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Rehearsing CliftonStrengths' Successes, Live From London

Rehearsing CliftonStrengths' Successes, Live From London

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 7, Episode 47
  • Listen as, live from Gallup's London office, three guests share how CliftonStrengths is fostering change in educational and corporate environments in Europe.

Richard Harris, owner of EQ Coaching & Consultancy; Navneet Dhanjal, Sales Leadership Coach at BT; and Sophie Lawler, CEO of Total Fitness, were our guests on a recent special edition of Called to Coach, recorded in front of a live audience at Gallup's offices at The Shard in London, United Kingdom. The three spoke about their Top 5 and how they have seen CliftonStrengths successfully applied in their lives and careers. Jim Collison wrapped up the webcast with some observations about the global growth of the CliftonStrengths movement -- and Gallup's multiple coaching webcasts -- over the past 7 years.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison and live from the Gallup offices here in The Shard in London, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on December 4, 2019. [Cheers]

Jim Collison 0:18

Nicely done! Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us in the chat room. And even though we're live from The Shard, we do have a chat room available for if you'd love to log into that. It's actually right above the video window up there. There's a link to it -- join us on youtube; sign in there as well. If you're listening after the fact, you can send us your questions: Anna Sawyer is our host today and is our Market Leader for Strengths Development at EMA -- EMEA -- E-M-E-A -- how do you pronounce that? EMEA. That's new to me for some reason. And we are we are out of the London office today. Anna, it is great to have you on this Called to Coach!

Anna Sawyer 1:07

It's amazing to have you here!

Jim Collison 1:09

Yeah, we so we spent some time thinking about this, maybe I think even a couple years ago -- thinking about, like, what if we incorporated a live Called to Coach in this event. Today has been fantastic. Anything you want to share from just kind of today's session that we had here?

Anna Sawyer 1:25

Wow, I mean, just volume of learning. enthusiasm, inspiration. Crazy day. ... on slight overload, honestly.

Jim Collison 1:36

Have you guys had a good time here today? [Cheers] We have 3 guests that we want to bring up tonight -- 3 coaches that we want to spend some time with. And as they're coming up, one of the things I'm hoping is that the London evening will come quickly. We are really looking forward to having the lights come on for the camera as they do that. So I'm hoping here by the time we are done, we are seeing the bright lights and I think these coaches are a bright light to the work that they're doing here and around the world. So we're excited. Anna, why don't you take a second and introduce our first guest.

Anna Sawyer 2:07

Yeah. So I'm going to invite Richard Harris to come up and join us, please. Welcome.

Richard Harris 2:19

Thank you.

Anna Sawyer 2:19

You're in the hot seat, or hot stand!

Jim Collison 2:21

In the hot stand! You can pull the chair if you want to. But you're welcome to just just speak loudly into the mic there. Anna, introduce him as well.

Anna Sawyer 2:29

Yeah. So Richard is part of our alumni community here in London, well, EMEA. And you run your own business. It's called EQ Coaching and Consultancy. And I think you've been coaching a little while now. So glad to have you with us.

Richard Harris 2:43

Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here!

Anna Sawyer 2:47

First of all, I have to follow the inimitable Maika. Trying to do a good job of filling her very talented boots. Tell us your Top 5.

Richard Harris 2:57

Yes, so I lead with Strategic at No. 1; Communication at 2; Connectedness at 3; Activator and then Individualization.

Anna Sawyer 3:07

Fantastic. How do they kind of serve you in the work that you do?

Richard Harris 3:11

Well, I think discovering coaching, I found my thing. I mean, my my strengths really played to working with leaders and I enjoy complexity with my Strategic at No. 1. So the bigger the problem that my clients have, the better for me. My Individualization means that I can get right into the unique and special qualities of my -- my clients. My Connectedness gets to see how they function in their team. The organization as a whole gives me that micro-macro lens. And my Activator means that I can bring that energy and enthusiasm that comes infectious in my work. And my Communication means that I don't get lost for words in situations like this.

Anna Sawyer 4:04

Fantastic. Good for us. Tell us a little bit about the clients that you work with. I know you have a pretty unique client portfolio.

Richard Harris 4:12

Yes, so ... so prior to doing the ASC and becoming a strengths coach through Gallup, I was providing consultancy work into schools, and I was doing a lot of work around how we raised emotional literacy and intelligence in schools. So lots of work around policies and procedures with pastoral care with students and also staff wellbeing. And I found that there were some schools that I was working with where they were firing on all cylinders, and the culture was great, and leaders were doing their thing and they were doing it well. And in other schools, they were really struggling in those spaces. And so, so it led me to -- if I'm going to work with schools to help improve the lives of students and to get them performing and thriving, I needed the culture to be right in the school. And I needed to work the leadership to be able to effect that change, which is what brought me here. And, so I've been using my strengths coaching to work with education leaders, teachers, students and whole families as well. And, and now I've found myself working in the corporate sector as well. And cross-pollinating with my stories from the corporate world, the education world, and that feels -- that feels quite impactful on both sides.

Anna Sawyer 5:45

Fantastic. Tell us a little bit more about the work that you do with children and young people.

Richard Harris 5:49

Yeah, um, so I think I often get a call from a frustrated teacher or a parent pulling their hair out about a teenager that I don't know what to do with.

Anna Sawyer 6:04

We're not going to talk about me now.

Richard Harris 6:09

And my coaching conversations with, with children and young people is really about giving them a space to discover who they are and focusing on their strengths, which might -- for many of the young people that I work with, it's a question that is fundamental in adolescence: Who am I? And who do I want to be? And, and, and there's going to be huge parts of that equation that are going to be unresolved for a fair while yet. So I think that my coaching conversations with with those guys is helping them along that road, taking those first few steps and in asking that. And also helping them to distinguish what seemed obvious to them about who they are and what they're good at is genuinely unique to them. And opening their eyes to that's not how everyone else is. And, yeah, and I think that that's, that seems to -- that seems to land well in helping these guys adjust in whatever it is they're struggling with, to then be able to make those steps to -- whether it's increasing that performance at school and landing those grades that they want, or how they're sort of functioning at home or -- being able to rebel but doing it well.

Anna Sawyer 7:32

Very good. So interesting that you work with, you know, children and young people and families. When you think about that, how do you think businesses can maybe benefit from kind of some of the similarities or understanding some of the dissimilarities -- I don't know -- in those, those different groups?

Richard Harris 7:48

Yeah, well, so. So families are teams. And fundamentally, there's not really a huge difference in what I'm doing if I'm in a big corporate environment, working with teams, and, you know, who are you? And how do you function? And where's your best place? And what role do you provide? It's fundamentally the same question. And I think some of the presentation and execution is subtly different. But I think the principles are the same. I think where the cross-pollination that gets interesting is, so for my corporate clients, I use an anecdote from, from schools, from families -- well, that's entirely relatable. We all went to school, we've all got families.

Richard Harris 8:39

And I think also there's, I think there's real opportunity for businesses to see this isn't confined to a corporate environment. CliftonStrengths is a tool that's commonly found in a corporate environment, but there's loads faster applying in different places and different ways. And I think for business community, there's a lot of good questions out there about how we do flexible working; how we make, how we make our working lives for our staff, and more suitable to getting a work-life balance right. So there's an opportunity for businesses to have to bring in their, their strengths coaching to staff with the question, Well, how do you use it outside of work? How do you -- how could you use this -- you understand what your profile is now at work. What does that mean for your wife or husband and your children?

Anna Sawyer 9:45

Right, right. Interesting. Interesting. And I know you do a lot of work with schools and kind of in broader education settings. Do you see any kind of themes or patterns that are coming out of those environments?

Richard Harris 9:58

How do you mean?

Anna Sawyer 10:00

Is it -- are there certain kind of, you know, patterns of talent themes that you're observing, or?

Richard Harris 10:06

OK, yeah. I think with teachers, I think we often see a lot of Relationship Building themes. I think there's I, I think a lot of teachers get into it, not for money or fame, but because it's something they believe in and they care about and that is 9 times out of 10 students. And so, so it's not a huge surprise when you start seeing lots of Developer high. There's certainly a lot of teachers out there with themes like Restorative, I see that one frequently. And -- and Learner as well -- it's a passion for learning. And I think that's a really, really great thing to see in the classroom.

Jim Collison 11:00

Richard, have you seen the -- it go home? So the, you know, you're in the schools, you have teachers, you got the students. Does that make its way home, where parents start asking questions, or are you getting any feedback from home?

Richard Harris 11:12

Yeah, I mean, I think where I've coached families, whole families, that's almost always come from, I've been working with child you know, in their school, and and then the parents start asking the question, well, how can I make this work at home as well? That's good.

Jim Collison 11:33

Yeah. Kind of leisurely. How many are in the education space or are working in the education space now? Just raise your hand in here. OK, a few. Awesome. Maybe one more question.

Anna Sawyer 11:44

Well, as we're coming towards the end of 2019, what does 2020 look like to you?

Richard Harris 11:50

Gosh. My Futuristic's pretty low down, so -- in the here and now -- so I think there are, there are some really interesting clients that are going to start working with me next year. I'm really looking forward to doing some work in the creative arts industry, which is, well, that I've not particularly explored before. So that's, that's exciting and new. I think there's, yeah, there's some really interesting projects and some some lighting exercises that I want to get underway and yeah, really just looking to expand my my business and build on more of the same really.

Anna Sawyer 12:38


Jim Collison 12:39

Now before we let Richard go, one really important question I asked a few of you that we've been recording these night sessions. Fish and chips: What do you what do you dip the chips in?

Richard Harris 12:49

Mushy peas.

Jim Collison 12:49

Mushy peas! All right. OK. Let's give Richard a hand for his time up here, will you? All right, Guest No. 2, Anna. Who's coming up to join us next?

Anna Sawyer 13:09

Navneet Dhanjal. [Cheers] Hi! How are you? I know you'd like to be called Nav, but Welcome, welcome. And I'm going to go with a with a pattern here, Top 5. Let's start with that.

Navneet Dhanjal 13:28

Probably can guess from the way that I walk up. I've got Positivity is my No. 1. I've got Woo. And I've actually got the opposite of that next to it, which is Relator. So as much as I love to like get to know one, I also like to -- how do I get to know you at a deeper level as well? I've got Communication and Individualization.

Anna Sawyer 13:47
Fantastic. And thinking about your journey with strengths. I know you originally started with your own business, and as an independent coach. Tell us a little bit about what your journey has been -- that was ...

Navneet Dhanjal 13:58

Yeah, it was interesting. So my journey began being in sales leadership, and with sales leadership you got to develop high-performing teams. So this is like you're talking about the early 2000s, when no one even knew what coaching was. And then I began my journey coaching. I didn't know what was doing it until I started to find out more. And then the more I explored it, the more I loved it. And the more that I created that kind of a role within the business I was in -- I was working over at Carpin Warehouse. This is, you know, it was it was such a different time. And what -- my role was all about how you coach managers within the business after a while, and then I just went out on my own; I was like, I can do this.

Navneet Dhanjal 14:35

And it was -- I've had a brilliant career, wanting my business and have worked with Apple, worked with Atlas, worked with some really big companies. And then that sort of led me through that journey of being headhunted in between. I suppose in my head, I still feel like a freelancer, even though I'm currently working with an organization, because it was a challenge of that business that goes into it.

Anna Sawyer 14:56

Fantastic. So you're now with BT.

Navneet Dhanjal 14:58

I am.

Anna Sawyer 14:59

Fantastic. How's that going?

Navneet Dhanjal 15:00

It's brilliant. Yeah, it's been it's been 2 1/2, which feels like it's gone in seconds. I thought I would try it and see how it goes for few months; it's 2 1/2 years later, and I'm really enjoying it still. So that tells you something.

Anna Sawyer 15:12

That's good news.

Navneet Dhanjal 15:13

Yeah, really good.

Anna Sawyer 15:14

And you work with a really diverse group within BT, don't you, or groups, I should say?

Navneet Dhanjal 15:17

Yeah, that the role itself was brand new. They'd never done this before. So my role within it is leadership coaching, and specifically, sales leadership coaching. So it's never been done. They were the only group -- there's 4 of us for the whole country. And it was a little bit well-meaning but these -- that's what the setup is, is that we've got BT Enterprise, the internal sales group, but also we've got partners, which are very limited companies that sell to local businesses. And that was a really unique proposition. So the role really is how do you get those local businesses and the owners of these businesses to be excellent leaders and develop their own high-performing business. Yeah.

Anna Sawyer 16:01

And how big are those organizations, usually?

Navneet Dhanjal 16:04

The biggest one of those local businesses, about BT, there probably -- our biggest ones around 150; the smallest one, you're looking at about 15. So yeah, it varies; there's about 40 of them across the whole U.K.

Anna Sawyer 16:17

Fantastic. So when you think about that work that you've been doing, what do you think is working best?

Navneet Dhanjal 16:23

It's -- what's working best is listening. Because the old BT way, was very tell-and-command, which we've all learned today doesn't work. And the role, my role is really to help them start to think about developing. So it's, it was first things first, it was to listen and to understand what's really going on in their business first, before I go in with a big bunch of stuff that might make them a bit scared.

Jim Collison 16:48

Can I ask, how -- that listening phase can vary in time. When do you know it's time to -- might not say stop listening but to start acting?

Navneet Dhanjal 16:58

So my Positivity is all about -- there's only a certain amount of stuff that I can hear.

Jim Collison 17:03

Well, you're also Woo, which is not great at waiting, right?

Navneet Dhanjal 17:07

But my Relator really wants to listen, so I've got -- they're battling with each other. But the Positivity bit is when I've heard the same thing on repeat, I know that it's time now to move forward. So it can only listen, and now I instinctively know this moment I'm ready to take that to future state.

Jim Collison 17:27

Yeah, actually, I love that measurement moment, when you said when it -- when things start to repeat. And that, and that may be, I don't know, that may be a universal clue to some of even in our coaching sessions, when we begin to hear people repeat items that may be the time. Because we all we spend a lot of time listening, right? But there are times then to start moving.

Jim Collison 17:47

And so maybe even in the enterprise or working in the schools or whatever, right, listen for that repeat in there.

Anna Sawyer 17:54

So I think there's a mixture of maybe group sessions and individual sessions. Can you just share a little bit more about what that looks like?

Navneet Dhanjal 17:59

The role -- the role is quite an interesting one because it's whatever the right fit is at that moment. And so I've developed big programs around leadership management, helping them to understand it more about yourselves. Then also real one-to-one development with the owners and the sales directors and understand themselves. It's always a massive mix. And sometimes it might even be company stuff. So that's where some of the strengths stuff really comes in, like, brilliantly within that business.

Anna Sawyer 18:26

Fantastic. And with the enterprise business as well, you're kind of plugging strengths in?

Navneet Dhanjal 18:31

Yeah. So within with the internal team, is they're in an influencing role. Everything they do is -- they've got to think strategically; they also got to be influenced, because they don't own these businesses. So to build their own personal leadership style, understand what -- how their strengths can help those local businesses is immense. And within those businesses, there's a lot of conflict. And these are -- I don't know if any of you works in a small business, but it's, it's tough, it's a tough world. They're just looking at how they can stay afloat pretty much or how they bring the next money in.

Navneet Dhanjal 19:01

And that can go straight -- the Command theme come straight into play. And there can be blame, there can be conflict, there can be not understanding why people aren't selling. So strengths is coming brilliantly so they can understand each other a little bit more. They've had a lot more patience. We had like, a really amazing example of one manager that uncovered had really high, his No. 1 was Competition. So he was just annoying the hell out of everyone. I know, I know, because he was overusing it. So it was, it was just that he was upsetting everyone by having them like theme No. 1 being No. 1. But as soon as they understood him, they understood his passion. And then he understood them and you could tell it was so, and it's completely -- to a point where everyone was going to leave to now, everyone wants to be around him. That's that massive difference.

Anna Sawyer 19:47


Jim Collison 19:48

We do have a global audience, and Ralph in the chat room -- if you're a Called to Coach fan, you know Ralph spends a lot of time in the chat room. He asked us, "BT" stands for ?

Navneet Dhanjal 19:59

British Telecom.

Jim Collison 19:59

OK, good.

Navneet Dhanjal 20:01

The lovely Florence at the back -- earlier on, we were, we were chatting -- and she goes, "Who do you work for?" "BT." She went, "Do they still exist?" Yes. They're 130,000 people globally, which is like pretty incredible, but you know, and I think that the big thing around -- we're going through massive change in the business; it's it's a massive brand change, and people don't know who we -- what BT do. They just think they're a telephone company. But it's so much bigger and we're helping people to use their strengths to communicate that and feel inspired by it, really.

Jim Collison 20:36

Have you found any secrets on you know, you got people spread out all over the planet, right, I'm assuming? In getting information to them and learning and training and all these things going on that -- you guys kind of cracked the code on that or how are you guys doing that?

Navneet Dhanjal 20:48

The global, right?

Jim Collison 20:49

Yeah, the global?

Navneet Dhanjal 20:50

Yeah, it's, I suppose that's where my Individualization comes in. Because it's kind of like where every single part of the cultures around the globe have something really incredible about them. And it's it's bringing them up. So it's it's actually saying that this is some of the cultural, amazing trends that we're seeing. This is what's creating big differences. And some may work for you and some may not work, depending on your thoughts. It's kind of you've got to, it's not one golf fits all. We're just bringing them up to seeing them. And we're, you know, we're looking, we're congratulating it, really.

Jim Collison 21:22

It's a challenge, right. And I think we were talking about McDonald's last night and how they've done such a good job of dropping into communities, in other words, absorbing themselves into the community. It would be really easy for them to say, No, one-size-fits-all, we're at McDonald's, right? And we're going to do this thing. And yet I've visited the McDonald's in Japan, very different than a McDonald's in Germany, which is very different than the McDonald's -- and even the U.K. version is different than the American version. And so I think there's some opportunities. I love to hear you say that, especially in our coaching, because we don't want CliftonStrengths to necessarily be a one-size-fits-all based on culture, right? There's cultural nuances and language and and in in all those pieces that we have to do. And so good to see thinking about, How do we take the best of it and culture and really make it work?

Anna Sawyer 21:38

Yeah, so I know you have some pretty famous clients. Can you share any of your clients with us?

Navneet Dhanjal 22:13

I can share one. We have the queen.

Anna Sawyer 22:17

That's quite exciting!

Navneet Dhanjal 22:18

The Queen of England! But yeah, we look after really pretty much ... all of the stuff around the palaces and the grounds and everything. But also, what I think people don't know about is emergency services. So, you know, that that is something which is fully supported by BT. And it's an interesting fact that if if all the systems -- if BT went down, three-quarters of the planet wouldn't be able to have connectivity or communication and that's, that's when you realize the impact of the work that you're doing.

Anna Sawyer 22:52

Absolutely. Yeah. Did you coach the queen?

Navneet Dhanjal 22:55

I would love to coach the queen!

Anna Sawyer 22:56

She might need some coaching right now!

Jim Collison 22:59

Oh, maybe too soon! Maybe too soon! ... Maybe time for one more question.

Anna Sawyer 23:09

2020: What do you hope it brings?

Navneet Dhanjal 23:11

2020: I hope it brings a new wave of positive change. I know with BT, where we've got -- it's all about going beyond your limits. And that's quite, that's really inspiring. So for me, I'm hoping that the work I'm doing around strengths inspires other people to go beyond their limit.

Anna Sawyer 23:28

Fantastic, thank you.

Jim Collison 23:30

OK, my final question though, fish and chips: What do you dip the chips in?

Navneet Dhanjal 23:34

So this where I want to go to my Indian heritage. You gotta have smart ketchup with some chili sauce.

Jim Collison 23:40

Oooh, chili sauce! Nice. Let's thank her for coming up here. Anna, why don't you introduce our third and final guest.

Anna Sawyer 23:52

Our third and final guest is Sophie Lawler. [Applause] Hello! Good evening. Well, welcome.

Sophie Lawler 24:08

Thank you. I'm ... is over here, telling me to swear.

Jim Collison 24:14

it's a global audience. Just be careful with it. We'll bleep it out later maybe.

Sophie Lawler 24:18

I've called it out ....

Jim Collison 24:20

Well, there you go. All right, good.

Anna Sawyer 24:22

You're safe. You're safe. Let's start safe: Top 5.

Sophie Lawler 24:26

Competition and Achiever, Learner, Activator, Strategic.

Anna Sawyer 24:32

Fantastic, fantastic. Now Sophie, I had the first opportunity to start a conversation with you a few months ago. And I know that you've just taken on this really big role. So you're the new CEO of an organization that's going through massive change. So I would love for you to just share a little bit about the organization that you're you're leading now.

Sophie Lawler 24:52

Yeah, sure. So, yeah, I've got a big job as Chief Enthusiasm Officer. As of this morning, I've been in the role 18 months, which I guess is still new. I guess it's still new -- doesn't feel particularly new. And I work in the fitness industry, so I'm ready for the fish-and-chips question; I might dodge it. I work in the fitness industry, and I run a chain of health clubs called Total Fitness, which operates in the northeast and northwest of England. They're really, they're huge, huge health clubs. The business has -- has taken a few punches. It's been on the ropes a few times. And we're coming back and we've seen the most immense growth over this year; organic growth, proper growth in a mature business. So we're in a good place right now, feeling pretty good.

Anna Sawyer 25:39

Yeah. So when you say they are big format, you want to just give us a bit of a picture of that because I think they're quite different from most of the gyms that people would would recognize.

Sophie Lawler 25:48

Yeah, we don't build them like we used to; we'll never build them that way again. There -- and our biggest club is 110,000 square feet. And I don't know sort of everybody's knowledge of health clubs and sort of general sizes, but I used to work for a business called Fitness First, who had 500 clubs around the world and sort of our average size was around about 10,000 square feet. The ones in London are about half that. So these are big, and our smallest big club is 60,000 square feet. So these are monstrous; they've got running tracks; 3 swimming pools are standard. They're pretty monstrous.

Anna Sawyer 26:26

Yeah. Tell us a little bit about your your typical customer at a at a Total Fitness gym.

Sophie Lawler 26:32

Well, this is one of the brilliant things about Total Fitness, but equally strategically, one of the most challenging because the proposition is so huge that strategically you can't go niche. We need sort of 5-6,000 members per small club to make the business "wash its own face." And when you look at the demography of our of our of our business, you know, 30%-40% of them are over 55; 25% of them are millennials. So there's a really really big split. So it's a tough answer. One I've ... well. It's an honest answer. Our customers are really really, really diverse.

Anna Sawyer 27:12

Right. And they tend to be out-of-town locations so real sort of destination -- yeah, I'm coming today.

Anna Sawyer 27:17

Now I've heard you describe yourself as a kind of fitness lifer. So I know that you've, you know, obviously had a lot of experience in this industry. You have Learner in your Top 5. What have you learned in your journey with Total Fitness over the last few months?

Sophie Lawler 27:17

Yeah, you need a really good excuse for people to drive to our clubs because they are destinations, whereas in the bits of the industry that's thriving they're around about convenience. I'm a big believer in fitness experience. So it's one of the reasons why this business is a perfect fit for me, but yeah, you got to drive to these beasts. So we need to create experience in them, which is one of the things that the business has been lacking.

Sophie Lawler 27:55

I think it's fair to say a little more in the last 18 months than the rest of my near-20 years in the industry. To be honest, there's a lot of sort of technical knowledge you can have in the industry and strategic knowledge and all that good stuff that just comes with a with a lifetime's experience in the sector. But I have had to learn and grow so hard. It's my first CEO rodeo in a in a really difficult business. So it was a gamble for the shareholders of private equity companies that appointed me. I was a full-on gamble for them. I was a good bet but I was on a full-on gamble.

Sophie Lawler 28:32

But one of the things that I have really enjoyed about my 18 months is that I've had to learn. I've had to overstretch and I've had to really think hard about when I make mistakes and what can I learn and how do we all move forward? But that was brilliant, because as a people-based organization, if I'm learning then my entire organization is learning. Cause I'm Ideating and I'm bringing things to the table, and I'm very honest about my journey as well. So everybody wants to be on it, which is awesome.

Anna Sawyer 29:01

Fantastic. Now, one of the things I, I was trying to catch your eye this morning, as Jim was sharing the path of this, because the very first conversation that we had, he said, This is all people-power transformation. So as Jim was sharing the path, I was thinking there must be lots of like, Yeah, we got this right! going on in your head. Tell me more about that -- why people power transformation?

Sophie Lawler 29:21

Just just to qualify that. I mean, now, we're sort of nearly a whole financial year in, like full calendar year. 2019 is our first calendar year together as a team. We've had exceptionally limited investment. The size of clubs is massive, so they take quite a lot of capital investment, if you're going to drive growth. We've had like, barely any capital investment, grown our membership base by 10% -- by 10,000 members. So that's like 500 a club? And that's without capital investment. We couldn't haven't seen that done before in this sector, so it's something we're super proud of. But where we have invested in the people, and that's literally been the approach. We haven't really had -- there's a couple of members of my team in -- and we, we haven't had much else, have we, we haven't had much oxygen. So it literally has been all people powered.

Sophie Lawler 30:11

And and the reason it had to be people powered is -- when I arrived -- you can feel -- when you when the business is disengaged, you can sort of feel it and so your customers feel it too. And it was clear to me from the start that there was something wrong. There was just there was people in there, open the doors, closing the doors, doing their jobs, but they didn't really seem to know why. When you don't know why you're doing something, you're not going to do with any level of ownership. And so when I looked under the bonnet at the performance of the business, it was no surprise to me that it was -- the trajectory was pretty, pretty rough. So I knew it was going to be people power; it was just how to do it. And in one of the sessions this morning, I think the phrase "embedded potential," which is the phrase that I used to describe Total Fitness, was almost used by Jan or Jim. There was just massive imbedded potential in the business and through the people. We just have to unlock it.

Anna Sawyer 31:06

Fantastic. So you talked about this is a private equity-backed organization. Tell me a little bit about how did you convince them that culture was the critical driver for turning a business around?

Sophie Lawler 31:18

Yeah, it's a tough sell, isn't it? And it's something that Jim touched on this morning. How do you mathematize? That's not a word. Quantify ...

Anna Sawyer 31:26

He's American, he's allowed to make up words.

Jim Collison 31:28

Hey, hey, hey! Wait a minute. I'm standing here not understanding a word you're saying! So ...

Sophie Lawler 31:38

That's fine. How do you quantify that case? And there's a particular nuance there with private equity, right? They're not particularly long term. It's the next 3, not the next 30. But it's exceptionally important to sort of manage them as a stakeholder and being able to feel and doing a lot of questioning and a lot of listening, massive engagement problem. And ask -- somebody else in the audience, actually a chap called Neil of Coachopolis to help me kind of quantify. So what we did was we thought, Well, OK, there's definitely a service-profile problem; the churn in the business feels too high. And there's definitely an engagement problem. So how do I do the math?

Sophie Lawler 32:25

So we took the number of our full-time employees, which was 500, about 650 actual people, but 500 full-time. And we looked at the service profile and sort of thought, well if somebody's only been in role for less than 3 months, they're 25% effective; 3 to 6 months, 50% effective; and kept going. And we did the math on our service profile, and that took my number of effective employees down to just over 300. And then we took off another 13% for engagement because my employee Net Promoter Score, when we temperature checked it was minus 13. Took that off. Business has no purpose. We know that that has a massive impact. But we softened it a little bit and said, well, let's take off 10%, which in my view wasn't enough. And hey, presto, I've only got 290 effective employees. So I can sit down with my shareholders and say, well, at the moment, this plane is flying with one engine. So get out of my way! And give me the runway I need. Because I'm going to, I'm going to do some stuff with the people and I don't want to look at the numbers for now. But had a good 3, 4 months of not looking at numbers in a board meeting with your shareholders, which is fascinating. I was a total gift. So that's the kind of support that I had.

Anna Sawyer 33:44

Fantastic. And I know that you can already, sort of, when you when you're walking around and talking to people, you can just feel a difference, can't you, in in kind of how people are responding to to this kind of new focus? As you think about building on that in 2020, what does what does that look like?

Sophie Lawler 34:01

Well, I'm working with strengths, which I'm hoping will be growth philosophy, if you like, will be the fourth sort of pillar of our people strategy. We've laid the foundations really well: purpose, values, leadership philosophy and our growth on top. So that's our people strategy if you like, and then we're going to lot of product strategy stuff coming down the down the line as well. But what I hope it looks like for Total Fitness is more organic growth by getting new customers or selling more to the existing ones. It's not done in the material fitness industry at all in the U.K., so I'm hoping to continue proving that. For me, I just -- I'm going to keep learning because then we all learn -- at Total Fitness anyway.

Anna Sawyer 34:39

Fantastic. Jim, any questions for Sophie?

Jim Collison 34:41

I think this is the time: fish and chips -- on your chips, what do you got?

Sophie Lawler 34:46

Long story. I haven't had fish and chips for years. Last time I did, I was in Scotland and they do a thing called salt 'n' sauce with their fish and chips. But I don't know what it is.

Jim Collison 34:56

Chippy sauce? It's called chippy sauce I think is what it is.

Sophie Lawler 34:57

It's brown and it tastes great.

Jim Collison 35:02

All right, chippy sauce. All right. Let's give Sophie a hand for coming up! [Applause] Anna, nice job on selecting the guests as we think we kind of worked through several different phases there in people's -- hopefully you've got some benefit out of that, you've got some questions. We'll be hanging around for the cocktail party tonight. And maybe you could, if you had questions for them, you want to ask them some more, I'm sure they would love to answer your questions. Anna, you said you had some questions for me, which is kind of scary. So we got -- we have just a minute or 2 or 3, maybe, what do you have for me?

Anna Sawyer 35:46

So I think it's fair to say you've probably spoken to some of our most passionate strengths coaches around the world. And we're kind of curious about, I think, what you think. You talk to lots of people. What do you think?

Jim Collison 36:01

Yeah, you know, so the global movement, I've gotten a good seat on the global movement over the last 7 years. And it's kind of crazy to think we've been creating these Called to Coach programs now for 7 years, and a great opportunity to have a window into seeing what's happening in those countries through the voices of the coaches. And so while I don't necessarily get to see exactly what they're doing, or where they're doing it or the city they're doing it in. Big privilege, by the way, to be here in London for me to see the city that many of you are working in or come to, at least, to do that.

Jim Collison 36:33

But for me, it's given me this great opportunity to to kind of watch the movement grow. So what's going on in India and so, you know, we probably have 50 Called to Coach programs that we've done out of India and we've done it -- we've spanned them across the last 5 years. We've watched Australia catch fire over the last 3 years, and if you've listened any of the Called to Coaches with with Anne and Claire -- if you haven't, you should be, by the way, it's a clinic! Those coaches in Australia do a amazing job of kind of just saying what they're doing. We spend 45 minutes with them.

Jim Collison 37:10

And by the way, if you're not listening to those, get it on your phone -- get your phone out right now; subscribe to Called to Coach and do that. But I've gotten to see this incredible growth opportunity and watch these these regions catch fire. We just started a in language -- we created last year, we created Called -- or Theme Thursday in Spanish. So Chloe and Blanca. That was -- was that 2 years ago? Is that 2 now that we started that the Theme Thursday in Spanish or was that last year? So we have a whole season of Theme Thursday in Spanish, and we just created in-language Japanese, or we're 3 in, and we got the 4th one ready to come out. That's kind of cool. Like that's really neat to see that take off. That's really powerful to see that take off and other languages and see other people kind of catch this vision.

Jim Collison 37:56

So if you'd asked me out of 7 years of doing this, that's that's been it. I've also had some great cohosts. And thank you, this, I think our first time doing so this hour.

Anna Sawyer 38:07


Jim Collison 38:08

But I think of Maika and Mike and Dean, and all those folks, Jeremy, who've been on the program to help do that. It's been it's been pretty awesome.

Anna Sawyer 38:16

Most memorable or moving interview?

Jim Collison 38:20

So we had one out of India with a gal and I forget her name now, but she actually coached women who were getting that -- getting out of the sex trafficking space. Just kind of Yeah, right. Wow. And all of a sudden, I thought, Oh, man, I maybe I need to get a different job. Mine doesn't feel that important when we're interviewing these people around sex trafficking. And it just, yeah, it's just -- but there have been many I mean, I think there's, there's so many more, and we do that from, from some of the faith-based organizations that we've interviewed to the schools who are trying things differently, right, to the business organizations to the startups who are -- they don't, they're just going a million miles an hour, hair on fire, trying to trying to figure some things out right? Life is just a million miles an hour for them. So, you know, there's been some great moments on that as well.

Anna Sawyer 39:16

I'm going to ask just because it for my own personal entertainment: What was the craziest idea that you shut down?

Jim Collison 39:21

Oh, I don't shut down too many crazy ideas! Just to be honest. We give them a try. And and most of them, most of them work, most of the time. I -- no, if it wasn't probably a Phil Ruhlman production of some kind, something he asked. But no, I don't, I don't think, I don't think I've ever had to or you know stop any or not published something that we've done; everybody -- when we first started this, Dean Jones, who, if you're not watching Dean Jones' Called to Coach, you should be. Dean sat in my office for about 4 hours, just to make sure if people started cursing and swearing in the chat room, I had a way of taking them out.

Jim Collison 40:08

And he was he was so concerned that like, you know, hey, what happens if you know we start getting trolls in the chat room? In the years we've done this, one, only one time have I actually had to do that. And so that's, I think, a pretty good testimony of the power of strengths in the community and what we're doing here that we just have not had those problems of having -- now, that doesn't mean I haven't had to quiet some of you on Facebook from time to time. So my Facebook friends that are out there that communicate that way. But it has been I have not had -- I've had very little problems in doing this. Yeah, it's been great.

Anna Sawyer 40:45

So, I have to turn the question back to you. What do you put on your fish and chips?

Jim Collison 40:50

I use good old American ketchup. What -- it's gonna be warm, though, you can't do cold, can't do cold ketchup. ... Didn't realize that was gonna be such a controversial ... you know ketchup doesn't spoil, right? You can leave it out and ... all right.

Anna Sawyer 41:12

Not a popular one.

Jim Collison 41:13

I guess not. I guess not any, any final thoughts, Anna?

Anna Sawyer 41:16

Well, no, but thank you for coming to join us here.

Jim Collison 41:19

And it has been it has been fun. Thanks for, and thank all of you for coming out today to be a part of this. Chloe's going to wrap us here just in a second. But with that, I'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have now available on Gallup Access. So if you haven't visited that yet, Gallup go to By the way, we have tons of resources for you. If this is -- maybe you came today, maybe you're not a coach or you're thinking about coaching or some of this is new to you, we have we have tons of resources available for you on our CliftonStrengths pages. And some of my best friends at work have been working hard to make that super awesome place to be. So go to Look at the menu. There's 2 menus; there's a Gallup menu below it. There's an About page. Many of you asked us for a long time, what's the history of CliftonStrengths? Guess what, it's there. It's there now. Right? We have the complete history of everything around CliftonStrengths. So if you want to know that. Oh, what about a one-pager I can use to kind of convince people to do that? Guess what, it's there! It's there now! Right? So we have those resources that are available for you as well. Don't forget, you can catch the audio and video and downloadable audio of this program, plus all the other ones that we've done. They're available on -- going to be available on YouTube as well. So if you go to, search "CliftonStrengths," and you'll get all our recorded content, so hundreds of hours of professional development for you, if you need some of that. For our certified coaches, we have a Learning Series coming up in January; that that counts, many of that can count as professional development credits ICF, some of those things that are available as well. You want to join us in the Facebook group: 14,000 out there, and a very active group and lots of great conversations that are out there as well. And so, we appreciate you and you guys coming today. We'll thank those who joined us live, through the live stream. There are quite a few out there today that did that on camera. Want to thank you for joining us. We'll be back actually with the Community Update on Friday that I get to do live from here, which will be super cool. And Austin will be in Birmingham and we will update the community on all the things that are going on. And with that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Anna Sawyer 43:26


Anna Sawyer's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Competition, Maximizer, Communication, Activator and Achiever.

Richard Harris' Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Strategic, Communication, Connectedness, Activator and Individualization.

Navneet Dhanjal's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Positivity, Woo, Relator, Communication and Individualization.

Sophie Lawler's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Competition, Learner, Activator and Strategic.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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