Twenty-four years ago today, on Saturday 29 February 1992, I spent several hours in a meeting with my colleagues on Drax Power Station’s Executive Team. We met in the pleasant surroundings of a country hotel in Escrick, some five miles south of York city centre.
The UK’s Electricity Supply Industry had been privatised in January 1991, with Drax becoming part of the largest of the CEGB’s three successor companies, National Power. As the country’s biggest and most modern coal-fired power station, its performance was very much in the spotlight. In meeting at Escrick, our aim was to take stock of the progress achieved in rising to the immediate challenges of privatisation, as well as identifying further steps needed to develop the business commercially.
Unlocking organizational talent
As Business Performance Manager, it had fallen to me to design and orchestrate the station’s change strategy, Transforming Drax. This brought together a diverse range of actions, aimed at moving the business away from its public-sector past to a position of successful, self-confident, and far-sighted leadership in the wider generation industry. Crucially, this “transformation” was couched in terms of broad themes rather than detailed projects and programmes.