The prospects for sustainable power jobs to surge are very bright. Today in the U.S., clean energy is already the biggest job creator across America's energy sector, employing nearly three times as many workers as work in fossil fuels, according to the environmental entrepreneurs' group E2. More Americans work in clean energy than elementary school teachers, bankers, farmers or real estate agents.
What we are in fact seeing evolve in energy is the Great Resignation transforming into the Great Transition. With so many fossil fuel workers seeking a new career path in clean energy and the Biden administration pushing a green mandate, the timing appears ripe for jobs in sustainability to boom.
Here are three strategies companies can pursue to boost the green energy shift into full gear.
Job seekers have more clout today than perhaps at any time in history. Now is the time to engage prospects early, efficiently, and in a very personalised way; to sell people on everything your company has to offer.
John Ryan provides 4 helpful and useful tips on finding, engaging, and converting great talent into top-notch candidates who choose your company over the competition.
The organisation that got us here won't get us to where we need to be. The environment, and social and corporate governance (ESG) on their own demand new ways to think and act. Factor in the urgent need for diversity and inclusion, a whole generation who are disenfranchised economically, the combined and unrelenting forces of digitalisation, talent shortages, remote employment, market entrants that reinvent the sector, the avalanche of disruptive technology that lies just around the corner and we have little choice but to uncover new ways to organise.
Shareholder value » Stakeholder value - Unless all of the stakeholders count, none of the stakeholders count.
Leadership based on "same as me" » Leadership recognising the value of diversity - The greater the difference on the team, the greater the difference the team can make.
Strategy dominates the executive conversation » Culture takes centre stage - Long after the strategy has been shredded, what will endure is your culture.
From Head (direction) and Hand (delivery) only leadership » Leadership that also engages the Heart (developing) and enriches the Spirit (authenticity, empathy) - Leadership balance: Head, Hand, Heart and Spirit.
Rewards, benefits, goals and corrective feedback are the dominant force in shaping behaviour » A compelling purpose and work that matches capability with opportunity - Unless all of the stakeholders count, none of the stakeholders count.
A mindset where the employee supports the customer » The employee is treated as if they were a customer - Happy customers draw on happy employees.
A culture of feeling disillusioned, disconnected and discontented » A culture where there is a genuine sense of belonging - Research suggests that a sense of belonging is the single most important factor in retention.
A business development process dominated by "How do we make money from this relationship?" » A business development process that focuses on "How do we best contribute to the customer's/client's success?" - Without trust, you ain't got much.
An organisation reliant upon hierarchy » An organisation that is Focused, Flat, Fast, Flexible, and Fertile to new ideas - The organisation is a team of teams.
The team works for the leader » The leader works for the team - Servant leadership prevails.
A platform where "what" people learn has precedence » A setting where "how" people learn becomes the priority - Speed of learning is the only truly sustainable competitive advantage.
A reliance on rules » A climate where the organisation's values give people permission to act - Research suggests globally only about 15% of employees are engaged.
The organisation that got us here won't get us to where we need to be. The environment, and social and corporate governance (ESG) on their own demand new ways to think and act. Factor in the urgent need for diversity and inclusion, a whole generation who are disenfranchised economically, the combined and unrelenting forces of digitalisation, talent shortages, remote employment, market entrants that reinvent the sector, the avalanche of disruptive technology that lies just around the corner, and we have little choice but to uncover new ways to organise.
The organisational shift demanded falls firmly within the realm of the organisation's culture. Culture is a system. Systems thinking means striving to understand the relationship between each element. And this is where the organisation's values make their entrance. Values are a loadstone, a core/central element in culture that brace (link) the other elements; in particular, the four central pillars of organisation culture: purpose, diversity/inclusion, brand and speed.
Ultimately, the true measure of a leader isn't what they achieve while in office – it's what they leave behind. That even after the heaviest storm … you can still clearly see their footprints in the sand.
Without effective succession planning, tomorrow will, at best, be a replay of today. Here are 10 ways in which succession can fail and how to avoid them.
1. Lack of direction from the Board
The ultimate accountability for succession lies with the HR Committee of the Board, but it is no less a fiduciary responsibility for the CEO and the top team. Indeed, anyone privileged enough to hold down a leadership role has an ongoing responsibility to develop a successor.
The need? A far more rigorous approach to Board selection. A periodic assessment of Board "fitness for purpose". A regular review of governance provisions. Appointing adjunct Board members with specialised experience and know-how – for example, organisation culture, technology, the succession process.
2. A broken or incomplete process
A flawed process has one defining characteristic – it's not going to take you where you need to be. Conversely, a meaningful process displays all the attributes of a good map. It allows you to identify where the beginning of the journey is, where you need to get to and the key steps along the way.
The need? A rigorous and transparent succession process that allows the Board to understand the thinking and methodology behind "the names on the charts". A succession process that delivers a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage.
3. Confusing 'succession' with 'replacement'
'Succession' and 'replacement' planning build on very different assumptions. Replacement is essentially tactical - a contingency plan to put into effect should a mission-critical role unexpectedly become open. Succession is strategic - it's about tomorrow's leadership.
The need? Recognise the inherent value of both replacement and succession but don't confuse the two. Leaving a mission-critical role unfilled for an extended period of time can be horrendously expensive. It may even put the very future of the business at risk.
4. Casting too wide a net
The shorthand for focus is "less is more". This is especially the case when it comes to succession. The challenge? To identify mission-critical roles.
The need? Restrict the work on succession at the top of the organisation to mission-critical roles – the roles that really matter; the roles that, if filled poorly, can sink the ship.
5. Confusing 'high performance' with 'high potential'
Like riding a rocking horse, not everyone who 'rocks' is going places. It's a mistake to assume that outstanding performance translates into high potential.
The need? Define the specific competencies that describe future success in both the mission-critical role and the generic competencies that capture what it means to be 'high potential'. Selection isn't an exercise in abstract thinking. Make both succession decisions and identifying high potential candidates evidence based.
6. Poorly defined leadership competencies
A leadership competency describes future success in the role. It also captures the behaviours that separate an outstanding performer from one who is merely middle of the road. Three common pitfalls: falling back on generic terms; a myopic focus; relying too heavily on the manager in the role to capture the characteristic of future success.
The need? A comprehensive, up-to-date library of future-looking, thought-leadership-based, context-oriented, role-specific leadership competencies that embrace leadership balance.
7. Future culture is a "best guess"
Your culture is your brand. Succession based on wishful thinking is to place a blind bet on the future without any understanding of what you are actually betting on and without appreciating the damage you are doing to the brand.
The need? Responsibility for culture lies directly with the top team. What you don't measure, you can't manage. It is essential to (really) know: 1) where your organisation culture is today, and 2) where your culture needs to be to compete successfully in the future.
8. Coaching is "something we need to get to"
You can't grow the organisation unless you grow the people in the organisation. At the heart of 'growing' people lies coaching. Coaching isn't a 'sometime skill'. It's a systemic way to think about what it means to be a leader.
The need? As the business environment evolves, new knowledge, skills and capability are demanded. Without coaching, succession is an engine of future performance that is not firing on all cylinders. Those at the top must strive to become masterful in the art of coaching.
9. Misunderstanding what it means to be a team
It is little short of managerial incompetence to enter into the succession conversation without the key decision-makers stepping back to assess the future nature, needs and norms that shape the behaviour of the team(s) involved. And it matters … because tomorrow's organisation will be a team of teams.
The need? Factoring in the makeup and working approach of tomorrow's team(s) is a business imperative. As is uncovering meaningful ways to assess the team.
10. Succession candidates are poorly integrated into the new role
Derailment, no matter what form it takes, destroys value. If they don't land, they won't stay. It's not just a matter of fulfilling all of the requirements of the new role. The challenge is to do so as quickly as possible.
The need? A comprehensive executive induction process supported by both an internal mentor and an external coach. Assessment tools, access to supportive materials and the full support of both the hiring manager and HR are clearly essential. We have also found that a well designed and easy to access workbook is invaluable.
Most global executives are promoted or recruited into new leadership roles because of the education they completed, the experience they gained and the insights they bring to new business opportunities and challenges.
Experience alone can be a game-changer. Having learned the ropes once before, successful executives can leverage the lessons learned and confidence instilled in them from past employment, and parlay these assets into exciting new results for their next employer.
On the whole, experience truly is a gift for those who choose to learn - good and bad - from it, and those who learn how they must adapt in order to recognise how different situations, resources and people fit the current day and potential for tomorrow.
Yet experience can also cut the wrong way when an executive leader uses their experience in a past executive role as a crutch for justifying decisions or, worse yet, as a default setting to stifle new ideas and extinguish the flames of innovation that may seem strange, unachievable or simply unfamiliar.
Experience can be a divider
Consider the case of the globally experienced industrial leader who continually reminds his direct reports that, "I've been doing this for 20 years, so believe me when I tell you this is how it should be done."
Over time, this repeated statement rings like a bell of impending disappointment in the ears of those who hear it and, by now, have simply come to expect it whenever the leader doesn't agree with something new. It has become a divisive force within his organisation, yet he remains totally unaware.
In this particular case, experience has become a handicap. It can blind executives to new opportunities and new innovations. And it can also alienate others and polarise the very people he or she needs to mobilise to achieve the company's ambitious growth objectives.
What this particular executive leader fails to recognise is that each executive around the table brings their own unique sets of experience that inform their views, their values and the decisions they make about what's good for the organisation.
In continually reminding everyone of his experience, he unknowingly discounts and devalues theirs. He uses his experience as a bludgeon to cut conversations he doesn't like short and to remind his charges who's really in charge.
Experience, it has been said, can be a tremendous teacher. Yet, in this case, it can also be a divider.
Use your own experience wisely
As you continue to grow your own executive career, be careful not to use your own experience as a defensive shield or as a tool for quieting different opinions in your organisation.
If you play it just right, others will recognise your experience and what you've learned from it without you having to remind them of it.
Sometimes, if you listen intently enough, some of the most powerful lessons of your executive leadership career can come from some of the most unexpected places.
Too often, it seems, global executives tend to look up the chain of command for insight on a host of important management challenges. It's natural, after all, to seek to learn from the experience of more experienced and highly successful leaders for tips on balancing priorities, making sound decisions and taking calculated risks.
Yet some of the most telling and revealing lessons are often revealed where we might least expect it - on the front lines, in the trenches, so to say, and often, in the words of people who've walked distinctly different paths than our own up the corporate ladder.
Take, for example, the words of a schoolteacher who recently challenged some friends to look at little differently at their work, their aspirations and their lives, too.
As the teacher found himself defending his choice of a service-oriented career separate and apart from the upwardly mobile kind of business careers his friends had embarked on, he paused and ask them to think of something he long ago learned.
At some part, no matter how ambitious one may be or how determined to build a high-powered business career or reach the CEO's corner office, he told them, "At some point, you have to make a conscious decision to either live for your resume or for your eulogy."
Those words hit home, and spurred his friends to reflect on the paths they were then invested on in terms of job titles, salaries, and vacation accruals.
You see, while each of us is committed to our organisations, our employees and of course to our own career ambitions, we must take stock of what this commitment may be costing us.
Yes, it appears there is a cost, but it's simply not evident as we pursue the business priorities that tend to consume every working day, and then, each working week, and over time, another year.
The teacher's words struck a chord because many of us, perhaps having achieved some level of the kind of success we only dreamed of earlier in our careers, have already realised that a life lived mostly in business terms may yield terrific financial dividends but seldom delivers the kind of satisfaction we seek for fulfillment in our lives away from work.
For those of us who have already learned that what others most remember about us is how we made them feel, it's time to refresh our resolve to help others along the way toward achieving whatever corporate goals may lie in front of us.
And for those still dripping with ambition or simply too young to have achieved the kind of success than can empower a healthy and financially secure future, we can only wish you the schoolteacher's wisdom, because a life well lived will most certainly be retold in our respective eulogies and the titles we held and salaries we earned will only have mattered to ourselves.
A brand can be viewed as a competitive spear thrust into the marketplace. The value proposition sits at its tip. A truly winning value proposition spells out how the provider delivers distinct value. However, adding value versus creating value, prompts a very different way to think about business development.
The remote work trend that caught fire with Covid will get even hotter in 2022, especially for more lucrative positions. To put the magnitude of this growing shift in perspective, prior to the pandemic, only about 4% of high paying jobs were available remotely. Today, it's 18%.
Chris Swan and John Ryan share practical strategies to help you successfully recruit and hire the best remote talent from around the world.
1. Does your team regularly have a vibrant culture conversation?
Culture is the often overlooked, all-pervasive, enterprisewide, organisational DNA that dictates whether your strategy lands or if your brand sustains.
It's "a way to be" shaped by the past but continuously honed by the emerging business, social, economic, political and customer context.
2. Do you spend as much quality time on culture as you do on strategy?
It's become popular to use the expression "culture eats strategy for breakfast." It's colourful, catchy, engaging, provocative … and wrong!
In a world of uncertainty, the only thing that is predictable is that your strategy will be "subject to correction". Long after the strategy has been shredded, what will endure is the culture.
The new reality … culture enables strategy.
3. Is there clarity around what has made (and makes) the business successful?
A business exists primarily to create tomorrow's customer. Profit is obviously important but it's ultimately the outcome of doing the former well.
The organisation's culture delivers both the outwardlooking (why buy from us?) and the inwardfacing (why work for us?) value propositions. Of the two, the latter is more important.
If the brand promise doesn't live inside the organisation it can't live in the marketplace.
4. Are middle managers fully in the game?
No organisation of more than 150 or so people has one single and unified culture. The challenge becomes one of tight-loose leadership: allow local differences to flourish while, at the same time, develop an overarching 'meta' culture that ensures common values, consistency, connection, collaboration, caring for the customer and an unrelenting commitment to the whole.
And the group that binds everything together is the "middle managers". Moreover, they are the only group that can!
5. Do you measure culture?
If you don't know where you're going … don't be surprised if you don't get there. What we don't know we can't address. It's difficult to raise the bar if you don't know how high it is. It's essential, however, that the culture measurement express, in business terms, where the organisation's culture is (roots) and where the organisation's culture needs to be (wings).
If you don't measure culture, you can't manage it. No less important, culture is strategic. We need to understand both where we are and where we need to be.
6. Are all of the communication channels fully brought into play?
Today is the slowest things will ever be! Culture and change serve and support each other. In the midst of this ongoing tumult the question becomes "Who owns the culture?" The obvious answer is "everyone". A more considered answer might refer to the Board, the CEO or even the top team.
However, perpetuated through a need for inclusion, self-protection and loyalty to one's immediate group, it is the fluid and highly adaptable informal networks. And who "feeds" the informal organisation? Middle managers.
7. Do you hire/promote with "tomorrow's" culture in mind?
The world of work is changing and the very definition of "a job" is, perhaps, changing most of all. Into this maelstrom rides talent management. The metaphorical quarterback of talent management … who and how we hire.
Getting culture on the right track means identifying the right candidate. Not every now and then … but every time.
Who you hire determines what's possible.
John O. Burdett
John has extensive international experience as a senior executive. As a consultant he has worked in more than 40 countries. His extensive consulting around organisation culture encompasses, literally, some of the world's largest organisations. John's coaching work, meanwhile, embraces a number of international CEOs. His company, Orxestra Inc., enjoys a strategic partnership with TRANSEARCH International.