Meet Jim Lally, Director of Change Management at National Grid. Learn how he loves to cook, reads biographies, and expects a shift toward agile in change management.
Meet Jim in person at the Change Management for Utilities conference, September 17-18, 2018 in Palm Springs, California, where he will share how National Grid leads change in an agile environment.
Question: Name, title, company?
Jim Lally, Director of Change Management at National Grid
Question: Family, hometown, where you live?
I grew up outside of Philadelphia and now live in Manhattan with my wife, son, and our dog, Lucille.
Question: What is your utility/change management experience?
I am new to the utility space, having joined National Grid just over a year ago, but I have been a change management practitioner for over 20 years.
Question: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
I love to cook for my family. I am also a big fan of hiking and camping. Sometimes, my happiest place is just reading a good book. I love biographies of historical figures.
Question: Notable achievements?
My most notable achievement is raising a bright, inquisitive, sensitive and compassionate son. He is the best! Another notable achievement was graduating Summa Cum Laude from my master’s program, earning my master’s while working full-time with a new baby at home. I basically went without sleep for 2 years!
Question: Where do you see Change Management in utilities in two years?
I think we’re going to see an increasing shift toward a more agile approach in change management. The sector is changing rapidly, and customer demands will continue to evolve. Consumers are going to expect the same experience from their utilities that they get from Amazon, Zappos or Apple. We’ll need to be increasingly nimble in our approaches to help achieve that promise for our customers. This will require an infusion of agility into how we lead people through change and transition.
Question: What is your biggest challenge?
Change Management is still an emerging practice for many companies in the industry. As a result, there is a lot of confusion about what change management is and what practitioners really do. Driving change forward in the midst of this lack of clarity presents challenges. The other challenge is that change leadership is not often thought of as a critical leadership/management competency. With the pace of change in the industry showing no signs of slowing, it needs to become one.
Question: What did you do prior to working in your current role?
I had my own independent consultancy focused on Organizational Development, Leadership and Change Management.
Question: Who are a couple of your role models (and why)?
Dan Goleman is one of my role models. His work on emotional intelligence is at the heart of how I approach change. Ed Schein is another. Finally, Brene Brown. Her work on shame has been transformational in how I view resistance and how I intervene to try to bring people along.
Question: What is one of your biggest goals (in life or business)?
I want to become an author and lecturer. Eventually, when (if) I retire, I would like to go into teaching.
Question: What’s the biggest misconception you run into in your role (or what people seem to think about Change Management)?
I think a lot of people tend to think of Change Management and Communications as being synonymous. This tends to undercut the other work of change management – coaching leaders, understanding impacts and helping teams to adapt, engaging with stakeholders and driving sustainability of a change, etc.