A large number of facilities with widely varied uses—administration, classroom, laboratories, athletics, parking, medical, etc.—a diverse group of occupants, long operating hours, multiple funding sources, and consistent growth combine to make energy management at a large public university a complex undertaking. Lalit Agarwal, Director of Facilities Systems at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), recently presented a webinar titled “The Ins and Outs of Campus Energy Data” to explain how UNL has integrated numerous systems—including EnergyCAP—and internal teams to establish a program that is successfully reducing energy consumption across campus, while maintaining occupant comfort.
[Editor’s Note: Chris Heinz, EnergyCAP’s Vice President for Human Resources, is this week’s blogger. He brings valuable insights into the black box of corporate hiring procedures, and suggests a current methodology for maximizing value in the hiring process. Please read and consider sharing internally in your organization!] Here at EnergyCAP, Inc., we’re always looking for ways to improve so that our customers receive the best services, products, and experiences possible. One of these innovations is the hiring process. We’ve introduced behavioral interviewing into employee selection, which so far, has yielded nine excellent new hires in the last four months. If you come to Catalyst this spring, you can meet them.
High School Musical, released by The Disney Channel in 2006, was a huge success, nationally and in my household. The musical, which introduced the world to now mega-stars Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale, had many comic and poignant moments, but what has stuck in my head is the movie’s closing number, We’re All In This Together. Performed by the entire student body, the song emphasizes the importance of acceptance and working together for a common good, and the value that each individual brings to that effort. That melody often comes back to me when I’m participating in a family activity that has been labeled undesirable by at least one of our four family members. It was also the first thing that popped into my head when pondering energy management challenges common in decentralized institutions. Could yours be one of them?
We've all been in this situation before. Your supervisor asks you to step into her office, or your boss sets up an unexpected lunch meeting. All of the sudden, you're in an unwelcome feedback situation. Something has gone wrong and you're not sure how to respond. What do you do?
I used to keep my email inbox open all the time while working. One monitor displayed my active project—a spreadsheet, document or web browser—while the other monitor displayed my inbox. This way I could stay on top of everything at the same time. I was king of the world. But then a coworker suggested I didn’t have to work with an open inbox. At first I didn’t trust him. It seemed unproductive, irresponsible, and rude. But one day curiosity got the better of me, and I closed my inbox. I liked it so much that now I always close my email during focused tasks. I think you will, too. Here are four quick reasons why:
Is the success of your work day based on approval? If so, author and speaker Seth Godin might nudge you in a different direction. Godin, whose books on how ideas spread and how to be a change agent have become international bestsellers, challenged a standing-room-only crowd of 14,000 in Boston last week to give up the search for permission and approval from the powers that be, and to take personal responsibility for organizational success. I was in Boston to attend the conference where he spoke, and would like to share workplace lessons from his talk in today's blog.
Last week I attended a live presentation by bestselling author and TED talk speaker Dr. Brené Brown. Her 2010 Ted talk, “The power of vulnerability,” is one of the top five most viewed TED talks ever, with more than 21 million views. But last week she didn’t talk about vulnerability; instead she spoke about having emotional courage in the workplace. In this blog post, I’d like to share some takeaways from her talk. Before you roll your eyes and “get back to work,” stay with me. Emotional courage is needed at work. But first, a story.
I attended the Global Leadership Summit a few weeks ago. In its 21st year, the live event was broadcast to more than 250,000 people in 120 countries. The speakers were very encouraging and provided thought-provoking content about what it means to grow and excel as a leader. Here are 14 quotes from the summit:
Among our blog audience, there are readers who are absolutely head-over-heels-in love with managing energy. They think energy, they speak energy, and they have cute energy quotes in their email signatures. But not all of our blog readers are passionate about managing energy. Can they still be successful in the energy management industry? Or is passion absolutely essential for energy managers?
Presentation = Opportunity A presentation is an opportunity to share your grand idea. It’s a (relatively) brief moment in time to shine the spotlight on your vision, and to get the support and recognition that you deserve.
If you haven’t been professionally trained in giving great presentations, you can still give professional presentations. Like Russian nesting dolls, great presentations have parts that fit together...but only in the right order. For your next presentation, remember these indispensable parts.
Last month’s Energy Leader Webinar featured EnergyCAP’s own SJ Bergman, one of our senior implementation engineers. As an energy manager who meets regularly with her peers in the field, SJ shared 10 Tactics of Successful Energy Managers. Tactic #6 was all about communication, and we thought we’d share her perspectives (and some of our own) in today’s blog. Communication is an important task for today's energy manager. Employers across the country are looking for communication and presentation skills as part of the energy management skill set. It’s not enough just to superintend the data. Now you have to be able to share it with proficiency, in ways that are meaningful for multiple audiences.
Increasingly, energy managers must present ideas to groups of people. Whether it’s proving return on investment for an upcoming purchase, sharing the results of an energy efficiency project, or enlisting coworkers to conserve energy, these ideas are important. Images of all types are valuable for communicating meaning and adding clarity to a presentation. A picture is worth a thousand words (cliché alert!), but few energy management professionals have been trained in maximizing the visual impact of presentations. Today's blog offers suggestions for avoiding clichés in your presentation visuals.
As an energy management professional, there are so many “urgent” demands on your time. But President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated, "What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." This is a valuable perspective for an energy management professional! Eisenhower is credited with developing a simple tool that can be used to ensure that important tasks are getting our time and attention. It has been called the Eisenhower matrix. We will introduce the tool in today’s blog, and share a couple of examples illustrating how you can use it.
Today we take a moment to reflect on the event that changed us 13 years ago. I visited the 9/11 Memorial. After walking through security like I was boarding a plane, I entered the courtyard. I arrived in a group, but broke off on my own. I felt I should walk this memorial alone. Two great pools of water sat in the courtyard. Water poured down one level, creating soft walls. Then it poured down a second level and into a hole, the bottom unseen. Each pool is where the buildings belonged, those buildings now crumbled and gone.
As an energy management professional, you may have to give a presentation with slides to an audience. A lot may be riding on the quality of your presentation. Perhaps you have to prove return on investment for an upcoming purchase, share the results of an energy efficiency project, or enlist coworkers for an energy conservation initiative. Whatever your purpose is, chances are you haven’t been trained in creating great presentations. Unfortunately in most organizations, high-stakes presentations receive low-stakes preparations. But your idea is too valuable to fumble, so why not take some professional advice from presentation experts Nancy Duarte and Dan Roam. Here are five tips for creating great presentations.
The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) is hiring for a position in energy management. We thought we'd post a portion of the complete employment description. The job requires, "working knowledge of utility management software such as EnergyCAP."
Note: This is a guest post by Kate Forsyth of Minol USA, an EnergyCAP user. Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Yet so much of our approach to education and work is steeped in learning the right answer or correct processes. It’s important to note that great innovators are the people who didn’t say “No” to seemingly impossible ideas. Instead, they opened their minds to the “What if” question and then worked on how to make it happen. For example, the Wright Brothers made bicycles before they created the first airplane that figuratively and literally became the runway to the future. How did two brothers go from making simple, two wheel vehicles to flying?
There’s no question that email has dramatically changed the workplace. Communication that previously required personal contacts by phone or in person can now be settled efficiently through instant correspondence. It’s hard to imagine life without it. In business, email has become a tool we simply cannot live without. But just because we CAN email doesn’t mean we SHOULD email. Like all tools, email should be used when it makes sense. We’ve probably all heard stories of email blunders, some simply embarrassing to the sender, but some with serious consequences, like losing a job or a friend. And we are all aware of the time burden that email imposes with its in-your-face presence! To help you avoid email perils, here are five tips for using email better.
Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has been our guide for this short series on Achieving Buy-In, and this final installment specifically addresses those power relationships where you are seeking to get subordinates “on board” with a new direction. Carnegie makes his point with a story about fasting:
Someone recently asked me what forces have helped me mature. That is, what factors were responsible for my personal growth? Although several causes came to mind eventually, my first thought surprised me—it was trials. According to Webster’s, a trial is, “a test of the quality, value, or usefulness of something.” Usually we like to avoid trials because trials are painful. When we propose a personal or professional development plan, we don’t propose the deliberate inclusion of trials. When trials come, we want to walk the other way. But trials can be powerful forces for good in your life. Here are five ways that trials can benefit you:
You devised the most brilliant energy management initiative in history. But your utillity accounting clerk was not buying it. When you pointed out the logical fallacies in his argument, he misread the tone of your email. Before you knew it, the facilities director was copied on the correspondence, and the plans for a vital software implementation for your initiative were scrapped. You might have felt like President Lincoln did, in this story from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:
I recently watched a powerful TED Talk by self-identified introvert Susan Cain. She believes that our culture rewards extroverts and ignores introverts, and consequently, our culture misses out on the benefits that introverts bring. This got me thinking about extroversion and introversion in the workplace. Do introverts or do extroverts make better energy managers?
Energy Managers—Do you know what your (future) employer is looking for? The energy management field is changing, so we thought we’d survey the current job openings to see what is expected of current applicants. Read on for some expected and unexpected results. 1: Energy efficiency expertise is still a core competency. Just about every employer directly stated or implied in the job description that the successful candidate would demonstrate personal competence in tracking, analyzing, and reducing energy use. And for about half of the job openings, the employer required Certified Energy Manager (CEM) professional certification (or equivalent) of job applicants.
In addition to working at EnergyCAP, Inc., I’m also involved in helping people from the Philippines. Our partners are local pastors, who despite other opportunities, have decided to live in a slum of Manila called Tondo. They do this in order to serve the "scavengers" or "slum dwellers," as they are called. Tondo is a notoriously violent place where there is little protection. So it shouldn’t come as a shock when the innocent are affected. But it shocks you anyway.
A few years ago, my family went on vacation to a resort hotel that offered massages. My wife said I should get one, so I made an appointment. “Your massage will be with Al Pacino,” the scheduler said. “With whom?” I asked. “With Al Pacino.” “That’s who I thought you said.” My heart skipped a beat. A massage with The Godfather? This was not the vacation I had signed up for. My mind tripped into WORRY mode. What had I gotten myself into? I was on pins and needles waiting for my appointment.
I heard a fascinating segment on National Public Radio last Sunday. It started with an audio clip of Carl Sagan, which piqued my interest since I knew that Sagan had died years ago. “I don't know why you're on Mars,” the dead man intoned. “But whatever the reason for going to Mars is, I'm glad you're there and I wish I was with you.” After the recording ended, the NPR news story continued with comments from a number of people who were busily planning to make the vision of a manned Martian visit a reality. The breadth of that vision was inspiring, and the story reminded me, just three short weeks past the unofficial deadline for New Year’s Resolutions, of the power of prioritizing. And it got me wondering how many visions we sacrifice when we choose poorly.
Which version makes a bigger impact? City receives $623,000. Part-time energy manager helps her near-bankrupt city to receive $623,000. The first version tells the facts—a city received $623,000. The facts are correct, measurable…and pretty boring. But the second version tells a story. There’s a challenge—the city is near-bankrupt. There’s a hero—the part-time energy manager. There’s a victory—the city received $623,000. There’s drama—you mean she was only part-time? However did she do it? The elements of this story create intrigue. You want to learn more. So to make a big impact at work, either in proposing a new project to your boss, getting buy-in from your coworkers, or influencing your audience, try telling a story rather than just telling facts. Presenting facts can be easier than telling a story—a quick Internet search can provide endless facts—but that doesn’t mean facts are the best option. Telling stories is better than telling facts because:
Note: This post doesn't have much to do with energy management--it's more personal than professional--but you may find it interesting and valuable. On Christmas Day, I went to the emergency room with pain in my left chest and trouble breathing. After a series of scans and blood tests, the doctors concluded I had a blood clot in my left lung. Officially it’s called a pulmonary embolism. “So I won’t be going home tonight?” I asked. The doctor’s serious, I-know-more-than-you look on his face answered the question. Apparently a pulmonary embolism is serious. Each year 60,0000 – 100,000 people die from it and it calls for lifestyle changes and regular monitoring. Oh Chauncely, please fetch my luggage and bring it to my room, we’re going to be here for awhile. Since checking in, I’ve been plucked, prodded, CT-scanned, MRI-ed, ultrasounded, medicated, IVed, examined. It’s a little more than my family and I wanted for Christmas. But this experience hasn’t been all bad. Here are 10 good things about my blood clot: