EnergyCAP got some good news this month. We’ve been selected by the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to receive our fourth Partner of the Year award in four years. It’s also our second Sustained Excellence recognition. And we are in pretty good company—other corporations that made the cut include Boeing, J.C. Penney, and General Motors.
So what did our small software company do to stand in the midst of these corporate giants? You can look on the ENERGY STAR website for the “official” list of accomplishments, but I don’t think that really answers the question. Here’s my take on how Sustained Excellence happens at EnergyCAP.
I’ve heard our CEO, Steve Heinz, give many public presentations over the years, and one point he makes again and again is that our employees are dedicated to making EnergyCAP the best software it can be. We call it Product Leadership, and it’s the first of four core values that drive our company culture. There are lots of energy service companies doing lots of different things, but I believe that we’ve succeeded by focusing on the main thing.
In software development, a comma can make all the difference. As a company, we learned early on that attention to details is critical. And every year we get better at tackling the details. Our second core value is Operational Excellence.
Whether it’s staying on top of the latest technological advances, bolstering our quality assurance program, reworking our website, refining our budget processes, facilitating our client and prospect communications, updating our IT infrastructure, or any number of other processes vital to our company activity and our clients’ success, we’re committed to getting the details right. We’re not perfect, but we’d like to get as close as we can.
The third core value at EnergyCAP is Customer Intimacy. This value suggests a narrow focus, but my experience at EnergyCAP suggests that the EnergyCAP leadership team is just as committed to the employees as the clients. If I were to sit down and make a list of all the “perks” of working here, it would be a long one.
And that commitment goes beyond salaries and the snack closet. It extends to personal relationships. It’s about clients who are people and not accounts. It’s being able to sit down and pray with the company chaplain. It’s a departmental lunch with no agenda. It’s an office move this June so the whole company can be under the same roof again. It makes a difference when people care for people.
Our last core value is Good Stewardship, and it really is core to who we are as a company. In fact, years ago EnergyCAP used to be called Good Steward Software. The Good Steward reference comes from the Bible (you can read the story in Matthew 25). It’s a parable about a CEO and his VPs (OK, the Master and His servants). The CEO had to take a trip, and he left the VPs in charge while he was gone. He allocated a portion of his wealth to each. Let’s pick up the story where the master came back:
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:19-21, NIV)
There is something beautiful and fulfilling about good stewardship. It’s a value that many of us in the energy management field share (read David Ortega’s story about energy stewardship at the University of Texas!). It’s deeper than wealth, and wider than the balance sheet. And it’s a powerful motivator for sustained excellence.