THE AVERAGE UTILITY EXECUTIVE IS A "'NAVEL-gazing'" introvert, according to Frank Ruotolo. But that executive isn't alone.
Ruotolo is president of The Futures Group, a Connecticut company that has examined how much time U.S. executives spend looking at external factors - new markets, competition, regulatory constraints - versus internal factors such as budgets, organization, and human and capital resources. (The definitions above are his.)
The Group's most recent study of execs in the water, gas and electric utility industries, and their compatriots in many other sectors, revealed similar results in all industries. Those industries include telecommunications, health care, pharmaceuticals, industrial products and services, consumer products and services, and financial services.
Some 48 percent of planning time is spent on external factors. Utility executives averaged 49 percent.
Other findings from the utility respondents:
• 51 percent don't feel comfortable forecasting company performance beyond one year, and 74 percent said they can't forecast comfortably beyond two years.
• They rated the effectiveness of their strategic plans at 6.4, on a scale of 1 to 10. (Telecommunication company execs ranked the effectiveness of their plans at 5.2.)
• The top three external factors executives believe they will have to face are the political/regulatory climate in the U.S. (77 percent of respondents), competitor actions (20 percent) and the international political/regulatory climate (14 percent).