CPS Energy Collaborates to Create a Shared Vision

Interaction Associates helped design and facilitate a collaborative process to help CPS Energy craft a vision every employee would own.


CPS Energy (then City Public Service), under the leadership of CEO Milton Lee, wanted to move its culture from one of top-down autocracy to a more collaborative, team-based environment.

How Interaction Associates Helped

CPS chartered a diverse, cross-functional team, called Jupiter Team, which embarked on a Board of Trustees-driven Visioning and Audacious Goal Development Process. This was intended to create shared understanding, alignment, and ownership of its Big, Audacious Goal (BAG), and its implementation throughout CPS — not just within the executive management team.

CPS had a vision and a set of stated values, but many people in the company felt little connection to them. The Jupiter Team quickly decided it was imperative to create a process that gave all employees the opportunity to be heard, and to have their input considered as the vision was created. Meetings were scheduled to give all 4,000 CPS employees an opportunity to participate.

The Jupiter Team divided the effort into two phases. Phase I focused on identifying Core Values and Core Purpose. The team enlisted 77 Jupiter Team Ambassadors to help conduct small-group meetings throughout the company to gather input. More than 160 meetings were held in Phase I alone. CPS executive input was gathered at the regular employee meetings, with employee input and executive input being given equal weight.

According to Jim Collins' Three Circles model, a critical success factor for any Big, Audacious Goal is that its focus reside in the intersection of the Three Circles:

  • What can you be the best in the world at (and, equally important, what can't you be the best in the world at)?
  • What drives your economic engine?
  • What are you deeply passionate about?

Phase II focused on the development of the BAG and Vivid Description. In meetings, employees were asked to share their thoughts on what CPS was passionate about, what we could be the best at, and what drives CPS' economic engine. The Jupiter Team recognized that development of the BAG was more a creative and strategic effort, and development of the Core Values and Purpose was a discovery effort.

Once input was received from throughout the organization, the Jupiter Team considered the responses to the three questions and looked for groupings that fit in the intersection of all three "circles". The Team then conducted several meetings with executives and the Board of Trustees sponsor to discuss possibilities for the BAG. Finally, the team held a work session with the CPS Board of Trustees to answer their questions and get additional input before the final BAG was approved by the Board, approximately one year from kickoff.

Return on Involvement

By operationalizing Collins' work through a collaborative process, CPS not only defined and created a plan, but also put itself in an ideal position to realize its goal with the full support of every employee.

IA Services Provided

  • High-Stakes Senior Team Meeting Facilitation.
  • Change Initiative Design and Management.

Project at a Glance

Interaction Associates helped design and facilitate a multi-stage collaborative process involving 4,000 employees.

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