Russell Atkins was a passionate, long-suffering fan of the Vancouver Canucks. When he died recently, his obituary jokingly asked 6 Canucks players to be his pall bearers, so the Vancouver team “could let him down, one last time”. Toronto Maple Leaf fans can identify with Russell Atkins’s anguish.
Does it make a difference if your talented staff perform well below their potential? Ask Bruce Boudreau, the former Canucks coach. Or ask incoming Canuck’s coach, Rick Tocchet who replaced Boudreau a few weeks ago.
I won’t pretend to advise NHL coaches how to motivate highly paid professional hockey players. My passion has been to help CEOs inspire high performing energy and carbon management teams. On that score, I can confidently advise: Delivering results makes a difference.
Is your energy or carbon management team delivering the results your business needs? Here’s what makes the difference:
1. Reducing energy costs and carbon emissions is a team sport.
Cutting energy costs and carbon emissions requires a team effort. This means CEOs have to ensure every direct report and every department in their organization has a responsibility to show up and play.
2. Everyone one has to play their position.
Every employee makes a difference. Each person needs to understand their role and what is expected of them. Engaging employees to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions requires the ongoing engagement of the C Suite. The CEO’s job is to integrate individual efforts to the benefit of the entire enterprise.
3. Organizational culture empowers people to deliver results.
An organization preoccupied with past mistakes deflates their people. Being preoccupied with avoiding future mistakes paralyzes people. Such fixations impair team performance. Organizational norms that affirm and reinforce a “can do” attitude, will cut energy costs and overcome carbon emissions obstacles far beyond the ordinary.
4. The tone for winning (or losing) is always set at the top.
The CEO and their direct reports in the C Suite create (or kill) winning teams. A winning C Suite finds a way to quickly get their team out of the defensive zone. Five plays put their multi-disciplinary team on the offensive. To score energy and carbon management goals they focus on: reducing energy waste; increasing energy efficiency; switching fuels; generating, or purchasing renewable energy, improving products and processes; and if needed as a last resort, purchasing carbon offsets. Players will make errors executing plays. When they are held accountable to own their mistakes and fix performance with practice, a culture of learning is established that naturally flows into continual improvement and team excellence.
Sports give us wonderful stories and analogies for how to achieve our best. A positive focus on reducing energy costs and carbon emissions is the winning strategy for becoming a high performing organization that doesn’t let its people down.