A Fish in Water

A tale of starting to work smarter during turbulent times.

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Working Smarter in Turbulent Times

There is an old phrase I love that goes something like "a fish is the last one to realize she is in water." It's a wise saying to consider during these turbulent times. Many of us can be like a fish in water as we read bad news about our industry, feel the impacts of cost cutting in our organizations and are compelled to perform in an overwhelming number of roles and responsibilities. We can start to confuse activity with accomplishments — and then like the fish, not recognize that we are in fact spinning. Trying to do more with less yet working in the same way we always have. But we shouldn't lose sight that it is exactly during these times that there are also big opportunities — because nothing promotes change like change itself. 

Iain and I strategizing in a meeting not unlike the one  where our "pattern interrupt" occurred.

Iain and I strategizing in a meeting not unlike the one  where our "pattern interrupt" occurred.

Swimming in Circles

Turbulent times can result in what psychologists call a "pattern interrupt." It's a time when we can take stock of how we are doing our jobs and how we can conduct our activity in a more efficient and effective manner. 

We founded Sunexo because of a "pattern interrupt." Iain, Paul and I were working on a major linear project in Alberta using a non-industry specific tool to track our client's stakeholder engagements. Paul was involved as the president of one of the largest land companies in Canada. He had held numerous senior regulatory positions including head of regulatory at Alliance Pipeline and Director of Land and Environment of Enbridge's Northern Gateway. He was and is considered one of the top energy sector regulatory experts in the country. Iain then, as now, was a senior Solutions Architect who has created successful business-based software solutions in the energy sector for organizations such as the Alberta Energy Regulator, Worley Parsons and HMA Land. I was manager of the first dedicated stakeholder information management (SIM) department in Canada. Having founded the department (and coming up with the term SIM) I was working with many of the biggest players in the Canadian energy industry by managing the stakeholder information tracking and preparing for their various project applications.

We were all working on this one particularly complex and challenging linear project. The software we were using for this project was a good off-the-shelf solution for general stakeholder engagement, but had minimal customizable or configurable options to adjust to the very specific regulatory process we were undertaking. As a result, entering data required numerous time consuming work-arounds and in the end I had to go to the client one month before their filing and tell them the only way we would be ready is if we scrapped the software and started over again using Excel. My team and I worked weekends and late evenings all month to make the deadline. All of this during the month of December.

Paul presenting at the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project joint review panel hearing.

Paul presenting at the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project joint review panel hearing.

Finding a Better Way

After working through the holiday season, I sat with a beer in my hand discussing my frustration at how all of the software solutions we tended to use seemed designed to force a business to work around the software — rather than the other way around. Iain also believed that there was a significant missed opportunity in the energy industry around analyzing the vast amount of stakeholder engagement data being collected and extracting usable intelligence from it. Finally Paul said, "why don't we build a better solution?" We looked at each other and realized that we were like fish in the water — trying to find success via heroics rather than pausing to ask if there was a better way.

Software made for the

Stakeholder Engagement Community

We founded Sunexco Solutions from our experience in the energy industry.  We have developed Sunexo on the following principals:

   1     Our solutions must be based on the business requirements, not the other way around. We will ensure this by providing industry specific solutions.

   2     We will not simply be a software company. Rather, we will partner with our clients and provide services to ensure their continual success.

   3     We will treat our clients like a community. By partnering with them, we will share the collective best practices among them.

   4     We will continually strive to improve our solutions to meet the changing regulatory and business requirements of our clients. 

   5     We will do more than provide tracking solutions to our clients. We will provide world class analytic capabilities to help them make better decisions during their stakeholder engagement activities.

Over the years we've become friends. This has included Paul passing on his love of endurance sports which culminated in me competing in Paul's Calgary IronMan race.

Over the years we've become friends. This has included Paul passing on his love of endurance sports which culminated in me competing in Paul's Calgary IronMan race.

We have now been around for over three years and have built a strong reliable team and partnered with a diverse set of energy companies. I am very proud of what we have accomplished to-date. Our excellent relationship with our clients demonstrate to me that we are and will continue delivering on our principals.

If your organization is experiencing a "process interrupt" we'd like to meet with you and discuss how we could partner with you to deliver smarter, more cost effective and industry specific solutions for your team and organization.

Interested in learning how IRIS can help your company or organization better manage stakeholder engagement? Call or send us a message and a Sunexo representative will assist to find the solutions that work for you or to schedule a demonstration.

Chad

chad@sunexoinc.com 

Kristen Riley