From Scott Carlberg

“Begin with Trust,” is an article in a recent Harvard Business Review. I read that and thought about the news stories swirling around Santee Cooper for the past several years. That includes the South Carolina Speaker of the House writing, “It has become my experience and the experience of House leadership and staff that the representations made by Santee Cooper Board members, leadership and staff are not reliable.”

It’s a cliché that being moral or a great corporate citizen means doing the right thing when no one is looking. Santee Cooper can’t be trusted to do the right thing even when people ARE looking.

But trust is essential. HBR said, “People tend to trust you when they believe they are interacting with the real you (authenticity), when they have faith in your judgment and competence (logic), and when they feel that you care about them (empathy).” (See HBR article for a full explanation)

Match that need for trust against a blog ECC ran recently about our electric service as an important part of our everyday life, and in the pandemic, electric energy is much more of a lifeline. That shows how absolutely important it is that the leaders for our electric power have the public’s ultimate trust. Earned that trust. Demonstrated that trust.

Technology is transforming the utility industry, resulting in evolving customer needs and the financial resources, and ability to plan and execute that are part of that progress. In a rapidly shifting environment, trust is essential that a company has the capabilities and will use them.

So it is trust and the wherewithal to act. A Forbes columnist says an “Agile” method is essential to succeed. “The cornerstone piece that makes an Agile method so effective in today’s world is its flexibility. Being flexible means you can pivot when needed. It means you can adapt on the fly to changes in the market, in technology, or in the testing phase.”

Limber, adaptable. Honest. Transparent. Competent. Being able to change in more than just increments. Not being restrained. These are traits we want in our families and friends. We should expect these characteristics from the organizations on whom we depend. Like our utilities.

Trust means that people know a company will do the right thing in the right way at the right time, even when it’s tough.

Not having a strong leadership trust triangle, or an Agile corporate culture in a company is, as the Forbes columnist says, “like building a house of cards in a hurricane.”