Entergy CEO aims to inspire workers to become angels in the community

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / February 19, 2000

TAFT – Waterford 3 employees got a pep talk and more with the annual visit of Entergy Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Leonard to the nuclear power plant in his “Wayne’s Tour 2000.”His multi-media presentation featured movie clips, snippets of TV commercials, charts and graphs to illustrate his point at motivating employees to make Entergy an “immortal” company.

Leonard, backed up by employee attitude studies and the results of stocks and safety records, presented a picture of a company which has seen rough times but with the proper attitude can turn its frowns into smiles.

“We were headed for an iceberg,” Leonard commented, with a clip from “Titanic.”He admitted several shortcomings of Entergy, as one study showed leadership was a problem in the company. Among the attitudes reflected bymanagement, according to the study, were that management is “power- mad,” has the wrong priorities, can’t make decisions, is insensitive to employee and customer concerns and lacks interpersonal skills.

This last was no shortcoming to Leonard, who had his audience in the palm of his hand from the opening stanzas of J. Geils Band’s 1980s pop song,”Freeze-Frame,” which accompanied a video montage of Entergy employees at work.

Several concerns were outlined and laid out, including benefits, job security, an aging workforce and lack of communication with leadership.

Nevertheless, Leonard did have good news to report, from the 35 percent improvement in safety records during the past two years to the doubling of females and minorities in upper management.

A galley-slave scene from “Ben-Hur” went with comments about slave- driving upper management. Clips from “The Wizard of Oz” accompanied theinaccessibility of Entergy to customers.

Response time to incoming customer phone calls has improved dramatically, from 71 minutes in 1997 to 15 minutes in 1999. The percentage of busysignals dropped from 3.07 percent in 1997 to 0.15 percent in 1999, Leonardreported.

Meanwhile, a rolling outage which affected much of the New Orleans area on July 23, 1999 remains an embarrassment to the company.

“We’re trying the best at what we already do very well,” Leonard said.

During his 1999 visit, Leonard said the company would work at becoming more fiscally successful and socially and environmentally responsible. Inthese, he added, Entergy has made great strides, notably with the improvement in the company’s credit rating.

However, there remains much to do. Ninety percent of the nation’s wealth isin the hands of 10 percent of the people, and Entergy feels a responsibility to help.

“If not us, who?” he stressed. “If not now, when?”Leonard concluded his presentation by calling on employees to be angels in their communities, caring not only about their jobs but also their fellow employees, their neighbors and the world.

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