We describe this show as a podcast for clean economy CEOs, investors and the people who advise them. As both an investor and an advisor, Graham has a foot in two of those categories. But he’s also one of the few people in cleantech who have served in elected office. Mayor Graham Richard served the city of Ft. Wayne, Indiana from 2000-2007 before taking the reins at Advanced Energy Economy to advocate for pro-sustainability policies.
Graham is now a senior advisor at the San Francisco-based investment fund, Finite, a perch that gives him a window into a number of leadership teams. But he was involved in clean energy long before it was cool. Graham is a cleantech “OC,” (“Original Cleantecher”) who installed the floorboards on which many of us now stand.
Here are the highlights of our conversation with Graham.
3:52 – All top-performing CEOs have five things in common:
1.) real passion
2.) purpose-driven solution
3.) ability to tell the company’s stories
4.) they build a trusting environment
5.) a digital-based platform that can scale
- 7:58 - Leaders set the direction, passionately lead in a way that others will be inspired to follow, and keep the team focused on executing the business plan. It’s both a mindset and an experience set.
- 12:18 - When he invests, he evaluates the collective strength of a leadership team by looking deeply at the relevant experience of each team member.
- 15:03 - The “Delegate, dump, delay and do” approach serves can remind teams of what’s most important for the business to execute next.
- 17:45 – Five years from now, fossil fuels will be the “alternative energy,” creating tremendous demand for trained workers. And more and more clean economy CEOs will come from a wider variety of backgrounds.
- 24:32 – Cleantech is at a stage where commercial innovation and customer demand now drive public policy. It’s no longer the other way around.