Kenya Power partners with McKinney Rogers to drive sustainable Organisation & Culture Change

Kenya Power (formerly known as KPLC) is a state-owned corporation or parastatal responsible for the transmission, distribution and retail of electricity throughout Kenya. KP owns and operates the national transmission and distribution grid, and retails electricity to more than 1.5 million customers throughout Kenya.

The Company is ISO 9001:2000 certified and has been in existence since 1922, when it was first incorporated as the East African Power and Lighting Co. It is also listed in the Nairobi Stock exchange. KP employs and aims at retaining highly competent, motivated professional staff in order to meet corporate goals. Today the workforce numbers 10,000 staff.

KPLC had for many years suffered from negative perceptions including corruption, poor customer service, slow response times, lack of a performance - based culture and over charging to make excessive profits.

In January 2010 the CEO and his Leadership Team decided to undertake a corporate rebranding exercise that would include a culture change program aimed at aligning the brand promise of the organization to the expectations of its customers and other stakeholders. This program would ensure the new Kenya Power name, brand, Vision, Mission and Values were built by and entrenched in the staff so that they understood, believed and reflected the brand promise.

In one of the biggest bets of his career at the company the CEO made it a priority to “return to the basics” and to deliver the highest quality customer service by ensuring the entire team lives the organizations’ values. To achieve profitable growth through enhanced core customer execution, he and his team identified the following themes for improvement: the need to create and roll-out a new corporate identity: a new strategic road map driven by a transformational Vision, communicable to the entire organization; behavioural change from top to bottom; a performance-led culture; capacity building to sustain the brand internalization program for the long term; the development and establishment of measurement tools for continuously monitoring and evaluating individual and team performance.
A consortium of Ogilvy the advertising agency, SBO Research and business execution professionals McKinney Rogers was hired to deliver rebranding, organisation & culture change. McKinney Roger’s engagement was continuous from 2009 - 2013

McKinney Rogers’ role
McKinney Rogers deployed their Business Execution Operating System for
    1. developing the new Vision, Mission and Values
    2. immersing the Top 600 leaders of KP in the Vision, Mission and Values
    3. cascading the CEO’s annual plan down through the organisation to the Branch Business Heads annually
    4. developing, building and running a Dashboard with which the 450 leaders on the program could measure, monitor and course correct their annual plans and performance annually
    5. providing Business Performance coaching to everyone using the Dashboard
    6. Knowledge transfer in Year 3-4

    Phase 1 - Mission Planning
    The first step, in January 2010, involved working with the Management Committee to define the Purpose / Mission of the new organisation, to describe the Vision to which they wanted to get, to lay down a road map of how to get there, and to ensure that the final strategy was highly communicable, simple and easy for all staff to grasp

    Phase 2 – High Performing Teams
    Using their “HPT program” McKinney Rogers gathered a special group from all ranks and functions representative of KP to discover, develop and build the new Values of the organisation.
    Once the Vision, Mission and Values had gained Board approval, McKinney Rogers cascaded, embedded and immersed the Top 600 leaders through a series of 24 experiential 3 1⁄2 day workshops between March and July 2010.
    Designed to align the company’s culture, people and behaviours, the workshops took individuals out of their comfort zone and dissected the communication and management process. Applying real life problem solving scenarios, role playing challenges and other techniques, the workshops illuminated weaknesses and opportunities for improvement in the existing approach. The senior management as well as junior employees were exposed to one another’s challenges, limitations and perspectives. The workshops ensured that company employees were committed to new performance goals, as they developed both team and individual action plans that focused on behaviour in order to build a culture of High Performance.

    Phase 3 - Mission Alignment
    From July 2010 through June 2013 McKinney Rogers were charged with cascading the CEO’s annual business plan down through 5 layers of the organisation to the Branch Business Head (where “the rubber meets the road” in terms of execution and implementation of the strategy). The Mission Alignment process was used to drive alignment, clarity and focus onto the key deliverables. It was also adopted as the way to cascade annual performance objectives. Finally it was deployed to create and clarify interdependencies and accountability.

    Phase 4 - Mission Dashboard
    The final critical component of the McKinney Rogers Business Execution Operating System was the development and execution of a Dashboard that allowed KP to track and measure progress in real-time nationally. The Dashboard was used at Kenya Power from July 2010 – June 2014, with over 450 senior staff from CEO downwards monitoring their progress in real- time on a web based tool that generated accountability and transparency.

    Phase 5 - Mission Status Reviews
    Leveraging the data and trend analysis supplied by the Mission Dashboard, the users were now able to have performance based discussions using facts and real time data. McKinney Rogers helped to coach this radical new way of thinking in, enabling teams to meet monthly, talk openly about performance, conduct root-cause analysis and formulate actions based on team consensus.

    Phase 6 – Knowledge Transfer
    McKinney Rogers always plan their exit and it was important to the Steering Committee of the overall project that the staff were able to conduct such programs internally. By July 2013 a core team of 24 internal Champions had been trained to run the annual cascade and dashboard themselves. McKinney Rogers continued to provide the tools and some oversight coaching.
The realignment and integration has been a major success. Supported by McKinney Rogers and our partners, Kenya Power executed one of the largest and most complex change programs in recent state corporation history, including:
    1) Aligning people vertically to the strategy and horizontally to their peers
    2) Driving a performance based culture.
    3) Unifying a code of behaviour based on 5 core Values.
    4) Creating an outwardly focused organisation proud to serve.
    5) Increasing Customer Satisfaction score from 55% to 69%.
    6) Maintaining its position as one of the Nairobi Stock Exchange’s Top 10 performers

Results over a sustained 6 year period have been extraordinary:
     Revenue rose by 71% from USD 660 Million to USD 1,131 million from 2009 to 2015, with Profit before Tax up by 160% from USD 47 m in 2009 to USD 123 m in the same period.
     The number of connected customers has increased by 185% from 2009 to 2015 from 1.26 million to 3.61 million, a critical Government KPI.
     A robust transmission and distribution program has seen the National Electricity Access increase from 25% in 2010 to 47% in 2015.
     Formation of Strategic Financing Partnerships has reduced the cost of connecting power to an individual by 2900% from USD 350 to USD 11.6. As at June 2015 this has benefitted over 370,000 customers.

The CEO, who was promoted to Principal Secretary for Energy in July 2013, has the final word: “Our partnership with McKinney Rogers has transformed our way of thinking and ensured we achieve the extraordinary. The Mission Leadership and High Performing Teams workshops have enabled us to distil company objectives into individual and team goals, to measure and empower staff to monitor their progress against these goals, and to support and coach our teams. The Mission Leadership process is responsible for our focus and achievement on customer experience and the results we delivered”