Matthew Cohen Interviews Roderick Morris, Opower
Matthew Cohen, Energy Management Practice Leader with Direct Recruiters, Inc. interviews Roderick Morris, SVP, Marketing and Operations at Opower, provider of cloud-based software to the Utility Industry.
Roderick, one of your “Influencers” on your LinkedIn profile is Joel Peterson, Chairman of Jet Blue. What makes him an Influencer to you?
Joel is an incredibly successful business leader, investor, and teacher. I took a course in real estate finance from him at Stanford, and like many of my classmates realized that Joel was much bigger than any particular function or discipline. He is a very smart person, but the thing that runs constant to me across everything he does is a focus on integrity. You can see it in any of the posts he writes on LinkedIn.
Also on LinkedIn, the recommendations you received commend you on your leadership skills and abilities. What do you feel it takes to be a great leader?
If you’re authentic and decisive, it can make up for a lot of other flaws. There is plenty for me to learn in order to be a better leader, but people I work with seem to appreciate my direct approach and my passion for helping others achieve their goals without delay.
What are your thoughts on the looming global leadership shortage in the energy and utility industry? What actions should companies be taking now?
It’s impossible to create leadership experience out of thin air. We are always looking for talented managers we can pull in from outside. At the same time, domain experience is important and promoting from within must be part of the solution. Senior teams need to make bets on unproven talent now so that there is an opportunity to test and grow inexperienced managers. Along with that is a required commitment that the senior team invest more time coaching folks multiple levels down in their organizations. At Opower, we are growing quickly, and this sort of approach is necessary as we scale up departments.
As part of a Blog you wrote about recruitment and hiring, you made a point of saying that recruiting is at least 50% on the Hiring Manager. Why do you think Hiring Manager’s do not realize this?
Hiring managers might fail to realize that it is their duty to be an equal partner with the recruiter for a number of reasons. Sometimes they aren’t used to being in a demanding hiring environment with high standards and big hiring targets where it is all hands on deck. Or they might not understand that the only way a recruiter will find their perfect candidate is through a process in which the hiring manager and the recruiter iterate through a candidate pool and focus in on what’s most important. Finally, recruiting is a lot like selling; some people just don’t have it in them.