Staying Connected

Megan Lum

Every Friday, I, along with every PG&E employee, receive an e-mail from the CEO.  It provides a link to the CEO’s blog in which he shares the issues that are on his mind – issues and challenges facing the company, how we’re going to rise to meet them. He also recognizes employees and teams for their successes.

The title of the e-mails (and the blog) is always the same:  “Staying Connected”.  When I first joined PG&E I thought that was a clever play on words; after all, we are a utility.  It’s our business to help people “stay connected”.  Recently, during a particularly busy day at the office, it occurred to me that “staying connected” isn’t something that’s only applicable to the CEO.

During the course of a typical business day, I have interactions with many people.

  •  Working with my direct reports.  We update each other on current hot topics, what progress has been made on projects, what steps were to come next, with whom we had to partner, how we are going to communicate and where we are going as team.
  • Meeting my internal business clients.  I meet with the leadership teams of my internal client business groups regularly.  We talk about their issues, how Environmental Operations can help them face those challenges.  I also provide updates on new requirements their team may have to comply with in the near future, and work with them to achieve compliance.
  • Working with a cross-departmental team.  We were pulled together to address a concern by one of our external customers.  Before our initial meeting, there’s a flurry of e-mails to prepare.  What message would we send?  How do we send it?  How do we address their concerns?  What do we need to do before we meet?
  • Maintaining external/agency relationships.  There are meetings coming up with some regulatory agencies to review the work done to date on plans to be submitted for their approval. We confer internally to go over questions, options and expected questions.  Then, we make sure we provide open, transparent and clear communications with the agency to demonstrate our commitment to compliance and doing the right thing.
  • A former colleague contacts me via LinkedIn.  We exchange e-mails and catch up on what’s happened since we worked together.  It’s always great to keep in touch; plus those former colleagues are always valuable resources when I’m trying to solve a particularly difficult issue.

As environmental professionals, it’s imperative for us to keep the communication flow going in order for us to be successful at what we do.  At the end of the day, it’s clear that “staying connected” is a significant portion of my job.  I “stay connected” over the phone, face to face, by e-mail and by social media.

How do you stay connected?


About Megan Lum

Megan Lum is Manager of Environmental Operations, Shared Facilities for Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

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  1. Stephen Evanoff

    July 30, 2011


    Thanks for your blog on this important topic. My biggest challenge staying connected is that today’s technology creates the illusion of communication and intimacy. Often, these type of contacts lack the depth needed to truly develop relationships and understanding. One can become prone to quantity over quality of contact, which can lead to a situation analogous to the difference between being busy and productive. In my role, I’m learning that there is no substitute for direct, thoughtful, face-to-face contact to become truly connected.

    • Megan Lum

      August 5, 2011

      That’s a very good point, Stephen. I absolutely agree. As part of staying connected, I make it a point ot meet face to face with all of my direct reports and key internal business clients on a regular basis. This extends to the regulatory community as well. Meeting face to face really does provide the foundation that makes the other forms of communication more productive. Hmmm – this might be worthy of another blog post!

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