Case Studies

Vermont’s Energy is turning more green, thanks to Green Mountain Power.

GMP wasn’t always tops in energy programs, nor was it always high functioning in terms of management processes and customer relations. Both its internal processes and its programs lacked some essential authenticity and as of the mid-90’s its very existence was at stake. Mary Powell, who started as Vice President of HR and Organizational Development in 1998 and rose to COO, and later CEO, was one of the key contributors in shifting this organization from not-quite-so-good to great.

From a corporate office made of glass too big to fit the tightening deregulated environment and too small for some of the old school bureaucratic egos contained within, Mary helped navigate a move to a more intimate and collaborative space, formally the company’s tired but trusty service center. Changes were made both visibly and intrinsically.  What used to require passing through three separate anti chambers, each more intimidating than the next, to get to see the CEO face-to-face, now merely means looking over your shoulder across the open office layout for ALL employees, the CEO included (that’s Mary at her standup desk, in the photo below).

These culture shifts also included a colorful, banner draped central hub for employees to eat healthy food, meet, talk, and brainstorm– all representative of how Mary helped transform GMP into a culture where innovation replaced complacency and empowerment was more than just a tired buzzword.  Taking cues from current ‘best practice’ leadership literature including Jim Collins’ Good to Great and Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Peter helped GMP build on their core strengths by facilitating collaborative change and ensuring it was always in the competent hands of its emerging leadership.

Alongside Mary throughout her rise in success was Peter Cole, most recently as her Executive Coach and over 15 years assisting the organization overall with Leadership Development, Talent Management Systems and Communication Trainings.  Peter has worked with the leaders at GMP, knowing that good coaching includes team coaching, helping them grow sustainably while increasing productivity, maintaining their 98,000 customers while reducing their overhead from a somewhat indulgent 450+ to a lean 200 fully ‘empowered’ employees. It is now a truly collaborative organization where people are connected and happy and so are the Vermonters receiving their green yet affordable power!