The utility sector is in a period of reinvention. In the coming decades, nearly the entire power generating fleet in the U.S. will be replaced (no small feat for a sector with approximately $1.5 trillion in assets). Almost as dramatic as this infrastructure turnover is the leadership challenge facing the industry: more than half of the workers in the sector will retire during the same time period. At the same time, industry changes are disrupting the utility business model and new ideas about leadership models are emerging. As these leadership disruptions loom, the question is: are utilities thinking about the workforce of the future in the right way?
Our new white paper looks at how three trends are shaping the future of leadership in the electric utility industry. Workforce demographic shifts, transformative industry change, and the changing nature of leadership itself are three converging forces that will affect organizational decisions in coming years. In “Triple Convergence: Talent, Strategy, and Leadership Disruptions in a Changing Utility Industry”—a joint effort between the Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE) and the Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics (COLE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business—we outline this convergence and suggest that utility sector leaders need to look at these trends in an integrated way, rather than addressing them as separate challenges.
The paper summarizes insights gleaned from a forum held at Fuqua in July 2016 with senior utility industry executives, faculty experts, and management thought leaders. At this forum, industry executives discussed leadership best practices with their peers as well as with others from outside the industry to gain new perspectives. The paper highlights important considerations that utilities need to keep in mind as they talk strategically about these converging challenges.
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