With summer in full flow sport dominates the headlines.
We’ve had the honorable defeat of the Lionesses in the World Cup, Andy Murray’s Davis Cup triumph (let’s ignore his spanking at Wimbledon) and of course the Ashes which are currently 1-1.
While this is all good fun it occurs to me energy managers can learn a lot from sport.
A good energy manager has a rare skill set; we need to be analytical but creative, technical but personable, innovative individuals but also good team players. These qualities are all found in the world of sport.
As immortalised in the movie Moneyball, the General Manager of Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane, successfully assembled a winning baseball team on a limited budget. His staff improved results by using statistical analysis to make decisions on match strategy and transferring players.
This attention to detail, with the ability to interpret and act upon quantifiable data is essential to identify consumption anomalies and focus efforts on the problematic energy users.
Data use is also seen in Formula One, where race analysts employ telemetry to assess performance in real-time, making split-second decisions on whether to refuel, overtake or reserve efforts for the next corner.
Understanding the capabilities and limitations of technology, knowing when to defer to someone with greater strategic oversight, and a trust in team members are also essential skills for an energy manager to have.
Teamwork is in fact key to a successful energy reduction campaign.
A successful energy manager is dependent on the co-operation and skills of maintenance staff, project managers, finance and of course, the board of directors.
The ability to work with senior leadership teams is essential. However, the best energy managers are usually also mildly maverick.
Sir Clive Woodward’s 2003 Rugby Union World Cup squad is best remembered for that Jonny Wilkinson kick but it was effective defence and solid field play that gave England success.
Unexpectedly, amongst the team was winger Jason Robinson, who came from rugby league but managed to cross disciplines. Taking the unexpected route and learning from outsiders often yields surprisingly good results.
So, next time you feel aggrieved at not being permitted to listen to match results in the office, remind your senior management just how many lessons energy managers can learn from sport.
Georgina Penfold is the Category Manager for Energy Solutions at YPO, a not-for-profit procurement company that helps public sector organisations benefit from cost and efficiency savings.