Case Study- First Utility

Case Study- First Utility

A challenge of growth

First Utility approached PDA in late 2014 for help forming a strong and consistent leadership culture.  As a fast-paced upstart challenger to the ‘Big 6’ energy companies, they had grown from 120 people to 600 in five years, and the business was taking off.  But to achieve their goals, the team needed not just to grow, but to perform.

 “Fierce has been used across the management community here at First Utility.  As a fast growing business Fierce has supported us, new managers, experienced managers and heads of department. Personally I have seen it used very positively to help individuals and teams. For me I see so many applications for it and have seen huge personal value in using it. If you are looking for something that will support your team or business I would encourage you to look at Fierce.”

- Ian Parry, Head of Customer Payments, First Utility.

Developing leaders to meet the challenge

To handle the growth, First Utility had to rapidly build a management team with many new hires.  The key was to bring everyone together to form an effective team, performing consistently through a common approach and shared culture. 

[HR director quote: “PDA really took the time to understand what we needed. They worked closely with us to develop and implement the program.  As a result, approval rates were over 90%”]

Working alongside your team

Recognizing that the key to performance lay in giving management tools to quickly resolve the issues of growth, PDA and First Utility drew up a program that would equip leaders to resolve issues, work out better ways of doing things, and hold each other to account constructively.  The backbone of this was the ‘Fierce’ © system, which gives managers tools to stop problems escalating, avoid micro-managing, and to institute accountability across the organization.

“I thoroughly recommend the Fierce Conversations development programme to all leaders and managers of teams; Fierce has provided me with a framework for tackling what I often presumed to be difficult conversations.  Not only has it allowed me to understand other people's reality and challenge my thoughts, it has helped develop relationships past where they originally were.”

Victoria Jones, Senior Manager, Credit and Fraud

Seeing the results

PDA worked with 200 leaders through 7 cohorts over 24 months.  Participants gave the program an overall 98% favourable score.  During the time of the project, First Utility added a further 500 staff, growing by nearly 50% and becoming the UK’s largest independent energy supplier.