October 7, 2014 Mike Nichols

Communicating for Buy-In: Tips for Energy Managers

It’s a question we get often:

“We have a culture of resisting change, so how can I assure we can sustain MPC-driven energy savings on an ongoing basis?”

Unfortunately, frustrated energy managers tend to be the rule more often than the exception when it comes to establishing a cultural energy awareness in manufacturing operations.  Even when upper management supports the mission, often there are layers that simply fail to echo their commitment.

Here are three of the best practices we’ve found among our clients for getting traction behind your team initiatives:

Communicate specific goals to stakeholder groups in their own terms.

Too often, initiatives (energy or otherwise) are communicated across entire teams in generic terms. Try crafting separate messages for each stakeholder group with well-defined goals provided for each.

Develop a “hero” mindset.

Perhaps the most impactful thing you can do is to connect the dots between the success of your initiative and the larger impact it will have beyond the plant floor. Does your team know that just one of them can save enough energy in the course of a single shift to (for example) heat a single family home for an entire week? Shouldn’t they?

Sharing success creates a more lasting effect than attributing failure.

People are happier and more mindful and productive when they are working to accomplish something good; than when they are simply working to avoid something bad. Apply kudos liberally on the good energy days/shifts; and reinforce goals on the bad ones.

Have more ideas and best practices for getting buy-in? We’d love to hear them!

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