Dave Mutton, ex-Chief Executive

ElectraLink Ltd provides an electronic data transfer service that enables the whole UK competitive electricity market to work.  It provides this service as a monopoly franchise on behalf of the electricity industry and its income is controlled by a regulatory formula.

ElectraLink's management wanted to develop the company commercially by selling other data transfer services and related services to the gas and electricity industry.  As the skills needed to develop a commercial business are different to those needed to run a monopoly operation, I decided that running a MiND workshop might provide useful insights into how the current management team worked; and what might be needed to develop them so they could meet their desired objectives.

I asked the training company Extensor to run the workshop and to facilitate strategic discussions about how to develop the business.  The team comprised three electrical engineers and one accountant.  Not surprisingly, the MiND analysis showed we all tended primarily to use the 'reasoning' part of our brains.  Surprisingly, the junior member of the team, the Technical Manager, had a much better balance between the 'reasoning' and 'spontaneous' parts of the brain and had the potential to be much more creative than any of us realised.  Over the last two years we have evolved his role to make greater use of his creative talents.  He now works largely at home and has developed a conceptual model for the new world of smart meters, which could make the difference between ElectraLink growing or dying.  Without the insights the MiND tool provided, I would have kept this guy nailed to the technical detail that he was good at without realising his potential in other areas.  Now he’s doing what he really enjoys and is many times more valuable to the business.

Following the workshop we kept thinking about the MiND profiles of myself and the rest of the senior management team.  We were still not satisfied that we were succeeding in the developing the business in the direction we wanted and came to the conclusion that, although we had all the necessary skills to react to our client’s requirements, we lacked the skills necessary to build the emotional and empathetic relationships necessary to sell our new product and service offerings.

We therefore decided to bring in an interim manager with business development experience to review our strategy and help us identify what was missing.  As a result of this, we recruited a permanent Business Development Director who has transformed the standing of ElectraLink in the industry and placed us very well for winning vital new business in the growing area of smart metering.  Despite the undoubted skills of the senior management team, the MiND workshop highlighted the fact that we were somewhat deficient in some aspects of our thinking.  Although we instinctively knew this, the MiND workshop gave us the 'proof' that we needed.

The MiND workshop not only acted as the catalyst for change, but it also gave us insights that led us to transform the company.

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