lives. At a time of significant change in both the water and the energy sectors, the time seems ripe for us to ask the advice of those who have been there and done it . Andy Mitchell, chief executive, Tideway "Having the ability to describe the broader benefits of what you're doing – both internally and externally – is really important. "Make sure you have a clear vision and a clear plan of what you're doing. To inspire confidence in other people, you've got to be confident yourself, and that means you need to have thought it through, and you also need to know how you're going to do it." Peter Farrer, chief operating officer, Scottish Water "You must never become complacent and must constantly focus on providing an improving standard of service. I'd also suggest working to raise awareness of the value of the service or product you provide – for example through education and employee volunteering programmes." Tony Cocker, chief executive, Eon UK "The world is changing faster than ever (and it's only going to get faster!) and all busi- nesses have to try to not just keep up but to be ahead of what customers want and need. "So trust in your team and its expertise, stay interested, stay curious and be open to learning new things every single day." Sara Venning, chief executive, Northern Ireland Water "Be passionate about what it is that you do, be inter- ested in what it is that you do and get to know all of it, and be very resil- ient, just like your network and your assets have to be." Liv Garfield, chief executive, Severn Trent "Never underestimate the value of diversity, whether that's skills, experience, gender, race or background. I believe successful businesses are those which inject creativity, fresh thinking and digital savviness. They are led by strong leaders with great people skills who look to recruit colleagues from all walks of life and with a variety of experi- ences." Heidi Mottram, chief executive, Northumbrian Water "Remember success is never due to one per- son alone. Build an amazing team around you, with a diverse range of talents – and support them to success." Colin Skellett, chief executive, Wessex Water "Be yourself, do it in a way that best suits you and never forget that the people who make the business a success are all those who work for you. Try to find one or two touch points within the busi- ness who will always tell you how things really are, because most people won't." Martin Baggs, former chief executive, Thames Water "Don't underestimate what a fantastic team you've got in the business. The level of skill and experience and knowledge in the busi- ness is huge, it's about how you tap into that and unlock it." Johanna Dow, chief executive, Business Stream "Always put your customer first. That sounds obvious, but I can assure you it's oen overlooked even in a service industry like ours. And create teams who are encouraged to con- structively challenge the status quo. "Take inspiration from the very best customer service organisations. We may not be Amazon or John Lewis, but we can learn a lot from the way they do things." John Reynolds, chief executive, Castle Water "If you're going to be successful, you've got to be genuinely good at selling. It is good to have all the systems working for you, but you've also got to be able to convince cus- tomers to accept the proposition, that is the part which is oen underestimated." Sue Amies-King, chief executive, Water Plus "Above all, make sure you stay close to your custom- ers and your employees, don't just sit in an ivory tower. Stay close to your purpose, and deliver a great service." Simon Cocks, chief executive, Affinity Water "The culture and 'feel' of the company is key, to improve you need to be willing to listen a lot; be open minded, empathetic, curious and encourage others to be the same. Be visible, available and generous with your time." Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief executive, Ovo Energy "Focus all of your efforts on creating more value for customers. If you do that, you will certainly have a strong busi- ness." Tips from the top Utility Week gathers advice from some of the best bosses – old and new – in the utilities sector about how they run their businesses.

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