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Driving Change: Discover How NRG is Building a Culture of Learning and Growth

Ask questions, be curious

Driving Change: Discover How NRG is Building a Culture of Learning and Growth

Ask questions, be curious

Published 06-06-24

Submitted by NRG Energy

Originally published on NRG Insights

By NRG Editorial Voices

Culture in Focus is a series highlighting the people and culture that make us who we are. As we continue to advance, we understand the importance of not only sharing our journey, but also the values that drive us. Through these conversations, we want to pull back the curtain on our vibrant culture to showcase the stories that power our purpose.

Part two of our series features Dak Liyanearachchi, Chief Data and Technology Officer.

Born in Sri Lanka, Liyanearachchi lived in the U.K. until just over eight years ago when he moved to the U.S. In another life he would have been an acoustic guitar player, but in this one he’s a deep thinker, Beyoncé and Becky Hill fan, and occasional hang glider.

To him, “The simplest way to talk about what I do, is to say ‘I look after data and technology’,” yet he does so much more. From encouraging curiosity to building a culture that promotes continuous learning, Liyanearachchi is setting the stage for growth at NRG.

Building trust through transparency

At NRG, trust and open communication are the pillars of a successful culture. These two tenets are particularly important when collaborating across teams, a process that occurs here every day. In his third year with the company, Liyanearachchi is no stranger to using transparency and connection as a vehicle to drive that trust and open communication in his role.

“For me it's around how do I support you and how do I make you successful? The trust comes from being open, transparent, and creating connection. Connection is really important because it breaks down barriers.”

These practices facilitate smoother conversations, guarantee that everyone's voice is heard, and streamline problem solving. Our company’s continuous growth is propelling us toward a common purpose, and open communication will be the key to achieving that. While silos foster division, collaborative teams create room for diverse perspectives and better outcomes. By bolstering a connected culture, we’re building a solid foundation for future innovation.

Permission to fail

No question is a dumb question. In fact, Liyanearachchi would prefer you ask him about something as many times as it takes until you understand it. This value of psychological safety is one that is shared by many at NRG.

Liyanearachchi advocates for creating an environment where everyone feels safe enough to fail. This mindset provides an open space for teammates to excel, while also promoting the curiosity and perseverance they need to keep trying.

"I try and push the teams by empowering them to take some of those decisions. To do that, I have to be comfortable that everything may not work out the way we want it to. My ask of the teams is fail fast, but ask questions if you don’t understand."

At NRG, we believe success is a journey of trial and error. Through our triumphs and reworks, one thing has remained constant — having team support along the way makes it that much more impactful when we finally achieve our goals.

There’s always room for improvement

There’s no growth in stagnation. To Liyanearachchi, learning and growing is a unique journey with no finish line — in his own words, you’ve got to, “keep putting your hand up to learn more and do more.” That’s why we’re always eager to listen, adapt, and evolve at NRG — it’s how we stay in tune with our customers’ needs.

"From an improvement perspective there's plenty of growth. In terms of opportunities, we are evolving from a traditional energy company to a consumer company. If you ask how many companies have done that, I'm not sure there are many."

As the world continues to modernize and technology becomes smarter, our teams are understanding every day what it means and what it takes to power a brighter future together.

Want to connect with Dak? Visit his LinkedIn.

Did you miss the first installment of the Culture in Focus series? Read more about NRG's CFO Bruce Chung.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Culture in Focus series.

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NRG Energy

NRG Energy

At NRG, we’re bringing the power of energy to people and organizations by putting customers at the center of everything we do. We generate electricity and provide energy solutions and natural gas to millions of customers through our diverse portfolio of retail brands. A Fortune 500 company, operating in the United States and Canada, NRG delivers innovative solutions while advocating for competitive energy markets and customer choice, working towards a sustainable energy future.

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