Prior to 2014, Cobb EMC had a lack of alignment across the organization when it came to their strategy and performance management efforts.
Reporting was sporadic and methods of tracking differed across departments. According to Johnny Rainer, Contract Administrator for the organization, “Everyone’s interpretation of the importance and prioritization of goals varied greatly.” The not-for-profit electric cooperative based just outside of Atlanta decided to take action and build a comprehensive strategic planning process. They became more efficient and collaborative, while their priorities focused on target goals.
The Early Days and SWOT Analysis
What did their process look like? To start, Cobb EMC’s Board of Directors and upper management completed a multi-level SWOT analysis, identified high-level goals and refreshed the company’s core values to align more with member satisfaction and culture. In 2015, the organization focused on revisiting goals and aligning them with the company’s objectives. They performed another SWOT analysis led by an outside consulting group, which was significantly more enlightening than the 2014 version due to greater participation throughout the organization. By 2016, Cobb EMC had over 85 percent participation in their SWOT analysis. As a result of highlighting and communicating the relevance of strategic planning to employees’ day-to-day operations and long-term success, they were able to get employee buy-in on their new strategic planning efforts.
Enter ClearPoint and Centralizing Information
Fast-forward to 2017. Cobb EMC did tracking almost solely through Excel files, and found they often had multiple versions of reports as different people made updates to various files. Nothing was cohesive. They decided to search for strategy and performance management software to tie it all together. Cobb EMC ultimately chose ClearPoint as their partner in this process, and in Q1 of 2017, they began migrating all strategic goal data to the software. They created scorecards for departmental, divisional and corporate level goals and, for the first time, gave employees the opportunity to access real-time data in one centralized location.
C-level executives and the Board could now easily see and comment on the organization’s high-level strategy without getting caught in the weeds with operational data that distracted from big-picture conversations. According to Johnny, “The ability to export and communicate reports to division heads was immensely important to the updaters and administrators as it allowed them to more effectively provide a succinct snapshot of what they were doing to achieve their goals and what their progress looked like.” Plus, the intuitive and user-friendly design of the tool led to greater participation across divisions.
With effort on the front end, Cobb EMC was able to successfully transform a disjointed process into a streamlined system of efficient and effective tracking and reporting. “It’s cumbersome and discouraging to have to figure out a way for something to happen in Excel that you have to Google four or five times,” says Johnny, “Whereas with ClearPoint, I’m able to directly reach out to support for the help I need. That alone is absolutely invaluable to how we’re operating now and how we’re reporting.”
Powering the Future
Today, Cobb EMC is setting even higher goals for themselves for next year and beyond. The days of “cumbersome and discouraging” reporting are behind them. With an easy to use software solution to track their performance, Cobb EMC is more focused than ever on their overall mission: to safely deliver reliable, competitively priced electricity while being accountable to member-owners through sound governance, management, operating practices and improving quality of life in their local communities.