CEOs have a responsibility to grow the next generation of leaders, George Aldridge told delegates in his keynote speech at CEO Close-Up.
CEO Close-up, organised by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), is an annual leadership summit providing electric co-op CEOs and general managers an opportunity to share ideas with peers from across the country.
Mr Aldridge, a retired U.S. Army colonel whose post-military career includes working with major corporations, said co-op leaders need to be creating a generation of “organisational patriots,” rather than “organisational mercenaries”.
“Organisational patriots live in a culture that they’ve internalised,” he said. “That leader has gotten them to internalise a culture of excellence. They have equity in the organisation. They do what’s right because they want to.
“An organisational mercenary would say, ‘I have to do my job well because if I don’t I may get fired.’ An organisational patriot says, ‘I want to do my job well because if I don’t someone might not get safe, reliable and affordable power.’
“It’s a huge difference.”
While working with the next generation is important, Mr Aldridge told delegates that growing as a leader is a “lifelong endeavour”.
“You have to constantly assess where you are as a leader, learn, adapt and grow,” he said. “If you don’t adapt you die.”