Intention into Action - Leadership Principles
Inspiring leadership principles helped one of the world's largest energy companies take their Climate and Renewables division from boutique to industrial in just four years.
When Düsseldorf-based E.ON wanted to transform their EC&R division, they knew major growth presented major challenges: Preserving their nimble, entrepreneurial culture, aligning their behaviors with the marketplace’s drivers and leveraging their existing brand’s strength. They knew they needed a set of leadership principles (a leadership brand) to fuel their growth, so they turned to Evviva to create them.
The company’s existing employees had been attracted by a desire to do something different in energy—something forward-thinking they could be proud to tell their grandchildren about.
We knew that as a growth company, EC&R had attracted people seeking a career that would reward those willing to push hard and take risks. And because this was part of E.ON AG, we knew there was substantial brand equity to leverage.
We also knew that the brand leadership had to come from the top, with looking at brand from a leadership perspective. So we developed a set of simple, universal leadership principles for EC&R based on the organization’s unique marketplace differentiators.
These principles provided a leadership framework for the organization’s growth. Each was linked to specific sets of behaviors that leaders throughout the organization would manifest in their daily lives, be held account-able to by their leaders and one another, and be rewarded for.
They were crafted to ensure that the feel of leadership—from open doors, open collars and open minds to a willingness to challenge agreed-upon decisions—didn’t change as the organization grew and more layers were added. And they simplified and clarified the parent company’s incentive scheme ensuring the right behaviors would be properly rewarded.
The principles approved, Evviva began a year-long rollout process designed to generate discussion, gather input and deliver ownership at every organizational level.
Through the entire cascade process early results were strong. The work was embraced by managers at every level as a simple, effective, honest and authentic culture capture. The principles have become a cornerstone of the organization’s decision-making process, influencing performance management, evaluations, pay practices and promotion as well as day-to-day operations at the manager and team level.
We’re pleased they’re credited with elevating “how we behave” to the same level as “what we produce.” We’re proud that today, nearly four years after their debut, they’ve become ingrained in the organization’s DNA and are the litmus test for decision-making. And as a result of this work, EC&R’s performance in the parent company’s annual attitudinal survey is exceptionally strong.
The work we commissioned Evviva to do delivered meaningful results and the value to the business exceeded the cost. The renewables business received top rankings in the E.ON Group on numerous dimensions of E.ON’s annual employee opinion survey (e.g. living E.ON’s values and behaviors, employees feel encouraged to put forward ideas and suggestions), and Great Place to Work Institute designated the business as one of the Top Employers in Germany…..
David possesses deep industry knowledge of the energy & renewables sectors and the ability to engage the most senior of leadership. He is personable and presentable in the Boardroom, and understands the pressures of business today. He was talking about “employee experience” as an essential part of the brand long before it became an HR buzzword, and he managed to get an entire Board not only behind, but actually engaged hands-on, in our quest to improve the end-to-end employee experience. Further, I can rely on him to be culturally competent in the most delicate of situations – with the most diverse stakeholders.
–Kristen Herde, Head of HR
And when the CEO asked us for a poster of the Principles to hang in his office? We’re not too proud to admit we called our mums.