Powder River Energy Corporation Energy & Utilities

Powder River Energy Corporation (PRECorp) provides electric service to more than 12,000 members throughout 16,200 square miles of Northeastern Wyoming.

The Challenge

At the beginning of a boom in the development of coal bed methane natural gas, PRECorp was experiencing exponential growth that they were completely unprepared to handle. The growth was occurring so fast and was so large in scope that organization processes were breaking down and employees were under a significant amount of stress. Mike Easley knew that the company needed to manage wisely through the change in order to survive. And as CEO, he wanted to lead the transformational change process. He started the process with the first-ever employee opinion survey, but the results were disturbing. Employees were not positive about the organization—or their leader. Mike explained, “Part of becoming equipped to lead involves facing reality, getting your thumb on the pulse of your people, and learning how they feel about the organization and your leadership.” He admits that some of the information was hard to accept—especially the personal attacks.

The Solution

So, he quickly focused on finding the courage to lead his staff to embrace his long-term vision of becoming a strategically aligned, values-focused, and member-centric organization with highly engaged employees. Mike enrolled in the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA program at Grand Canyon University and began his journey to leading at a higher level. His personal servant leadership journey led the improvement and change management processes for the company.

Mike developed and delivered his leadership vision and a complete restructuring plan to his Board of Directors and was given a green light to move ahead at full speed. Equipped with the skills and knowledge of Situational Leadership® II, Situational Self Leadership,and other Blanchard programs, Mike and his team were able to develop a strategy to hone leadership abilities and increase the overall organization effectiveness. They’ve worked diligently over the past few years and they are experiencing steady, positive results.

Results

PRECorp was able to meet the intense demands of the growth cycle and the latest employee opinion survey shows improvement in the executive staff, communication, cooperation, teamwork, and employee satisfaction scores. The American Consumer Satisfaction Survey scores also continue to show incremental improvement in customer service from year to year. According to Mike, “The relationship between improvements in our scores in these areas and the introduction and assimilation of the skills we learned from Blanchard materials is compelling.”

Mike and his leadership team believe that leaders worth following seek continual feedback, then do something with that feedback. In the effort to keep improving they are now engaged in a re-Visioning process. One-third of the company has had direct involvement working on PRECorp’s vision and values. They are developing stories that describe the future and defining behavior for their values. They hope to create a rich tapestry so that the vision they articulate, the values they describe, and the culture they define is one that is truly shared by the entire organization. The new vision created by this team will not look exactly like the one Mike prepared earlier, but he knows it will be one that inspires the 166 employees to renew and reinvigorate the cooperative movement in northeast Wyoming and one that shows what people can do when they strive to serve the greater good.

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