BE Leaders class at Basin Electric creates new mission statement and values

The BE Leaders group brainstorming ideas for the Basin Electric mission statement and values.

The BE Leaders program at Basin Electric was designed in 2017 as a way for employees from various facilities to learn how to become successful leaders and gain teamworking skills through meetings and projects. The recent graduating class began meeting in August 2022 and ended in June 2023. Part of their teambuilding came with a big task. They were asked to develop a new mission statement and set of values that best represent Basin Electric.

The process for developing the mission statement and values consisted of two full days of meetings for the BE Leaders group; one day for the mission statement and one day for the values. Each day included working in small groups with employees from different facilities and entire class discussions.

The first step in the creation process was to create a SWOT analysis, which includes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for Basin Electric.

Mandi Hetletved, Basin Electric business systems analyst at Headquarters, says the SWOT analysis was a new experience for many BE Leaders team members.

"For many of us, conducting a SWOT analysis was new and it helped us really focus on the overall big picture," says Hetletved. "Communication was key here because in the beginning we were all over the place with ideas, but by the end of the day we were able to compromise and come up with a mission statement the entire class agreed on."

BE Leaders team members come from different Basin Electric facilities, and overall their views on each category of the SWOT analysis were similar, but some of the differences gave employees a new perspective. 

"One interesting aspect that I took away from this exercise was depending on the background of the employee, we might not all think of something as a strength, some may see it as a weakness," says Hetletved. "I found this takeaway helpful at work by asking others for their input and not just assuming they are on the same page as me."

After completing the SWOT analysis, the team reviewed prior mission statements for inspiration and revisions. The class felt the statement approved prior to 2017 best resonated with the most people. After this, they reviewed mission statements of other companies and found most are short and include only a single sentence. Because of this, they revised the previous statement to a shorter version to ensure employees could easily remember and comprehend the message. The team also created a statement from scratch based off the strengths section of the SWOT analysis.

The next day, the group started coming up with ideas for the values. They split into groups and wrote down words and phrases they thought best represented Basin Electric. The entire class then combined each group's top five favorite words or phrases to make a bigger list. To narrow it down, they used a voting system including each member voting for their top five favorites.

From the results of the voting, the group decided to use six values. They went a step further and defined each value and created a theme statement that embodied all the values. The team felt definitions were important because each word could mean something different to one person than it might to another.

Both days included lots of discussion and debate on specific word choices, which Hetletved thinks stemmed from the team members being from various facilities.

Tate Hoffman, Dakota Gasification Company shift supervisor, felt it was important the BE Leaders team came up with a new mission statement and values because the group represented workers from all over the entire cooperative. 

"We were not from one specific facility, and we got together and we were able to agree on what we collectively feel represents us and our company," says Hoffman. "These words that are part of the mission and values came from our hearts."

Hoffman says a big takeaway for him is the importance of including key players in a project. Since starting the BE Leaders program, he has included more users to provide their feedback and review it to make decisions.

Both Hetletved and Hoffman emphasized the importance of teamwork they learned throughout the BE Leaders experience.

"We had 23 people in a room for two days, all from varying facilities, to create a mission statement and a set of values," says Hetletved. "We all knew the task at hand, and we completed that task along with providing our additional efforts of defining the values and creating a theme statement. Incorporating employees from multible facilities really allowed our work to provide an accurate representation of Basin Electric from multiple perspectives."

"Within two days, our class was able to collectively come up with two mission statements and a set of values including descriptions," says Hoffman. "At the beginning of the first day, I feared we would not complete the task by the time our session was over. It was astonishing how long we could focus on a single word or punctuation, but our class kept on going, creating, and editing, which showed just how much this meant to us and it was coming from our hearts."

Hoffman says if anyone has thought about joining Be Leaders, they should step out of their comfort zone and do it. It is an opportunity to meet new people and experience management in a different light.

The 2024 session of BE Leaders will begin in March.

The BE Leaders group during their mission statement and values meeting.

Mission statement: "We are a safe, environmentally responsible cooperative that provides reliable, affordable power, products, and services to sustain the quality of life for our member-owners across rural America."


  • Community: Serving our neighbors
  • Integrity: Doing the right thing. Always.
  • Reliability: Keeping the lights on.
  • Teamwork: Working together for the success of our members.
  • Safety: Driving our culture.
  • Adaptability: Supporting our members, today and into the future

Full list of the participants in the 2023 BE Leaders program included:

  • Johnathan Bahm, Menoken TSM
  • Daniel Bather, Deer Creek Station
  • Jenna Berreth, Headquarters 
  • LaDonna Carpenter, Headquarters
  • Travis Creighton, Dakota Gasification Company
  • Andrea Diehl, Headquarters
  • Hunter Eslinger, Dakota Gasification Company
  • Mitch Estabrook, Dakota Gasification Company
  • Landon Fuhrman, Headquarters
  • James Gardner, Headquarters
  • Mandi Hetletved, Headquarters
  • Tate Hoffman, Dakota Gasification Company
  • Shaun Hottell, Dry Fork Station
  • Kyle Kusser, Gettysburg TSM
  • Charlie Lee, Headquarters
  • Joey Mack, Antelope Valley Station
  • Matt Middlemas, Leland Olds Station
  • James Mosteller, Dry Fork Station
  • DeVon Perkins, Headquarters
  • Jonathon Sellars, Headquarters
  • Taylor Volk, Dakota Gasification Company
  • Patti Weisz, Headquarters
  • Roxanne Woeste, Headquarters