ENERGY COMPANIES ARE ADAPTING TO THE DIGITAL AGE. THEY NEED MANAGERS WHO CAN MOVE INTO THE UNKNOWN.
NEW BUSINESS MODELS MUST BE DEVELOPED THAT ARE APPROPRIATE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY.
17TH CENTURY: It was a wide, wide ocean, storms were pouring water over the railing into the hull of the ship. The weather was fierce, relentless. The speed of the storm varied, sometimes stronger, milder, more moderate. The sailors never lost sight of their main motive: trade. These were the days of the Dutch East India Company, which sailed across the blue of the ocean.
What makes energy companies great?
What is it that made the Dutch East India Company grow so quickly? Primarily it is group spirit – a group of entrepreneurs coming together to committ to a venture. It might pay off in a few months, or it might pay off years into future. Nobody really knows. But these entrepreneurs make an investment into the future of a certain venture in the hope that it might pay off eventually.
In this way, one avoids fragility that comes with divergent opinions. So the key to any successful organization or business is human relations, or in a modern context, leadership. Nowadays we call the corporate management of human relations HR or human resources. But it boils down to the relation the leader has to his team, the team to the leader, and the members of that team to one another.
1. HIRE HIGH POTENTIALS AND KEEP THEM WITHIN YOUR FIRM:
Why the energy industry focuses too little on high potentials.
To go a bit deeper, a leader has to convince his team that the objective one is after is worth the sacrifice. Now, we have to keep in mind that in the energy industry growth rarely happens quickly. The time horizon can be pretty long and as mentioned above, it can take years for a venture to pay off. The energy industry is not a glamorous industry and therefore requires more convincing to bring people on board.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that the energy industry must play the long game. Rewards can be great, sometime greater than in other industries but it takes time for these results to manifest. It is not exactly about money, but financial rewards play a big role. People who are good know that they are good. It is our task to be there in the first place and to work energetically for what inspires us about the energy sector.
In fact, the true high potentials in the energy industry are really motivated by energy as a business venture. What gets the ball rolling is the dream of creating a breathtaking energy business focused on success. The high potentials want to grow with the company, financially and mentally. Think of the Dutch East India Company: we started this conversation with the Dutch explorers who navigated the oceans. It is this idea that motivates high potentials in the energy industry.
THE KEY TO ACHIEVE MARKET DOMINANCE IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY IS LEADERSHIP: TO ATTRACT THE RIGHT TALENT, KEEP THE RIGHT TALENT, SET HIGH GOALS IF YOU WANT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF COMMITMENT TO THE ENERGY BUSINESS.
The East India Company was a powerful company in its time, just like Amazon is today. What the East India Company and Amazon have in common is this: They have an excellent sales platform, an extensive network that brings sellers and buyers together. Strategically speaking, their high potentials are working on building and expanding a comprehensive trading network. Both companies have mastered the interfaces of the economy of their time. Back then, spices were measured in gold, today data is considered the oil of the 21st century. Deploy your high potentials in strategically relevant areas of your company.
To achieve market dominance, let your high potentials work in strategic areas that are difficult for competitors to copy. This is a central pillar of market dominance. What is the spice trade of the 21st century?
2. Get MARKET INSIGHTS FROM YOUR YOUNGER EMPLOYEES.
Listen to those who come up with great new ideas to help drive your energy business forward.
The younger workforce has an advantage over older employees in your company: They are important buyers and consumers and determine trends: Where will the energy industry be in 10, 20, 30 years? Only they can say, because they are the ones who buy. This is particularly important in sales and marketing.
Trends fade quickly and consumer spending is made by younger people. You and your company should take this into account.
3. CASH IS KING: Cooperation between sales and business development is critical.
There is often a significant lack of communication between different work areas. This is of great importance when it comes to your business development team and your sales department. Interaction should be encouraged as the most viable ideas often come from the sales team. Sales are where income is generated, and without income there is no business. The core of modern business is information and the way information is exchanged.
On the other hand, business development provides the strategic backbone to drive the organization in a new direction. Both business units must work hand in hand to ensure the long-term success of your company.
4. ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE ON THE MAIN PRICE: Be very, very selective about who you entrust with strategic functions.
The key to the success of any strategy is always the person. Therefore the focus should be on human psychology and reading people. The focus should be more on finding entrepreneurial talent in your company, people who can develop new ideas on the spot and tell you without much effort how to get there. They will also be the ones who network with other companies and find ways to inspire others to join in.