Keller Kissam's Morning Pep Talk

May 6, 2018 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

Anyone who reads the news knows that SCANA is taking a lot of heat for their two failed nuclear projects right here in the Midlands. Kellar Kissam, Chief Operating Officer and President of Generation, Transmission and Distribution for SCE&G, joked, “You know it’s a good day when you look at the paper and you aren’t on the front page.” But even with all of the stress and uncertainty happening at SCANA, Kissam was able to inspire a room full of people who all jumped to their feet to give him a standing ovation when he finished.

“How are things at the power company these days?” Kissam began. “Well, it’s kind of tough. I think the two words to describe it better than anything else are fear & anxiety.” So, how do you handle the tough times when they come your way? And more importantly, how do you lead others who have found themselves, through no fault of their own, in the situation they are in?

First, Kissam says, “Don’t run away from reality. It is what it is.” And second? “Don’t be a hypocrite.” As a leader, people are watching you. A leader should walk the walk in the tough times, the same as they do when the sun is shining. When life comes at you times get tough, you have two choices (and yes, it is a choice!); Get bitter or get better.

There are two types of leaders. Kissam calls them “A leaders” or “B leaders”. An “A” leader looks at himself at the top of the organizational chart and sees all the people underneath as being there to support him. A “B” leader flips the chart upside down and sees himself at the bottom supporting all the people on top.

Another great tool for dealing with life’s problems is perspective. Kissam is responsible for hundreds of employees who work in the 6th most dangerous job in the world. “I tell my employees, you don’t have to like each other, but when you walk in that door and get in that bucket truck, you’d better love each other. You are directly responsible for the welfare of each other’s families. You carry that with you every day.”

Kissam also shared a personal story about his daughter who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 6. “At that moment, I didn’t care if anybody in the state of SC had power and it has not been the highest priority since. Our lives are not defined by what we do. Our lives are defined by the relationships that God has blessed us with through family and then everyone we come in contact with as we go through this crazy thing called life.”

Take a look at the video to see all of Kissam’s speech (and don’t miss the standing ovation at the end!). Mark your calendars for our next breakfast meeting on June 12.