I was fortunate enough to win the coveted Outstanding Contribution Award/Energy Champion of 2016 at the Energy Awards 2016 and it got me thinking about how energy managers fit into the wider scheme of things and – most importantly – their value to organisations.
Those who “make things happen” used to be called “movers and shakers”, perhaps they could also now be called “disruptive” – a strange description worthy of detentions and corporal punishment when I was at school in another century. I prefer making things happen.
Having done lots of work with energy managers it’s very much a phrase which can be applied to them. Few job categories are required to be quite so challenging, innovative, persistent and persuasive of both financial and technical fields.
Making things happen requires a wide range of skills to be effective, especially over longer periods and is critical to understanding tactical and strategic training needs. It also requires a very clear and up-to-date knowledge of what’s going on both in the organisation itself and the wider sector and economy.
Compared to many other associated disciplines, energy managers are very results-driven. This may well be the key to understanding why they need to operate as they do – and why, because of the challenging nature of the role, they will not always be in the “most popular” category with their peers.
Knowing and working with large numbers of energy managers over the years has provided clear evidence of Making Things Happen, wherever they operate – significant changes in organisational behaviour, large savings in cash, carbon and kWh and key players in creating and maintaining long term plans to ensure that adequate investment is in place to achieved the desired targets.
Energy managers can’t make things happen by themselves, they need a large amount of support from colleagues, representative bodies and suppliers to be at their most effective.
Education and ongoing CPD are obviously very important, so is being kept informed about the many and varied elements involved in an increasingly complex industry. As a role, energy management is highly interactive. Key dependencies, from consideration of what is required to win a serious industry award, might look like this.
Information feeds – all those websites, newsletters, events, articles, magazines and company-specific reports and assessments which have to be read, digested and acted upon
People – colleagues, peers, network contacts, suppliers, educators and many more who interact regularly
Individual skills – not all energy managers were born that way, most skills are acquired over many years, both managerial and technical
Support from above – always important that seniors in an organisation are supportive
Good Fortune – there’s always an element of being in the right place at the right time
Recognising/taking opportunities – is really important. Winning awards can expand and diversify professional networks. Recognition is vital to those who make things happen and don’t just talk about making them happen.
Energy managers aren’t the only people in industry, commerce and the public sector to make things happen – but they are vital to meeting environmental targets at both a local and national level.
Organisations who either don’t have one or don’t treat the role as important within their structures would be well advised to think again.
Mervyn Bowden is the MD of Intuitive Energy Solutions.