What’s In a Job Title?

What’s in a job title?

Well, quite a lot actually. A job title not only depicts the work performed, but whether you like it or not, it can define who are and how others see you.IMG_1683

Most offices have support staff and EnergyLogic is no different.  Our scheduling staff is busy behind the scenes working with field staff and clients to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, regularly performing a few minor miracles.

Anyone who has ever spent ten minutes in the scheduling office knows that the work they do goes well beyond scheduling.  When you call a doctor’s office to set up an appointment, the clerk will look for an opening and plug you into a time slot that works for you.  THAT is a scheduler.  While no job title can do complete justice to one’s work, EnergyLogic decided that our scheduling staff deserved a title that better defines their job and skills.

Scheduling ratings and audits requires a complex knowledge of the field work and clients, exceptional mental dexterity and attention to detail, superior analytical ability and, through it all, excellent customer service skills.  After much debate, discussion, and surveys, “Scheduling” is now known as, “Logistics/Customer Support” (although CEO Steve Byers aptly labeled their office door, “The Magicians”).

Job duties haven’t changed and they aren’t offended when referred to as “scheduling,” but officially, their titles have changed to reflect the complexity of the work performed.

So, what’s in a title?  Acknowledgement of a job done well.

Laurie Hindman.0012

 

Laurie Hindman
Human Resources
EnergyLogic, Inc.

Jilted

When my daughter and her first real boyfriend broke up, I said, “Honey, it’s not that he’s a bad person, but he’s not the right person for you. He doesn’t see your complexity and your depth. When you’re in the right relationship, you’ll not only feel appreciated and seen, you’ll both be able to be the best people you can be. In a good relationship, you help each other grow.”

But you know how it’s easier to give advice to others than to give it to yourself?DashByEL_LogoRGB

When I first got the message, I was a little heartbroken. Our DASH client—a client we loved! A client on whom we had lavished attention!—was leaving us. And for what? For a come-hither CRM that doesn’t even come close to the depth, the breadth, the specificity, the thoughtfulness of DASH.

IMG_1683As it turns out, our main cheerleader on our clients’ team had left, and so for some time they weren’t really using DASH well or fully. They just couldn’t take advantage of DASH’s complexity and depth. And they weren’t right for us for another reason—our best clients make DASH better by using it. They are committed to the same things we are at EnergyLogic—data, efficiency and consistency, industry specific process and best practices. DASH is very flexible, and we learn a lot by seeing how our peers use DASH to run their companies—and when they have a fabulous idea or a new need, we design it into our software. The relationships with our clients allow DASH to be the best software it can be.

The next day, I walked in on a demo with a new client who was thanking Kathleen profusely for all the thought and care that has gone into developing DASH. They’d been searching for solutions, he said, cobbling together systems—and here it was, already complete. Pleased, of course, Kathleen thanked him for the appreciation, but said it would never be complete. “Our industry is complicated, and always changing. We need to be constantly growing as well.” With the right relationships and the right clients, we will.

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Wynne Maggi
President
EnergyLogic, Inc.

Why does EnergyLogic Perform Home Energy Ratings and Audits?

mgmt campOur management team recently took some time to step back from day-to-day operations and look out into the future.  Too often we are heads down, buried in the weeds and in fire fighting mode.  What I liked about our recent review was that we took a slightly different approach to looking at our business.  Instead of focusing on our shorter term metrics and trying to figure out how to improve, we stepped a bit further back and started with a more fundamental question, “What is our purpose?”

Not  “our purpose” in some existential way – but what is it we’re trying to accomplish as a company and what is the purpose for each division or business line.  The question seemed simple enough at first – I recommend you try it with a small group of people, on any business activity you do.  See if everyone has the same perspective.  My guess is that you’ll be amazed at the directions the conversation will lead.

Once we had discussed the purpose for something, we next had to figure out where we wanted to go with that purpose – we didn’t want to end up like Lewis Carrolls’ characters from Alice in Wonderland:

Alice:  What road do I take?
Cheshire Cat:  Well where are you going?
Alice:  I don’t know.
Cheshire Cat:  Then it doesn’t matter.  If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

As I thought back on some previous meetings we’ve had, this exchange kept playing in my head.  Let’s do this.  Let’s do that.  All legitimate paths – but often without enough thought on what was at the end of that path.

Using the, “What is our purpose?” exercise as a backdrop, the path analysis became far easier.  We just had to ask ourselves, “Does this path lead to something that supports the stated purpose?”  If it didn’t, it was likely time to look at other paths.

What I really liked about this was that it applies to almost anything you might want to do – buying a car, picking a school with your son or daughter, choosing a restaurant and certainly, thinking about your business.  If you can accurately define for yourself why you want to do something like home HERS ratings or home energy audits, you’ll be far better able to define what path to take.  Maybe more importantly, you might find you’re not on the right path and you can save yourself a lot of time and money by looking for other ways to get to where you want to be.  Try it out; see if it helps.

 

Will Lorey
COO EnergyLogic, Inc.

The Game of Life at Work

There are always thankless tasks. In every job, however fulfilling, there is some gack, some bleh. And in some jobs, there is quite a lot. I’ve been thinking about what makes work fulfilling in spite of its… “workiness,” in spite of the seemingly endless chores and frustrations.

photoLast week our staff taught me something about this. I’m sure I don’t need to tell any of you that one of the jobs with the highest tiny-thankless-task ratio belongs to the office manager. She/he takes care of anything and everything that goes wrong, from the phones (when dealing with phone companies was my job, I didn’t even both to call without an entire bottle of wine to calm me during the hours it takes to sort anything out with Sprint customer service) to the bats in the attic (we really do have bats)to everything in between.

For our office manager’s birthday, our staff organized a surprise party. They bought an old “Game of Life” (remember that?) and several other old board games and spent a Saturday afternoon making the “Game of Debbie’s EL Life.” They covered over the game squares with the small daily frustrations and victories of Debbie’s job at EnergyLogic.

  • Ryland needs insurance certs again, go back three spaces.
  • Pirate Day! Steve brings beer to the office!
  • Kathleen panics over “missing coffee”
  • Switch to Verizon—iPhones for all! Move ahead three spaces.
  • You are hot. Laurie is freezing. Adjust the thermostat.

They made game pieces that look like staff members. (Charlie has a cotton ball for hair; they cut off Kathleen’s legs to make her short; Steve Eagleburger is a pirate.) They made “rater cards” that describe some of our favorite photo (2)and funniest energy raters. They each bought little five dollar gift cards to some of her favorite stores for prizes. It was an extraordinary effort on a Saturday afternoon, but it was so much fun that they said they worked on it longer than they thought they would-and it didn’t feel like work at all.

After work on Wednesday, we all went to a nearby restaurant for margaritas and nachos and watched Debbie play the game. We all laughed and laughed-and we agreed, for any of us, this “Game of Life” would be the best birthday our colleagues could ever give us. Because in addition to the obvious appreciation and caring they expressed for her, what the game really said was…

We see you. We see what you do.

Chores and frustrations only make work unfulfilling if we can’t see—or we don’t think our coworkers see– how all the little things we do contribute in a meaningful way to the company as a whole.

 

 

 

Wynne Maggi
President of EnergyLogic and EnergyLogic Academy

 

 

Keep That Cash Flowing

Are you the one that does your company’s billing? Are you also the one that can’t ever seem to find enough time to do it? Hopefully this will make you prioritize better when it comes to this particular administrative task. 

Many small companies are run by the owners. Owners tend to love their core work, and strategize how they will get more of it. What they don’t often want or like to do are the many small administrative tasks that are key to keeping them in business. Billing is not fun, but if you want to put food on the table, it must be done.

The single most beneficial change we made to our internal accounting procedure is that we made billing a timing priority. We used to bill only once per month. Since changing the timing to once per week where possible, we have managed to spread our cash receipts over the whole month, instead of receiving them in big chunks that have to last until the next one arrives. Customers are just like you. If they do not receive a bill, they will not pay.

So, if you can carve out time to spread out your invoicing, rather than jamming it all into a couple of days at the end of the month (or even later), then you will find that your mailbox will always have something in it.

Janet Howard
Controller
EnergyLogic & EnergyLogic Academy