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Rick Jamison: Managing Change In The Utility Industry

MuniBilling is highlighting expert CIO Rick Jamison to help give readers an in-depth look into the world of Utility Billing Systems.

For today's Ask The Expert blog, we’ll focus on change management within the utility billing industry. Learn best practices for how to tackle change head-on and how to prepare you and your team for what's next for your organization!

So, Rick, how would you define success for an organization with change in mind?

To succeed in any organization, you must consistently reinvent who you are as an individual and how you work and help to influence positive change.

To maintain harmony between success and change, one would see the two as the perfect fit. If we are constantly changing, then the appetite to refocus is always satisfied by that change. On the flip side, change is often complex – particularly corporate change.

Change in the corporate world means breaking up well-established, seemingly functional processes and reevaluating those daily routines that provide us fulfillment and comfort in our workplace.

Then what would you say is the solution for those individuals leading through corporate change?

To embrace “Bite-Size Transformation.” One of their leadership models in influencing change involves the principles of Direction, Alignment, and Commitment (DAC). A term introduced by The Center for Creative Leadership.

Direction would be your end goal. Alignment is getting your team on board and involved while also getting them excited. And commitment is starting the process of change while navigating and problem-solving throughout it.

DAC is a fantastic framework to influence change management, especially for utilities, and has been exceptionally useful in my career.

Is there anything one should take precautions for when approaching change?

Setting forth change in any organization without an end goal is like driving across the country with no GPS or map.

To establish a direction in your department or entity, you must start by clearly defining your end goal.

  • Is it increased profitability?
  • Maybe you’re looking for greater efficiencies?
  • Is it happier customers?
  • Employee retention?
  • or maybe it’s a combination of multiple goals?

I can remember a time in my career when we begin by establishing 5-year or longer plans. Then we would start with defining a 3-year planning window. However, in today’s rapidly changing world, a 1-year planning window is sometimes more than enough to tackle.

Taking all of this into consideration, what would be your final advice for someone tackling change right now?


Utilizing DAC – Direction, Alignment, and Commitment- will help you organize your team through corporate transformation.

As a leader, you must understand your team’s ability to adapt and help influence that change. Keeping positive, establishing direction, getting alignment and agreement, and acquiring team buy-in is crucial for ANY organization’s change, especially for those utility entities that bill for utility services.  

This will require more coaching, mentoring, and leadership through the difficult seas of change.

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