- What happens when a telecom company focuses on providing a great customer experience?
- How does having engaged employees enhance the customer experience?
- In what ways can employees' strengths be leveraged for their personal and career development?
David Tudehope, CEO of Macquarie Telecom Group in Australia, and Rachel Smith, Head of People and Culture at Macquarie, were our guests on a recent Called to Coach. David and Rachel shared about Macquarie's intense focus on customer engagement, and its aspiration to bring excellence in telecom service to markets that are underserved and overcharged. Having engaged employees is crucial to providing a great customer experience, and Macquarie has found the simplicity of Gallup's Q12 metric to be a great asset in measuring and improving employee engagement. In addition, employees' awareness and application of their CliftonStrengths in their roles have proven essential to team cohesion and collaboration and to carrying out the company's mission.
Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 4.
Our purpose is to make a difference in markets that are underserved and overcharged.David Tudehope, 4:51
Strong engagement leads to better performance. So for a leader, that's a good enough justification to really invest in employee engagement, and the strengths that support that.Rachel Smith, 56:56
A bit of the magic for us for that customer experience success is transparency.David Tudehope, 18:07
Jim Collison 0:01
I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on February 2, 2021.
Jim Collison 0:20
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 our chat room. There's a link right above us right there to get on the YouTube page sign in there and we'd love to have your questions live and in chat. If you're listening after the fact is a podcast or you're on YouTube, you can always send us your questions: email@example.com. Don't forget to subscribe while you're there on YouTube. Or if you want to listen as a podcast, just search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast player; that will get you there as well. Anne Lingafelter is our host today. She works as a Learning Solutions Consultant in Gallup -- at Gallup -- with me. I'm getting mixed up there, Alice, or Anne. She's in Sydney, Australia, and Anne, it's always great to see you. Welcome back to Called to Coach!
Anne Lingafelter 1:12
Thank you, Jim. It's great to be here. We have some fantastic guests tonight. And I have to say that they appeared on Channel 9 here in Sydney this morning. So that was the warm-up for the main event, which is obviously our Called to Coach show. So, you know, obviously we're setting some trends here, and great to know that you're getting the message out there, David and Rachel. So today I have the pleasure of speaking with two of the leaders of the award-winning Macquarie Telecom Group. MTG is a successful Australian telecom and IT company with 460 staff, thereabouts, based here in Sydney. They provide data center, cloud, cybersecurity and telecom services to mid- to large businesses and government customers. MTG is loudly and proudly so "Untelco," and they have made it a priority to aig where other telcos have zagged. And it's really worked well for them. Macquarie Telecom Group has been awarded international recognition across the past 28 years. Most recently, they took double gold in the prestigious World Communication Awards. That was back in October of 2020. And at that time, they won the Customer Experience Award for their Heartbeat Program, and MTG CEO David Tudehope took out the CEO of the Year award. And so he's going to be talking about that as well. He's going to talk about his leadership lessons, along with the Head of People and Culture, Rachel Smith. So welcome to you both! Thanks for fitting us in on what's a busy day for you.
David Tudehope 2:53
Rachel Smith 2:53
Nice to be here, Anne.
Anne Lingafelter 2:56
David, I'm going to start with you. Thank you, firstly, for your time today and your willingness to share the Macquarie Telecom story, which is a great one. What began as a tech startup company some 28 years ago, today, on your website, you proudly claim to have the best customer experience in the world, which is obviously saying a lot. But it's interesting because you do have the net promoter scores to back it up. So it's something like, I think you said that your net promoter score today is around 84, which is right up there with the Amazons and, and the Apples of the world. Right?
David Tudehope 3:34
Thank you, Anne. Look, in our industry, the telecom industry, it's not known for great customer service. In fact, here in Australia, our -- we have twice the number of complaints to the telecom ombudsman as all the banking customers do to the banking ombudsman. So we're twice as bad as the banking industry. So we're kind of in a special place of our own as an industry. So for us, though, we have made it our mission to be the opposite of the rest of our industry -- as you said, to zig where they zag -- and for us to win the award for the best customer experience in the world in the telecom industry does mean a lot to us. But it's, it's been a long time in the making.
Anne Lingafelter 4:11
Excellent. I'd love to go back to the beginning, then, 28 years ago, right? And just to be able to, to start with telling us a little bit about, you know, why did you start a tech startup? You know, was it because of the, the issues with the poor customer service? If you go back from the beginning, that would be great.
David Tudehope 4:28
Yeah, thank you. Well, it was -- startups are hard work and a lot of personal sacrifice. And I came originally from the, from investment banking, and it was, so it was a very different place to go. But back then, has the same dynamic it has now, which ended up really becoming our purpose and our "Why" very quickly when we started the business, and has maintained so for 28 years. And our purpose is to make a difference in markets that are underserved and overcharged. It just so happens that we're in telecom, and then we grew into cybersecurity and data centers and cloud computing.
David Tudehope 5:06
But all these things come back to our purpose. And it's kind of been our compass. And when you think about, it's the underserved piece talks very much to net promoter score and measurement of customer experience. And it also ties very closely to the type of people you want to attract, retain and grow as well. So our -- we're pretty much a purpose-driven business.
Anne Lingafelter 5:30
So when you talk about underserved and overcharged, you know, I think when most people think about a telco, the first thing that comes into their mind is that Telstra and the horrible customer experience that we have. Because I think most people with the big residential telcos have been on the, "on hold" with Telstra for, you know, a large part of their life that they'll never get back. And, but so in the, you're in the B2B space. So in the B2B space, who is it that, that are underserved and overcharged?
David Tudehope 5:58
Yeah, look, the experience of business customers is no different to consumers. And every country has their former monopolist -- that still is a very significant player in every country. Unfortunately, there's been a big shift in our industry to, to offshore and outsource tens of thousands of jobs in every country; millions across the world. The consequence of that is that customer service has been seen as more of a cost of doing business, as opposed to a competitive advantage. And in some places, it's even gone further than that. And there's a real gap.
David Tudehope 6:37
And that's true in the business market as well. I can think, "Oh, they're a bigger customer; they must be getting better service." But I think as you, as many of your viewers have experienced since COVID, now they're working at home. And they get a firsthand experience every day of telecom companies and IT companies. They're no longer protected by the IT help desk in the office, that sort of, sort of wallpapers over all the challenges. And I think they're the frontline; they realize just how challenging customer service is. And, you know, it's not just the kids complaining when they get home, they can't do their schoolwork, or they're, more likely, their Xbox isn't performing. But it's actually they themselves can't do their jobs from home, and getting service back can be difficult. So I think it's an industry where people are more, customers are more tuned in now to the service gap.
Anne Lingafelter 7:23
Yeah. Certainly there was an increase in the move towards digital anyway. But COVID has put it on a whole new planet, hasn't it? And, and then along with the working from home, as you say, you know, maybe before, you only had to deal -- your clients, perhaps, were just the IT guys, right -- or girls -- at an organization. And now it's every single mom and dad working from home that would be, I imagine, ringing into your, your, your staff for some individualized attention.
David Tudehope 7:49
That's exactly right. Users are now seeing it firsthand. And they're, and they're trying to solve things themselves. It's -- telecom is the most dramatic example. Equally challenging, the world of cloud, where, quite often, yeah, who do you call when the cloud doesn't work? So that's, that can be a big thing. And of course, cybersecurity, right? Who do you call when you're hacked? And all these things have just -- have been there. There's been, they've been growing for many years, but COVID has just accelerated things. And because of that, there's an even greater need for customer service in these areas.
Anne Lingafelter 8:25
Yeah. So you've talked a lot about -- in the media and, and, and around the awards and so forth about being fanatically focused on customer experience. That it is absolutely everything, right? The customer experience is everything. And these are your words, not, not mine. So and much of that crystallized really, what, a decade ago or so -- maybe it's been a bit longer -- around you adopting the net promoter score or NPS. Can you talk a bit about that journey? And for those folks who are not familiar with NPS, if you just speak a little bit about, about that?
David Tudehope 9:00
Yeah, very happy to. So I talked a little about our customer, our purpose as a company, the underserved, and, and customer experience being our focus. Net promoter score word, which was a famous book called The Ultimate Question started as a Harvard Business Review article by Fred Reichheld. This research is now mainstream. There's been many books on it, and many thousands and thousands of companies have adopted it as a way of measuring customer experience. We too adopted it 10 years ago, just over, and for us, at last we could put a number on the customer experience, but more importantly, a number that we could compare across companies in our industry. Internationally, suddenly, there was a number that you could actually compare against something in industries that you would actually aspire to be part of, as opposed to the telecom industry with its very poor customer service, or the cloud industry that has no customer service; it's self-serve.
David Tudehope 9:55
So in all those environments, at last we had a number, and as a result, you could, you could, it could be a compass that could guide you, and you could make decisions around when to release products, what kind of people we should hire, how those people then play out into the customer experience, with a number rather than just a judgment call around them. So it became incredibly unifying for us as a business and became a single source of truth. And I'd say the one thing that's really guided our business through the years is that we take the time to make decisions about things. And we took probably a bit too much time to lock into NPS, you know, even though it was over a decade ago, it took us a couple of years to really go all-in.
David Tudehope 10:33
Initially, we did what every company did, which we put NPS on the dashboard of executive measures, but we kept the old ones. We finally got rid of it a bit over 10 years ago, all great, got rid of all the surveys and the, and the CSAT measures and every other one that we've built up over the years. We just had one number, and that galvanized the organization direction. And it probably talks to the way we see things generally, which is we tend to go all-in on something once we've made the decision, and that I think has been one of the keys to our success -- rather than just adding things on top of what you're already doing, and then you just have more data points.
Anne Lingafelter 11:11
Yeah, I love that. And I'm going to dig a bit deeper into that later on. But I want to bring Rachel into, to the conversation now. So Rachel Smith, Head of People and Culture, Rachel, thank you also for your time today. I appreciate it. And I have to tell you that I absolutely loved reading your CV, which is pretty, it's pretty funny because usually reading someone's CV is not that engaging, but I absolutely loved it. And I just have to hit some of the high points because I think it'll help our lead, our audience understand a bit more about who you are. You lived in 8 countries by the age of 12, right, 7 or 8 countries by the age of 12. You went to the same high school as Amal, Amal Clooney, and were in the same physics class that she was in, right. You, you started, your first job was as a theatrical agent in London's West End, where you say that you watched a lot of really bad plays. And then you listened to a lot of amazing music in your first HRVP role at Entertainment Company. And then you landed at Macquarie Telecom Group in 2019.
Anne Lingafelter 12:19
I also have to say that I'm going to ask you to sing some of your responses today. Apparently, you're a national champion barbershop singer in an all-women, all-women's acapella chorus. I don't even know if everybody in our audience will know what a barbershop, you know, you know, choir is, or barbershop singers. I happen to know because my father-in-law is into that sort of thing. So anyway, a really interesting personality, a lot of -- thank you for that, that engaging CV. It really, I felt like I knew a lot more about you -- and that you played Sandy in your high school production of Grease. OK, I think that's enough, right?
Rachel Smith 13:06
Yeah, well that sounds like my life story, Anne, yeah, well done.
Anne Lingafelter 13:09
There you go. Sorry, sorry, go ahead.
Rachel Smith 13:12
I was going to say, I'll save you the singing, the singing of my CV. But yes, that's the interesting journey that I've taken to get here. And it's probably, the fact that I've come into Macquarie and it's -- Macquarie has embraced me as much as I've embraced Macquarie is probably indicative of how we look at people and the kind of people that we want. Because we choose people that haven't necessarily followed the conventional pathway and can bring something different to how we do things.
Anne Lingafelter 13:39
Yeah. 100%. I love that. And I think we talk a lot about that when we're talking about talent selection, which is another area that we play in, but also through the strengths, right? So, so, you know, just identifying people's uniquenesses and how they come across, regardless of the role that you're in. But, you know, I was thinking that when, when you have an organization that is all-in when it comes to the customer, right? Having a great Head of People and Culture must be really important to the business. And, and just being able to talk about, you know, your job working with the exec to make sure that MTG has the resources and the skills and most definitely the culture that is needed to deliver on your strategic objectives. So how do you collaborate with the executive and, and how do you blend together that focus on the external customer while still meeting the needs of the internal customer?
Rachel Smith 14:31
It's a, it's a fine balance, I think, because we have, again, part of having such an eclectic group of people come in and bring things to our culture means that we needed to think about those people and how to work with them really closely to make a difference. And luckily, my strengths kind of led me to that, because I'm all about people. When you, when you look at the strengths that I have, I have Individualization and Includer in my Top 5, so all I want to do is work out what makes people tick and what contribution they can bring.
Rachel Smith 15:03
So when you want to take that up a step, and you look at the programs that we want to build for an organization, you go and talk to everyone. You get everyone's views. And I think that the exec are all passionate about their people because they understand how that translates into the customer experience. So now what David says around the fact that we honed in on NPS as a measure, to measure how well we are meeting our customers' expectations, but also the kinds of people that we need to meet our customers' expectations. That translates, then, through to what do those people need? If we know the right type of people, what do we then need to give them to give them the best opportunities, the best skills, the best tools to be able to, to excel and provide that experience to our customers?
Anne Lingafelter 15:47
Yeah, excellent. And thanks for referring to your strengths profile there. I'm sure that that'll get put up on the show later, and people will be interested. The listeners who knows strengths well like to sort of strengths spot whilst you're talking. And I have to say, David, your Top 5, you said, is Achiever, Competition, Individualization, Context and Deliberative, and, and I've heard that all already today. And that's, that, that's quite interesting. I also have high Competition. And, and that focus on needing to measure things and needing to see numbers that we can, like, rate ourselves against is so important in folks who have high Competition. So I certainly see you bringing that to life.
Anne Lingafelter 16:26
I want to come back, David, to some of the remarkable results that MTG has seen. And I'm sure you'll know where I got this; I looked at a few different websites and things, but 6 consecutive years of profitable growth; share price up 83% versus an industry decline of 18%. You're, you know, you've talked a little bit about, you know, the, the compass that you have, or the "Why," which is to serve those markets that are underserved and overcharged. But as we start to dig down into what that translates into on a daily basis, you know, what does that look like? And, and how do you, you know, I was listening to one of your interviews, and it was talking about that Competition in you coming out and seeing that in having real-time measurement of those NPS scores.
Anne Lingafelter 17:21
So my understanding is, NPS scores are posted in offices and online every single day. Everybody in real time knows what the current NPS score is. And there is a high, you know, really strong culture of high accountability around that, you know. So, so how do you bring your, your strengths into that to try and continue to motivate your staff day -- you're 28 years into it -- to rise to that high level of performance that you, that you're asking for, and in order to be world class, right? How do you, how do you bring that about on the day, on a daily basis?
David Tudehope 18:05
It's interesting. I think, a bit of the magic for us for that customer experience success is transparency. A lot of companies that do net promoter score, it's something that only gets shared with the staff, or even something that's just shared with the management team on a periodic basis -- maybe every quarter, every half, every year. Everyone sits in a large auditorium; someone's going through the PowerPoint slides, and bang, there's the NPS score for the quarter. And it's, they don't really see the linkage between their efforts and the net promoter score. And so, nor do the managers see their team efforts, and it's kind of just a number.
David Tudehope 18:42
And even if we're bonus, like in our organization, it's linked to that net promoter score, in part, it's still a disconnect. And I think a big part of it is when you're completely transparent, and that obviously can make you feel uncomfortable as a leader, as much as anyone else, you get individuals going, right, well, peer group pressure becomes very powerful. Because, you know, nobody wants to be on, working on a product that's not, it's not getting a great customer experience or working in a team that's not getting great results from customer experience. But we also, with the other team, on the big TV, on the big TV screens we have on this -- mounted on the ceiling, we also stack-rank individuals within that team by the net promoter score.
David Tudehope 19:26
And in case they can't work it out, we put colors on it, depending on where it is against the benchmark. And that also clicks with personal pride. So you've got the peer group pressure, which is very powerful. And then personal pride, because who wants to do a bad job at work? And these things translate to people putting individual levels of effort in. It's far more powerful than any sort of internal thing that Rachel and I could do by way of lunches or free coffees or free anything, or events. This is, goes to really human nature, and maybe ties into that shared strength you and I have about Competition: We understand people like us do tune into that. And those that don't are the peer group who will take care of it for us.
David Tudehope 20:13
That's worked so well for us. And people do respect transparency. It's also avoided it being another corporate program. And I'm sure we'll talk about Gallup in a moment about how it's, we've also managed to avoid it becoming another corporate program, which meant the customer experience net promoter score is something that's everyone's responsibility. It's everybody's program. And they can directly see how the actions they do flow through to experience.
David Tudehope 20:39
Just one example. One of the common challenges we have is, of course, new people on the team don't tend to get as great a results as someone who had been on the team for longer. We also find that people who have been doing the same role for a period of time, maybe, say, 2 years, could get a little bit complacent. And then someone comes along who's maybe, say, 6 months in the role and starts getting much higher customer experience scores. It tends to uplift the ones who are 2 years because they tune in and go, "Why is this new person getting better customer experience results than I have? It doesn't make sense; I've got much more experience." I guess a little bit of Competition flying in. But it brings them back to focus on, Well, maybe it's just the way they're doing it. Maybe it's just the tone of voice, maybe it's just that little way they finish at the end. Maybe it's the genuineness in which they approach it, maybe it's the follow-up, follow-through rather than passing someone else to get back to them. It's those things that really play in as well. So it's that combination of things, I think, that really has been key to our success, Anne.
Anne Lingafelter 21:39
Excellent. Rachel, I'm gonna ask you, you know, we've had, you've had this focus for many years on, on NPS. And I know you came along in 2019. Tell us a little bit now about the Gallup journey. So, so how did you shift, or why did you shift from that, that focus on just one true metric, or one number, to say, "Hold on, we're gonna actually bring in another framework, which is the, the Gallup Q12 human-needs-at-work framework, right. And we're going to look at that as, as the, the truth-telling for how, how staff are feeling the environment is. Talk to me a bit about the decision to bring that in as well and fly that flag. And then also from that, on to strengths.
Rachel Smith 22:25
I think it's interesting, as Dave is talking about all the things that the customer score has brought in for our customers and how our people operate. We kind of wanted to, there's, there's kind of the flip side. So we know our customers are happy. But we also want to make sure that our people are happy as well. Because, as I said earlier, it mirrors it. And we, we knew that by bringing in another measure, it wasn't going to distract -- what, the challenge is making, is not introducing so many measures that the NPS gets lost. We had to find something that added and was a support to the NPS outcome. And the logical progression was something that, that looks at how happy and engaged our people are, because there's a direct translation.
Rachel Smith 23:13
The other side of this was that we, David and his executive team, value the technical pathway and the career progression that we offer as a tech company. And we have excelled at that over the years. Over the years that the business has been in place, we've created and developed technical career development pathways because it's a really logical progression. What we haven't -- what we wanted to do to supplement that was provide a softer, more individualized program for those that may or may not necessarily be going on those technical journeys, but also to add another feather in the cap for those that are.
Rachel Smith 23:54
So what Gallup did for us was twofold. It provided us with a framework -- with their Q12 engagement framework -- that helps us work with leaders to really understand what makes people tick and what they need in the workplace. And then strengths, as those who listen to this podcast will know, feeds directly into parts of that employee engagement framework. And it seemed a logical part of the process and the implementation.
Rachel Smith 24:22
So interestingly, we kind of started the program in 2019 with strengths, so, and then 3 months in, we did our first, our first Q12 engagement check just to see how we were going. And the beauty of strengths as a development tool is that we start people talking about themselves. And we're a technical organization and we get turned on by, by gadgetry and software and I'm, I'm -- I should put a caveat on this. Our mantra is that we're all technically literate and enthusiastically human. Some of us are more technically literate than others, and I'm still learning the lingo even 18 months in.
Rachel Smith 25:00
But we wanted, we -- I've lost my train of thought there -- we wanted to make sure that people could start with themselves. And then we move into, to things that managers can use to get to understand their people well. So we rolled out strengths to everybody. We had the, I can't take credit for this; I joined this organization 6 months into the program. And my predecessor, Marianne Hogan, I think, rolled out a strengths launch at pace never seen by any other organization. They managed to get everybody in the organization, that's 600 -- 460 -- people through the StrengthsFinder survey within 2 1/2 months. And on top of that, they also exposed and trained all of our people leaders on the fundamentals on how to get to know their people, and how to use people's strengths as a development tool.
Rachel Smith 25:55
And so when we did our first Q12 survey, we saw the benefits of that immediately. And that gave us our guiding light and our guiding framework to then carry on building. So we then had that one flag in the sand with our NPS. And we had the other flag in the sand with our people score, our Q12 score, and together they are probably the most powerful driver of performance for this organization.
Anne Lingafelter 26:23
Yeah, fantastic. You know, it's, it's, as a leader, David, you know, you, you set the vision, you set the, the goal for the organization. And, and obviously, we're very strong for that, flying the flag of NPS. Was it a difficult sell to bring in this other element? I mean, and I hear you, I hear your Deliberative sometimes come up, because I know you were kicking yourself that you didn't start NPS sooner. I wonder, I wonder, as you were thinking about, Oh, should I, should I do this, this Q12-and-strengths thing? What, what sort of went through your mind as a leader? Because I think a lot of folks who are watching this, or who will be listening to this later, are the, are folks who are working within organizations who wish they could get their leadership to, to, to value Q12 and a strengths approach. So can you speak from, from the CEO suite?
David Tudehope 27:15
Yeah, thank you, Anne. It's very interesting, Rachel's last point, I think part of it ties into the fact that we recognize the power of one measure. And it's fair to say that with staff engagement, there was a range of measures based on where an executive came from, where, where a, people and culture where they came from. And they brought that with them, and there was merit in everything. But there's also far greater merit in having one single truth -- one single truth that one understands, one single truth you can rally around. Then you can develop a program of action.
David Tudehope 27:48
So in many ways, what attracted us to Gallup was that there is just 13 questions. There's not, you know, 39 questions. It does all come together. But we also really liked, as with the net promoter score, the fact that we could compare results, not just to other telecom companies, because there are others in Australia who do use it, but also telco companies around the world, in fact, more importantly, global companies. We don't aspire to be the best in our market; otherwise we would be far less successful than we are, because from the industry we come from. But we aspire to be, in what we do, some one of the leading companies in the world.
David Tudehope 28:28
So for us, the power of Gallup was an international comparative. But the simplicity as well is that if the two combine, I think, is where the magic's at. Because then you can put your energies into what to do next. And I just want to add one other comment to Rachel's points, because Rachel's probably a little understated her importance to the story is that, while we had an outstanding launch across a lot of people, I think there's also, as a leader, there's also a certain apprehension that you're going to launch another corporate office program.
David Tudehope 29:00
And I think a lot of companies, and I'll confess that we've done in the past, a lot of companies have these corporate office programs that get launched with great fanfare. And then, you know, 2 years later, another program gets launched replace the old one, and it all sort of melts away. It's like a tide receding, and there's just a beach again. And we didn't want to be one of those. So I think Rachel had the challenge of saying, We've had an excellent corporate launch. But how do we avoid this becoming another corporate program that comes and goes? And I think, to your great credit, and I'm sure we'll explore it a bit more now, you've really made it part of the way we do things here. And we've also made it -- not only scaled it but maintained the scale as new, as new people join the organization. That's definitely been the key to our success here.
Anne Lingafelter 29:52
That's, that's fantastic. And, and to your point, David, absolutely, we see clients who hear about the strengths approach for the first time and think, Oh, this is fantastic! My people are going to love this! It's uplifting, it's empowering. Especially even during the pandemic, when people were saying, you know, we want people to be able to have something positive that they can focus on. But it's, you know, too often people will, will have that, that, that first launch that, and people will grab it. But then they, when people start to realize that it's work to actually try and focus on and develop your strengths, it's not just a magic bullet, you know, then, then, then sometimes it can go in the drawer. So absolutely, the, the, the role and the importance of what you're doing cannot be overstated.
Anne Lingafelter 30:34
Jim, I'm gonna ask, if you don't mind, if -- we've got a great data slide -- thanks for that -- to bring up. And, and David and Rachel, if you don't mind just speaking to this a bit. We've talked about the fact that you, you launched Q12 and, and, or strengths, rather, and then Q12. And here's a bit of a snapshot of some of the, the impact that that has had. Can, can one of you please speak a bit to this slide?
Rachel Smith 30:58
Sure. I mean, I'm going to, I'm going to zoom straight in on the Q12 of the NPS piece just because I love the dynamic between in, the internal pride and happiness that -- and engagement that people have in work with the external customer experience. And that's the second slide, I think, on the top right. And what that's shown us is that since we implemented strengths and Q12, our NPS scores have gone up by 20%, which is not significant, given how high they are in the first place. So we've already had this massive journey where we've had, you know, and we all know, you -- things start and shoot up rapidly to begin with, and then they begin to slow. And that, the, the ability to, to improve and keep pushing things up higher becomes more, more, you have to put more and more energy into it. And I think that definitely our Q12 and our NPS, there's some synergies, and it's helped put a bit more momentum back into the program.
Anne Lingafelter 31:53
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. David, anything from you?
David Tudehope 31:56
You know, because the, the top left there, of course, is the share price. The share price has doubled since we've been working with Gallup. A lot of things flow to that; without question, Gallup is one of those key, key elements that's been, that's flowed into that. From our point of view, there's, as a business, I think, leaders are always time-poor. They only have a certain amount of time and capital they can, they can invest in programs. And the attraction for us was that it really tied nicely into our net promoter score, not just from a results point of view, but because clearly engaged people will deliver great customer service. Mind you, people who are delivering great customer service, getting good feedback also does their engagements well, right, so that it is, it is both ways.
David Tudehope 32:46
But we're seeing it flow through -- just, to your other question, Anne, about what's the, what's the business benefits? And I do empathize that a lot of the time, it's about trying to get a CEO on board with any engagement measure and strengths-based development program. We find that, because, because of the simplicity of Gallup's programs, combined with the depth of research that supports it -- very similar to net promoter score and Fred Reichheld's work -- is absolutely compelling. Because as a leader, you want things which can be explained simply. But once having, we're having, once understood, there's a whole level of sophistication and depth that they can grow from. And that's been so important to our success.
David Tudehope 33:30
And the metric-driven organization, they're used to single metrics, and they go, "Right. This is what we need to rally around as both leaders and individual contributors." I might just pose a question to Rachel. I do know the answer, but I just think it would be really interesting for your viewers. I mean, Rachel, after that initial launch, how have you driven, inside our business, that reinforcement with strengths is not just interesting for the individuals? I think, initially, people go, "Oh, wow, that's really interesting. It's all -- it's about me." And you and I are both Individualization strengths, so we kind of love that conversation -- not just about ourselves, but other people. But how did we -- how have you broadened it out so it becomes part of the conversation, part of the, part of the, part of the culture of Macquarie in many ways, but certainly part of the conversation here, and becomes self-reinforcing. I think that's a great word there.
Rachel Smith 34:19
We, and I think it is part of the journey, and it was paying close attention to where we started to get traction and really making the most of that. So we start, as I said earlier, we started the program, encouraging people to get to understand themselves. From that, the logical progression is for people to then understand others, leaders and their teams, but also teams to understand each other. And it was at that team spot that we really, really began to feel engagement. And so we hit it hard. And we have probably done 3 or 4 iterations now of the team workshops.
Rachel Smith 34:57
And my team, we have a team of 6 accredited coaches in the organization. So we very much invested in making sure that we had experts within the business who could go out and coach and live and breathe and operate as examples across the organization. And I would probably say that my team spend at least 50% of their time having, if not individual coaching sessions with managers, but running team sessions and, and planning the way to make it work in their business units. So they've gone out and done these teams workshops. And as they have progressed, we've noticed it beginning to really come into people's language. So again, we doubled down, and anyone that wishes to become involved, we have encouraged it and incorporated it. And we found that then the, the groundswell begins to grow. So the business starts to become more involved.
Rachel Smith 35:52
And, you know, some examples: We saw people putting their strengths on their email signatures before we even asked them to do it. We, we had one business unit who gave everyone Keep Cups with their strengths on them, you know. I did a little dance when I saw that! So, you know, we encouraged and we celebrated. And from there, we're now at a pivot point where I think we've done a really good job of helping people understand each other. And it's been mainly facilitated by us as a People and Culture team. And it's now time to make that transition from it being P and C-led to it being leader-led, and that'll be our focus. So, you know, we pay really close attention to what's happening, and, and we talk to people regularly. And we have a team of champions that we tap into, to work out what's going on. And we carry on. So --
David Tudehope 36:39
I still have one more thing, which I don't think I've said to you before, but I think one of the, one of the unexpected benefits of what you just described is that the People and Culture business partners, I think, are seen in a different light to what they were before. You know, it's not that sort of they weren't respected before, or they weren't valued. But the conversation is now -- because they're leading the conversation around StrengthsFinder, and how to develop people in a really interesting way, in a really compelling way, and they're working with the managers to sort of provide for them to do most of it -- there's a very different conversation taking place. And I think they've actually quite almost redefined, without having to change their title, as many companies do every year, they've redefined what a P and C business partner is.
Rachel Smith 37:25
I completely agree, because the language that we've drawn from strengths and from Gallup makes the conversations and the advice and the coaching that my team give the business far more actionable. So if you know, you think about a manager that may be wanting to coach and employee. They, you know, they're doing a great job, but there are some things that they want to fix. The beauty about strengths is that it's a, it's a really great conversation to have with someone to say, "This is your strength, and it serves you brilliantly in these ways. We're seeing a few things over here that are perhaps dera -- derailing you. And it's, it's the same thing; it's the same strength that's causing you some of these challenges. So let's invest in that and let's work with you and, and, you know, flip it from something that's not helping to something that's helpful."
Rachel Smith 38:12
And it's far less confronting for an employee to have that conversation because they know that it's something that's such a, of such value to us as an organization that you don't, you're not trying to fix something; you're tweaking something. So, that's probably an example, David, I think of where the team has been able to take the language and then use the way that they work with the business and make it far more actionable and far more practical.
Anne Lingafelter 38:36
Yeah, that's excellent. There's a lot of great ways to see that success, right. So that data slide that we showed, showed success in a, in very important metrics, but it's really about the behavior of the people on the ground, right? How are they, how are they acting differently? And, and if you've got, if you have any other stories that you want to share, any success stories that you can think of that come to mind about a conversation that, that perhaps people thought never would have taken place, or, or what have you. Anything that you want to share around that, either -- either one of you?
Rachel Smith 39:08
I mean, I will share just a very straightforward one, in that I think that a lot of these programs can be seen as soft and fluffy. And, you know, we have, we aren't backwards and coming forwards at Macquarie. As David says, we value transparency highly, and that comes through in the feedback that we get too. And so, you know, people, if people think this is, they're not a fan of it, they'll tell us. And I've had a number of people turn around and say, "You know what, Rach? Wasn't convinced; thought it was just going to be another fluffy, soft HR-y thing that you weren't very interested in. But it's made a real difference for the way that I managed my team." And now that our team, my team has gone and worked with them, in fact, one of them actually said, "I had a session with one of my BPs, and I'm now a convert. So it's wonderful to have conversations with people. And that's not just one, so it's a very, a common conversation I'm beginning to have, which is awesome.
David Tudehope 40:09
A guy that, I probably said this -- for those who are familiar with strengths, this is probably a statement of the obvious, but for those less familiar, it might be helpful. The, I think, initially with strengths, people would focus on what their strengths are. And it's very interesting. And they learn a bit about themselves, sometimes a lot. And they're done. I think one of the most important things that Rachel and her team have done, together with our friends at Gallup, is really helped people understand that those powerful partnerships and recognizing how the team strengths interplay. And the fact you don't want a team of Achievers, or more importantly, a team that, you know, have the same Top 5, probably more importantly. It's OK, but there's a consequence of that too.
David Tudehope 40:58
That, that combination of strengths, I think is a really interesting place now. All right, I'm an Individualization guy so I kind of get off on this conversation. But I think parking people like Rachel and I, even those are not that obsessive in Individualization, they, that was the biggest, most important bridge to cross. And it was about thinking about how other people's strengths interplay with other people in the team and, of course, themselves. And that's what we've got the next level of insights. And that's, I think, been the journey of the last 2 years, and sort of been the journey of managers is working together with People and Culture business partner, for them to really make an interesting conversation. And you think, "Oh, we did that, you know, a year ago; we're done there." Then you go, "Well, half your team's changed since then." And they go, "Yeah, good point. We should do it again." Because that's, it's a totally different dynamic. And that's, I'd say, is probably the most interesting insights, Anne.
Rachel Smith 41:50
And it's accelerating that process. So we, you know, a team changes. Someone come, goes out, someone comes in. We're finding that old forming, norming -- forming, storming, norming piece happening far more rapidly. And there's more tolerance and understanding for why people are the way they are. And in fact, people's differences are beginning to be embraced and, and may, and reused to people's advantages, rather than it causing conflict and making teams unproductive.
David Tudehope 42:20
Anne Lingafelter 42:21
Excellent. I love it. It's so funny, you guys. David, I'm glad that you started asking Rachel some questions. Like, literally, if I showed you my paper here, you, you asked the question that, that, which is where I was going, which is, It's obvious listening to the two of you talk and hearing about the history of Macquarie Telecom Group, that, that there is a beautiful collaboration going on here. Because you have, you, you know, you have the, the vision of the excellent customer experience. And you also have someone who is really looking after the internal customer in such a great way and trying these other innovative programs.
Anne Lingafelter 42:59
And, and I was going to ask you each to speak about this collaboration that you have, but you both have already. You've talked about, you know, the value that Rachel has brought, and also, David, the value of a CEO who's willing to challenge the status quo, and, and to embrace some other things and sort of paint a visionary picture. And, and I'm sure, David, there's been occasions where you've needed to stand up for this program to other leaders or fly the flag. And, and I don't know, is that, is that a difficult thing? Or, or is that something that you welcome?
David Tudehope 43:27
Yeah, it's interesting. Clearly with Gallup, like with net promoter score, you do need CEO buy-in. I think without that, it is very, it'd be very difficult, if not futile. But I don't think it's enough. Yes, it's important, but I don't think it's enough. And then I think it's about, it really ends up -- and we've found that, yes, you need the buy-in at all levels of the organization. But I wouldn't underestimate, ultimately, once you get past that very important sort of foundational step, the importance of the things that Rachel spoke about, in terms of the internal coaches, your champions -- you just mentioned there briefly -- I think that's been very powerful.
David Tudehope 44:08
Because it's, I think, in any organization, there are certain people that are very powerful influences across the business, particularly when it comes to things like personal development and culture and values. And we all know who they are. We have, you know, every organization, you could have a whiteboard, and half an hour later, we'd all agree on who they are. But when you enlist those for the cause, at least those, the majority of them who are willing to get on board, it's so powerful for change management. And then, you know, of course, then all the change management principles kick in about celebrating success and the like. But before we can get to that point, having those champions I think has been, in many ways, once you got past foundation, the most important piece.
Rachel Smith 44:49
Anne Lingafelter 44:49
Yeah, it's so excellent. And one of the things that I'm hearing from you, too, is, you know, one of my favorite things about strengths is, is that it -- we're not just talking about, often in organizations where there's a big focus on diversity and inclusion, and, and typically that's talking about identity diversity, right? Like, you know, who you, who you are, when you walk in the door. Are you male or female, young or old? What's your nationality? But strengths is where cognitive diversity, it comes to life. And so we all have different ways of contributing and thinking and feeling and behaving. And to be able to put some language around it so that it can become a common language, as you say, it accelerates that acceptance and understanding of one another, and how you can contribute to the team. And, and it gives people who maybe felt, you know, in what's a clearly a competitive environment, maybe somebody says, "Oh, now I understand. My Competition's down at No. 34! So what am I going to do in order to be able to, to still hit those numbers and feel comfortable in this environment? Oh, yeah, well, I've got Achiever in my Top 5. So that's going to help!" And, you know, so it gives some more language to be able to do that. And, and it brings to the surface so others can see: This is who you actually are.
David Tudehope 46:00
I'll just share one example. Because it came to mind. There's someone that right now we're interviewing for a role at Macquarie. And he said, "My only concern with joining is that I've been working for the last couple of years with two people inside your organization. And they've been together for a long time; they've been very successful. But Jesus, there's like this tension between them. I don't, first, I don't understand why they still work for you together, and right next to one another. But I don't see how they have been so successful." And I took the time to, even though he wasn't familiar with StrengthsFinder, to explain how they're different.
David Tudehope 46:32
Fundamentally, one's engineer who loves to solve things, and one's someone who loves to maximize the outcome; [Maximizer] is right up there. And the person develops a solution kind of like it's done. His colleague says, "Well, now you've solved it; how can we get twice the result for your solution" -- as opposed to a round of applause? And there's a bit of a tension around that. But it's, frankly, it's the magic. Like neither would be successful, as I mentioned, neither would be success -- as successful by themselves. They actually need one another. And he said, "Right, I get it." And then he said, "Yeah, I remember now in the meeting" -- and he says, "Yep, this is definitely the kind of organization I want to work for, because I understand how that's like a healthy creative tension. But it also talks to their strengths as well."
Rachel Smith 47:21
Yeah. No, no, well I was going to -- not the same example, but something similar. You know, we have someone, if I look at my team, we have a team with strong Empathy and quite a lot of Consistency and some Responsibility and some Discipline in there. And we have someone with strong Ideation. And without fail, if we have a meeting where we need to discuss something, where we want to problem-solve, everyone -- everyone now says, "We need that person's Ideation. Make sure that they're involved in that meeting." So, you know, it now helps us build teams that are diverse and, and can produce a far better result than, than people that we would have traditionally just put in a room together.
Anne Lingafelter 48:04
Yeah, excellent. Yeah, great stuff, guys. Really, really enjoying this. And I imagine that, that Jim may have a question or two from the chat room, but I've been holding off bringing him in because I'm enjoying the conversation so much myself. Jim, do you have any burning questions that need to be asked?
Jim Collison 48:21
What's -- it's been interesting, as you've been doing this, they would ask a question in the chat room and immediately, you guys would answer it. It was like you were reading the chat. And so they were super surprised with it. And no, you didn't have the answers in advance. There was a bit of a question earlier about Top 5 versus all 34. Have you guys looked at that in your environment? And how are you addressing that?
Rachel Smith 48:45
Yep. You happy for me to -- ?
David Tudehope 48:46
Yeah, please do.
Rachel Smith 48:47
So when we first launched StrengthsFinder, we did Top 5 for everybody. But we went straight into Top 34 for our leaders. And we, in fact, let me, did we do? We did Top 34 for our team and then rapidly went into Top 34 for leaders, because we found that people were asking questions that we knew would be answered by their Top 34. So, you know, those that are familiar with StrengthsFinder know that we have our Top 5, but generally, our Top 10, 12, maybe even more, are our dominant strengths. And sometimes the people that we were having conversations with, who said, "My, my Top 5 don't quite ring true for me. I'm not -- there's something I can't quite put my finger on." When we opened up their Top 34 and had a look at their next 5 strengths, more often than not, the light bulb went off and we could see the other strengths going and having an impact on how their Top 5 are playing out.
Rachel Smith 49:42
And, you know, this was a key, this was another key learning for us. Because when you take people through their Top 5 and they begin to learn them, we tend to deal with their, with the individual definitions of a strength. And then we start encouraging people to understand that they play out differently, and different combinations have different, different ways of playing out. And then that conversation gets even more powerful when you open them up to their Top 34.
Rachel Smith 50:05
So, we actually have got to a point now where more and more leaders are asking for their whole team's Top 34 to be unlocked, because they've found those conversations so valuable for themselves. Now, when we've done that, and we then look at the teams, we can also then look at where potentially there are some blind spots in the business. Now, we're not into looking for weaknesses; it's -- this is not the purpose. And in fact, that's why we didn't open it up initially, because we didn't -- you know, people naturally will go straight to the bottom, you know. I, you know, "This is my No. 34; no wonder I can't do something else." And, you know, the principle is that you can use your strength, any strength can achieve an outcome; it's just about how you use them.
Rachel Smith 50:45
So we didn't want any, anyone assuming that because they didn't have a particular strength, they weren't able to do something. But the value it brings at a team level is you can kind of see whether or not there is a leaning, like if some, if you have a team that has high Execution, and perhaps not so high in Strategy, you -- perhaps helps you bring other people into the team, if you're putting a project team together, to create a bit more balance and diversity in thought.
Anne Lingafelter 51:12
Yeah, no, excellent. And it sounds like you guys are just going straight into the journey that we see work well, really well in organizations. Often people, when they do have a full rollout of all staff, and they get Top 5, those people will think, "Right, OK, so we now all know our strengths. So, so where are the results? Why isn't, isn't this happening straightaway?" But what we actually see -- the progression is typically, first it may, it starts to change the individual. Right? Then the conversation gets into the team, which is, and, and being led by the manager as opposed to the, the People and Culture perhaps. And, and then the organization overall really starts to change, and as you embed it into the other things that you're doing. So it seems like you guys are just straight on on that journey and doing, yeah, doing very well. Jim, anything else from you?
Jim Collison 51:59
Yeah, we have two questions; I'm going to jam them into one, and then kind of change them a little bit. So Stephanie asks, "What, what did the team workshops involve? And how did they continue to embed Gallup into culture?" And then Tracy wanted to know a little bit more about the strengths champions. And I want to morph that question into both, into saying, with workshops and your strengths champions, where are you hoping to take that in 2021? I mean, ideal situation, looking forward, what would be best possible scenario for you guys, for those groups -- well, strengths champions and your workshops?
Rachel Smith 52:33
The strengths champions, the answer is simple: You can't have too many. So, you know, we're really open. If someone raises their hand and says that they're interested and they, they want to be more involved, then we'll invest in them and their development. And we look to bring on new coaches and new Certified Coaches each year within the organization. And we're looking at diversity across the business, you know, we want, we want them peppered throughout the whole area. So if people don't want to go the full, full hog and be Certified Coaches, well, that's OK. We just continue to expand our, our, our champion network, and we use them to generate ideas and to, to feed back what's going well and what's not going quite so well.
Rachel Smith 53:13
So with the team workshops, I guess, we will always be doing what we're currently doing, just because of the point that David made earlier: Teams change, they grow, and leaders change and move and grow. And we, we wish to develop people and move them around the organization. We have developed top talent to not just stay in the same role all the time. So that constant mobility and change means that we as a team, as a P and C team will always be there on hand to facilitate for those with less experience. But as we move from being P and C-led to leader-led, those things will start happening organically.
Rachel Smith 53:48
And to go to the question about what tools we use, when we first, are first intros to the teams, where it's all about teams, there are two purposes actually: One is for the team to get to know each other. But the other is for the teams to begin to, to get a more in-depth knowledge of their strengths themselves. So what we've found is that you're introduced to your Top 5, and you're very familiar with your Top 5. It takes -- there are 34 of these things you got to get your head around. And how on earth do you do that? Well, we introduced, in our third iteration of teams, strengths testimonials. And we will get, we'll choose a test -- we'll choose someone who has a strength that isn't very common -- never Achiever! And then we would get them to stand up and talk about how that plays out for them.
Rachel Smith 54:32
And sometimes there'll be someone else on the team that has the same strengths. And they'll talk about how that plays out for them, and it would be quite different. So we will, we'll continue with that. Because those your -- that's your purpose, getting to understand all strengths through others, as well as getting to know each other as a team and working on that team dynamic will continue. And it will be a hand-in-hand partnership between the business and those that, that get more experienced and my team and the other coaches around the organization.
Jim Collison 54:58
That's a great answer. I think one final question, and maybe I'll pose it to both of you. We just have a minute or two left. How do you guys handle pushback? So when teams, it's inevitable, right? You're roll it into a team, and the team says, "Yeah, I don't think so." How do you guys, how are you handling pushback when they come from a business unit?
David Tudehope 55:18
Yeah, look, I'm going to go first, because I've seen it a lot of, quite a few times. One of the most important pieces, I think, is that the business partner with a manager who, if it gets that pushback or maybe is a bit new to the conversation, and they just don't themselves, haven't really had a chance to see it deployed in their environment. Having the People and Culture business partner in the room, sometimes facilitating the conversation, enables the manager to participate. They can handle kind, the kind of help deal with any trickier questions -- always questions, typically, in hindsight, that weren't that tricky, but maybe the first time you've answered them. And they kind of help draw people out. That's worked really well, for us.
David Tudehope 55:52
Clearly, it's a moment that can go on forever; we do need managers to step up and actually do it themselves in an ongoing way. But it's very important, I think, sometimes to put those training wheels on the bicycle for the first couple of trips out of the house. That's been really key. I think the other really important piece is you've really got to get the manager to buy into seeing it deployed and its effectiveness. They really got to go past their own score, which is often where people stop, and say, Right, this is actually not so much about me; this is about, about others. And I'm going to take it a lot, much deeper, not just interest in other people's strengths and move past the, "Oh, isn't that lovely! We've all got a couple of strengths in common."
Rachel Smith 56:38
That probably would -- Dave's abilities to lead towards where the Q12 plays a part. Because we can use the Q12 framework to, to diagnose what needs to happen to improve engagement. And we all -- I think the business doesn't ever question the fact that strong engagement leads to better performance. So for a leader, that's, that's a good enough justification to really invest in employee engagement, and the strengths that support that.
Rachel Smith 57:07
And in fact, this year, our last Q12 survey, we added the Strengths Orientation Index for the first time. We wanted to give it some time to really sink in. So this is where we asked everybody in the organization about their experience with strengths. And we found that the areas where we know leaders have invested strongly in strengths and have done quite a lot of strengths work, the engagement was also high. So you know, whether it's causal, or whether it's just because these leaders are in, they're engaging, and they are focused on the engagement of their people, we are still working our way through. But we're drawing very much that line between results and investment in time.
Jim Collison 57:46
I don't think it could be said any better than that. Anne, with that, we're out of time. Let's take a second and thank our guests for joining us today.
Anne Lingafelter 57:53
Thank you guys so much. I still have a few questions that I'm burning to ask, but I think I'll just have to, I'll pass them on to Chirag and Allan and the rest of the local team that absolutely love working with you guys. They love working with Macquarie Telecom Group. So thanks for that. And, and thanks for the time today. It was, it was great to get to know you both better. And all the best for 2021!
Jim Collison 58:17
Super impressed with what you guys are doing. This is going to be a great story that will live in a lot of YouTube videos. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the more popular ones that folks at Gallup say, "Oh! If you want to see who's doing it right, here's a great example of that." And, and we appreciate you guys doing that.
Jim Collison 58:35
If you guys would both hang tight for, for me for one second, let me wrap this up. A couple reminders: Want to remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we have available, now on Gallup Access. And you guys are using it, and a lot of the pieces that we talked about today are there. Head out to gallup.com/cliftonstrengths, and you can sign in there. A lot of resources are available. If you're listening to the recorded version, you have any questions for us; if you want coaching, master coaching, or to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or just engage in a program with us like this, you can send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And we'll get you connected to the right person. We didn't mention this, but we will. Our Gallup at Work Summit is coming up June 8th and 9th -- I think that's the 9th and 10th for you guys -- available now at gallupatwork.com. And registration is open. We'd love to have you join us for the virtual conference. Two days, a lot of great stuff going on. And you're not gonna want to miss it. Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths." And we want to thank you for listening today. And I always say this at the end of them, but if you enjoyed it, share it. And you should really share this one! So I'm just saying, I'm just saying, you should, you should do that. Thanks for listening. If you're listening live, we won't do a postshow. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.
David Tudehope's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Competition, Individualization, Context and Deliberative.
Rachel Smith's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Self-Assurance, Individualization, Includer, Learner and Communication.