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Successful Leadership: Stories From a Great Leader

Successful Leadership: Stories From a Great Leader

Webcast Details

  • What do great leaders do to unleash the talents of managers and employees?
  • How can leaders improve their workplace culture so it becomes truly engaged?
  • How do organizations lean into gaining employees' trust at work to move through times of crisis?

Allison Bebo, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hologic, and Robert Gabsa, Workplace Consultant at Gallup, were our guests on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 6 of a series on successful leadership, Allison and Robert discussed how Hologic's leadership has, through persistence over a period of years, brought true workplace engagement to the organization -- and the difference that has made during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hologic's inspiring leadership story demonstrates how organizations can build trust and stability among their employees that can help them successfully handle navigate times.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 12. This is Part 6 of a 7-part series on successful leadership. Access Part 1 of this series on leadership. Access Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 7 of the series.

When you're truly strengths-based, you don't put fences around people ... How do you go back to unleashing talent? I mean, don't box them in, don't fence them in.

Allison Bebo, 32:45

Over 70% of our population is working for a highly engaged, talented manager, and it feels totally different.

Allison Bebo, 13:54

Our road map was the ... 4 Followers' Needs, and stability was key. ... But [also] so important that we maintain that trust and live into our word.

Allison Bebo, 34:59

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 March 19, 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, love to have you join us in our live YouTube chat. It's actually on the live page right above us there; there's a link that'll take you to YouTube. And sign in with your Google account, join us in chat. We'll be taking your questions there. If you're listening on the podcast or on YouTube after the fact, you can always send us an email with your questions: Don't forget, when you're on YouTube or in any podcast app, you can subscribe to stay up to date with all the things that we do. Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Learning and Development Consultant here at Gallup with me, and Jaclynn, it's always great to have you on Called to Coach. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 1:06

Likewise. Thank you! Hello, all my Called to Coachers. Welcome back!

Jim Collison 1:11

We have a fabulous program ahead. I'm gonna get out of the way. Why don't you introduce Robert and our guest today.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:18

More than happy to! So today we've got two guests on. I'm continuing this tradition -- I want to bring the talent to Called to Coach. So we have Allison Bebo, who is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hologic. And Ali joined Hologic in February 2015 with 15 years of human resources experience. From 2000 to 2015, she held various human resources leadership positions at Ann, Inc., and primarily focused on talent acquisition, associate relations and talent management. So Ali, her Top 5 -- I know you all are curious -- is Individualization, Maximizer, Strategic, Relator and Activator. So welcome, Ali to the show!

Allison Bebo 2:05

Thank you! Nice to see you, and certainly I'm honored to be on this call.

Jaclynn Robinson 2:13

Thank you! So alongside you today, we have Mr. Robert Gabsa. Robert is a Workplace Consultant here at Gallup who helps Gallup clients -- who helps clients, I'm sorry, increase organizational performance by creating better employee and customer experiences. He also is involved in leadership coaching and development and creates workplace environments that really define and elevate organizational branding. His Top 5 are Ideation, Woo, Futuristic, Strategic and Maximizer. So welcome, Robert!

Robert Gabsa 2:47

Thanks, I am so excited to be here! This is great. I'm loving it.

Jaclynn Robinson 2:50

I'm stoked for today. Yeah.

Robert Gabsa 2:53

It's gonna be fun.

Jaclynn Robinson 2:54

Yeah, this is gonna be a lot of fun. So we've heard just across the board over this past season; we want to hear a story, we want to hear real-life experience: How are you using CliftonStrengths in the workplace? How is that used as a vehicle for higher engagement and performance? You know, what does this look like? And last week when we talked about it, we, you know, we talked about how it's not an overnight process. There's a strategy involved, and there's a lot of thoughtful architecture involved in creating a thriving workplace. So I'm going to kick it over to you, Robert and Ali, because we would love to hear what the Hologic culture is about and how you created such an engaging culture.

Robert Gabsa 3:35

Sure, I would love to just kind of kick it off with my experience at Hologic. I've been working, gosh, it's been almost 2 years, Ali, which is crazy. Time flies when you're sitting at home in a room in front of a screen. But you know it's, I'm definitely, I'm really, I would say enamored with Hologic. There's so many things that I've found really unique about it. And when we started working with you, I was late to the team, right. The team has been there working with you from Gallup for, gosh, 5-6 years now, right, so this has been a journey together.

Robert Gabsa 4:10

But it was really, you know, significant to me when I looked at, at the partnership that was created before I got there and then I was immediately immersed into and welcomed into kind of like with open arms. I think my first meeting there was like in this big conference room, right, and we're gonna sit and we're going to be talking about some of the plans that we had for certain talent-investment architectures, and, and I mean, it was like a "hug fest," and I felt so at home -- it really was. And everybody that was there on your team, the authenticity, the transparency, the, the encouragement to push back and, and have those tensions of "I don't agree" and "I disagree," and "What do we think about this?" And all of that felt so real, and I love that! I never felt ever that we were there, you know, to like serve our client, which we are. But it was like such a joint effort.

Robert Gabsa 5:06

And I have to thank you, also, because the other thing that I walked away from that very first day and that I have built upon over the past year is the fact that your purpose as an organization, that we'll touch on and we'll talk about how important that is, really, truly became kind of an engagement point. And it becomes Gallup's purpose. Right. And so I appreciate that. And I find it really unique in the way that you look at strengths, engagement, high performance, in such a strategic manner is one of the reasons why I said, "I've got the perfect person to talk about this." I mean, really, I was like, Jaclynn, this is, they are doing it, like, right in my eyes. So that's, that's kind of my intro. That's really my intro. And I love it. So I would love to hear about your thoughts.

Allison Bebo 5:58

Yeah, yeah. So, so what I would start with -- and I think it's important to frame in -- you know, my relationship with Gallup is about 20 years, and it's been incredibly formative for me, when I think about my career and, and really, honestly landing in human resources and staying in human resources. But, you know, I think, Robert, what you felt is, you know, we, we look at our relationship with partners like you as, as true partnerships and not vendor relationships. And I think the piece that, that we, that we really go after is we're inviting you into what I think is an incredible purpose and journey.

Allison Bebo 6:34

And, you know, for, for those of you that don't know about Hologic, I'll just do a quick commercial. You know, we take great pride in knowing that there is no other company on the planet that has done more for cervical and breast cancer than Hologic over the past few decades. And it's really through our innovations. So I think innovation's a key word in cervical cancer with the ThinPrep, the test. So many of you women know what I'm talking about, our annual screening. We also test for HPV. We test for sexually transmitted infections via our molecular platforms. But we are also the inventor of the 3D mammogram.

Allison Bebo 7:34

So when we think about breast cancer and detection, early detection of breast cancer, that's us. And so we take a lot of, take great pride in terms of what we do and the impact we have on the world. So Robert, I think, to your point, when, when people are invited in and want to join, we, we bring you on every step of the way. And, you know, this year, we'll talk a little bit about it, perhaps, but we were also on the front line for the world's fight against COVID. And we are one of the premier organizations that developed the COVID, a COVID test, and a test that was high sensitivity and specificity to the testing itself. And so, you know, I think you'll you'll hear throughout, we're very mission-purpose driven.

Allison Bebo 8:30

But, you know, I think the, the piece that Robert spoke to is, you know, we anchor ourselves on a set of principles. And, and the first is, you know, a firm, firm belief that, that talent is an, an asset, and talent makes a difference. And that's a big part of our journey is, is kind of proving that out -- you know, really telling the story of our people and the impact they've made. But importantly thinking about, you know, engagement and our obligation to those that join to create an organization that their talents can, you know, be unlocked or unleashed, I like to say.

Allison Bebo 9:20

And that's really, you know, a big part of, I know the, the earlier conversations you guys have had is around, you know, the importance of great managers and great coaches. And for us, you know, engagement comes to life the most fully or more fully when you've got these great managers. But it is our, our sort of commitment to the talent we bring in to create a culture for them to do their best work, and to bring, as I said earlier, those innovations that I, that I spoke to, and, and respond to the world when they need us. So --

Robert Gabsa 9:55

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I when I see and we've worked with you on developing not, not only just everybody in your organization, right, from leadership down, but I know you have, you have kind of a deep-rooted stance on how important managers are, right? How important managers are in your organization. And yeah, at Gallup, we've talked about that. And I think the, the world is understanding how much influence they have. You know, 70% influence on the engagement, right, of their teams. And so, I would love to hear you know, "I'm, I'm a manager at Hologic. What does that mean? And how, how am I treated? How am I developed? What is it about managers there that is so important to help you accomplish your mission and purpose?"

Allison Bebo 10:42

Yeah, so that's a, such a great question. And it's, and it's been a journey, I think, for me over the last 6 years since I've joined to really, you know, shape that point of view and, and, and get that understanding around the leadership level. And the time Gallup has talked about it, but that idea that the most important decision we make is who we name manager. And when, when I joined, I think managers were certainly more viewed as people that knew the, the work that needed to get done. So very functional in nature. And they didn't really have a, kind of a, I'll call it a holistic view that it's, Know the stuff you're paid to do, like the work, but you're also paid to, to, you know, coach teams, develop teams and, and create what we, you know, we introduced the concept of engagement.

Allison Bebo 11:45

And, and so, you know, I think that the early years was that shift of kind of functional to people management. It sounds so simple, but that was, that was a part of the conversation. And, and that conversation was really anchored on a point of view that we use Gallup's Q12. And when we think about the 12 questions, we really share with them, that is your road map. That's your road map to high performance, to, to innovation, to growth, but it is, it's that simple.

Allison Bebo 12:25

So, so for us, it was, you know, kind of the, it's a, you know, framing in the importance of managers, but also that difference between it's not just what you think it is; it's this as well. And then we were able to really lean in on the concept of coaching, and, you know, really what that looks like and feels like, and, and really talk about, you know, it's a continued conversation; it's continuous feedback; it's not event-based, wait-'til-the-end-of-the-year type of thing to tell people how they're doing.

Allison Bebo 13:04

But I think the beauty of Q12 is it was really anchoring a path for managers. And, you know, once, once they, you know, we spent a lot of time, you know, investing in them. We had a year, I think we were calling it the "Year of the Manager." And it was an all-out equipping them with tools and resources and anchoring key principles and talking about why it matters and, and telling their stories. We would also talk about those that were, you know, top quartile, top decile, in engagement with their teams. But at the end of the day, it, it sort of became this, or what I'd like to say now is, you know, we've got over 70% of our population is working for a highly engaged, talented manager, and it feels totally different.

Allison Bebo 14:03

It's almost, you know, you stand out if you're not. And we don't have to call them out. I mean, it's just that obvious, and there's a lot of like, pure accountability, and people see it. So, but I think, you know, it's, it's, it's a very disciplined march, so to speak, to focus on the things that matter, but anchor good investment and conversations around those things. You know, as, as I like to say, it's, it doesn't happen overnight, but it's, you got to put some muscle into it.

Robert Gabsa 14:40

Yeah, yeah.

Jaclynn Robinson 14:42

That's such a perfect example. And you hear that it was a year of time of just focusing on managers and there's consistency and discipline behind it. Oftentimes, if someone says, you know, "How long might it take for us to switch gears and see our engagement increase?" Oftentimes, we'll say it depends on how much work and commitment that you want to put into it. Because some can turn it around really quickly if they're consistent and disciplined, and some it takes time. But I think we just showcased what a great example of, you know, we were focused on it, we were committed, and we had a year of just the manager.

Allison Bebo 15:17

Right. Right. Right. And I think the, the piece that's been exciting for us is, I'd say, kind of the, the next level of, of investment was really bringing strengths to the organization. And, and that was, so we kind of like laid the, the, you know, the foundation around, you know, engagement is the path, but, but started to kind of unpack, you know, when we talk about, "I get to do what I do best every day," and, you know, people, you know, kind of know me, respect me, you know, are thinking about my growth. We also invested very heavily in, I think, everybody, I want to say close to 90% of our employees have, have access to their strengths.

Allison Bebo 16:04

And, and that was another, I'd say, I'll call it accelerator to engagement, you know, aimed towards performance, but it was another tool in their toolkit to think about those types of, you know, conversations, meaningful conversations with, with their team. And it's, it's also, for us, we love strengths, and you're all strengths coaches on the call -- you know, that concept of a common language and understanding. At the same time, this view that, you know, especially in, with people that have similar roles as somebody else, that it's OK to take a different path to get the same outcome. So it's done a lot to kind of unlock, I think, some really, you know, robust conversations, but also been an accelerator to engagement for us.

Robert Gabsa 16:58

Yeah, I remember something you had said one point that stuck with me, Ali, about, you know, it had something to do -- and you will remember it maybe better than I -- but when you said "unleashing them," right. And I also really appreciate and respect the fact that, you know, you find talented people, right. You figure out what they do best. And you do look at, you know, what are their strengths? How do we invest in their development? The key is, the "Why" is engagement, right? Because we all know, higher engagement equals higher performance. And strengths is one of the accelerators with the talent. So it's like, it all has this nice little formula. And it's great, because when you think about it, it makes so much sense.

Robert Gabsa 17:44

But when I've seen it in action, right, and I've seen managers there that take the time, and for example, just with your, you know, some of the things that you're doing with managers, like having quarterly conversations and doing more with coaching and doing Check-Ins and making sure, especially now, right, when not everybody's on site. I know some of your facilities are more on site; some are hybrid, right, some are still remote, which probably, probably presents a whole new bucket of issues for managers, because now I'm not just managing; I'm managing kind of 3 different types of environments, right. But the engagement they have -- how did that help?

Allison Bebo 18:28

I'll say, you know, one of the things I, I'm just so proud of, and is so important for companies is to not cut things like engagement surveys when times are tough. You know, that, that is for investment, you know, with your people. And COVID for us, you know, I like to think of, you know, is really an opportunity to lean in and care for and be attentive to our people and understand where they are. And, and when I, when I think about engagement as an organization, and I think about COVID, we have this phrase that "You want to stay ready, not get ready." And in some ways, ... get done ahead of, you know, you know, start of 2020, March 2020 really prepared us. And I think, you know, the, we had a, we have a kind of a leadership quote that we talk about as, you know, "Tough times reveal our character." And I like to think of tough times also reveal our strengths.

Allison Bebo 19:39

And so many ways, you know, people in these difficult times leaned into their strengths. I mean, it was, I call it almost their survival skills. And it got the best of them; in some cases, they didn't get to use them as much, but, but it really did reveal, you know, you know, what they, what they needed to lean on to get through some challenging times. And and I think engagement with strengths to me was a big part of, you know, our resilience as well as our ability to be able to respond with the innovation that we did around the COVID response. You know, we were, well, first off, our organizational DNA has a lot of bias to action. But we definitely, we definitely looked at, you know, the, this idea of, you know, kind of leaning into those things that were important now. And a big part of that was leaning into our strengths.

Robert Gabsa 20:44

Yeah. Yeah. Jaclynn, did you -- ?

Jaclynn Robinson 20:49

Yeah, I was just looking at the chat box here. And this might be, what you're just saying, I think, even ties into a question asked, which is, How would you verbalize the concept that demonstrating the value of an individual fosters engagement? You know, the role of strengths unleashing -- How does it equate to valuing? And it sounds a lot like, it's easy for people to see they're connecting how their strengths apply to the mission of the, of Hologic, and what's valuable to you all, but the managers can connect with that too, to say, Oh, if I focus on what they do best every day, if I'm paying attention to their, their strengths, and I'm showing how they contribute to the mission, it's going to foster that engagement. What would you actually say, though? Because that's my perspective and hypothesis, but we would love to hear from you how you connected strengths and the value of an individual.

Allison Bebo 21:41

Yeah, you know, I, we tend to think about this in the context of belongingness and, and what it means to feel like, I am regarded for the differences that I bring. And that's a big part of it is, is valued and respected for those differences. And the cool thing with strengths is that we can say nobody has the same, I mean, I doubt the odds are in Hologic, it's not the same 34 themes in the same sequence. But a big part of what we're, we're talking about is, is just, you know, I belong here because I'm respected. And I'm understood for the differences that I bring.

Allison Bebo 22:28

You know, I work with a lot of people on my team that have the same role. But they're not -- I don't treat them, I mean that's clearly my Individualization -- but I don't manage them the same. But I, but I, a big part for us is that, you know, you are, you are here for a reason. And, and your talents matter. But it's also recognizing and respecting that those differences make us better. So I, I don't know if --

Jaclynn Robinson 23:00

Beautifully said!

Allison Bebo 23:03

But we are, we're definitely about the individual as a part of the team, the team as a part of the organization, and really stitching that all together.

Robert Gabsa 23:13

Yeah, I've noticed in just some of my interactions with a lot of people at Hologic that they do feel valued. You know, they do feel valued, because I even love the fact that one of the first things that we brought in to some of the work that we were doing with you year before last was applying this for managers specifically. But it was our CE, our Coaching Effectiveness Index, and it was able to look at things like my opinion, you know, by taking some of the Q12, and being able to really look at which managers have teams that feel like they're really being coached and they're really being appreciated and valued and individualized, and how much that makes them feel, right. Because it really comes down to, How do I feel? Am I cared about? Like the more I'm cared about and the better I feel, the more I'm going to show up and the better I'm going to perform. And that we would be remiss if, you know, I mean, I look at some of this journey, and I know your journey goes you know, it was a year for about the manager, but it's taken Hologic from starting engagement 6, whatever, 7 years ago --

Allison Bebo 24:15

Yeah. Seven years the survey's been in play.

Robert Gabsa 24:17

Yeah. And I've looked, right, at the steady and then hitting 96th percentile, hitting like amazing engagement, at the end of 2019, right. And then, or at the beginning -- 2019, it was, you got the the Don Clifton Strengths-Based Culture award. In January, you got your Q12 results, beginning of February, just, just absolutely blew out of the water the engagement. And then March, COVID hit. And I remember the conversation I had with with our team internally, we knew -- COVID hits; they have more important things to think about than us right now. But I bet, right, but I bet because of this engagement, I want to see what's going to happen. And COVID hit; Hologic answered and helped the world. Now you, now can you just tell us a little bit about how you pivoted? How you pivoted? What were you doing versus what did you do?

Jaclynn Robinson 25:19

Keyword of the year: pivot.

Robert Gabsa 25:21

I mean, the test kits, everything was like, take up the cavalry!

Allison Bebo 25:24

It was, yeah, I think, I think as HR professionals, everyone was sort of, you know, old rules, old ways, you know, were not relevant, what's the new roles and the new ways? And, and again, I think what, what we, in some of that was, what can we do? What, how can we help you? And I'm like, we really leaned into again, I'll call it that road map. And, and that opportunity when we were faced with, you know, shifting priorities. And we really focused on, I'll call it, you know, stability, right? Just, you know, calming where we could, and, and, and not, you know, it was always a balance. We didn't, we were all trying to navigate with this was going to be and we didn't know where we were going to go and how we were going to be able to respond.

Allison Bebo 26:20

But, but it was, you know, I'd say definitely kind of, when I think about engagement as a, in terms of basic needs and the shifting priorities, what we did is we said, Let's, let's really lean in on what's most important. And it really was, I think, all the way, you know, from every leader, manager, it was, let's just, let's just focus on the few things because we've got to really prioritize, you know, again, financial stability and, you know, the business and our customers.

Allison Bebo 26:59

So, you know, like I said, engagement almost was like, first thing you do: clarify expectations -- What's expected of me? Equipping our team so those tools and materials, you know, that was, we knew that it wasn't just the laptops; it wasn't just, you know, allowing people to be able to set up successfully in the office. But it was also information. So that connectivity, I think, the teams already had with each other and with their managers, I like the thought, I like to think that a big part of tools and materials was access to information and communication and, and just that connectivity. So, and that's kind of early days.

Allison Bebo 27:45

But I, but as we started to really understand more fully what we as Hologic could do to respond with, with developing the test, that, that is a whole nother part of our story, which is, Robert, to your point, we were, we were, the fuel was in the engine. Our employees were engaged. And when you're engaged and there's a problem to be solved at the global level, our diagnostics team, like, they, that was like all they did, going back to clarifying what was most important now. And they did. I mean, they, they moved mountains; they put through herculean efforts to develop a test in a very, very fast fashion.

Allison Bebo 28:39

But I just, I mean, I fully argue that it is, it has so much to do with just that level of engagement they started with. And, and then I talked earlier about our purpose, you know, it's you just aim them towards, towards our purpose. It's, it just, it just flows. And so I hope that helped. There's sort of a 2-part story. There's the response on the ... side, and there's the response to those that are, you know, we've got multiple divisions with multiple customers and multiple products. So, but in the end, high touch, focus, clarity on what's most important. But just also, we were ready, I guess, is the other thing; I said that earlier. We didn't have to get ready; we were ready.

Robert Gabsa 29:26

You were ready. And I think in some of the interviews that I had done with people, you know, the fact that they had, they felt that they were being valued, they felt that they were being individualized, that they were being recognized for their own natural talents and strengths got them engaged. And that high engagement, absolutely, to me, that was such a clear link to high performance. That you can, you can pivot like that, like a team, I mean, a company that was, that would have low engagement would not have responded that way, right?

Allison Bebo 29:53

No, no. A lot more distractions, that's for sure. I mean, you'd be, you'd have to address a lot more; you'd be addressing a whole different batch of issues, so to speak.

Robert Gabsa 30:04

Oh, totally, totally.

Allison Bebo 30:06

Yeah. But it's, and it was complicated. It was a time I don't think anyone ever wants to go back to, but, you know, as I reflect, it just, it's just a, it was a couple key things that we did. And, and the other thing that I, that I would be remiss is, you know, we have a fantastic CEO in Steve MacMillan, who, you know, part of the, the journey we've been on is, is, is also, you know, having and building an awesome leadership team. I mean, I'm just so fortunate to work with the leaders that I work with.

Allison Bebo 30:42

And, you know, we, we, we're not edict-driven. So we didn't respond with mandates and edicts; we really, you know, listened to our teams and were responsive to what was going on and understanding where they were. But it also is a story of just a very strong leadership team, of being aligned and being there for the broader organization. And that's the other key piece -- you got to have real strong leaders at the top.

Robert Gabsa 31:13

Yeah, I agree. I agree, it helps. We do so much, right, Jaclynn, in some of the work that we do with certain companies, there are some companies that are struggling with that, you know, I'll say that feeling of "No matter what, I'm gonna stay in the fight." And so much of that is, you know, getting people to feel, honestly, and truly connected to the mission of the organization, to the purpose of the organization, to why, why are we here? Why do we show up every day? And how do we do that? And, you know, I think something else that was really unique that I, that I saw, is, is using that appreciation of value of those, all of your people throughout the organization to, to really kind of step up and be innovative. I think you had said one time, you know, If you have a playbook and you have guardrails, and you put a fence around them, they're like sheep. Read up on the playbook.

Allison Bebo 32:07

Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, so I, it goes back to my Individualization and just, you know, a belief that what we do is unique to us. And it's sort of the unconventional and Hologic way. But, but to your point is, you know, one of the things that was super important to me coming in is that we would lead more from a principle-based approach versus a rules-based. And that tends to be you prescribe, you know, turn left, turn right; you tell them exactly how to do their job. And to your point, Robert, you know, it's, it's, you know, when you're truly strengths-based, you don't put fences around people. Because otherwise they, when you put fences around people, they show up and act like sheep. So, so yeah, yeah.

Allison Bebo 32:58

And it's, you know, I think, and that was, again, back to just, you know, how do you go back to unleashing talent? I mean, don't box them in, don't fence them in. And, and that is, that's kind of our, you know, our, our belief. And back to the leadership piece, you know, our, our view of leadership is, you know, similar to manager, and it is so important, who, who we name leader, who we bring in, who we promote into these roles. And, you know, I think they set the tone. But at the same time, when you hire really great leaders, you don't, it's sort of like it takes care of a lot of things, you know, it's, it's, it's leadership finds a way. And, and that's a big part of our story, too, is just let talent find a way.

Jaclynn Robinson 33:53

This ties into so much that we've, we've talked about the season, and I just love hearing it come to life with you all at Hologic. Because, you know, one of the things we, we talked about earlier this year was leaders and how they can inspire through their messaging. And you hired the right talent; you hired leaders that were all on the same page and knew how to communicate and inspire at a time of crisis.

Jaclynn Robinson 34:18

And then another thing that we had talked about was the 4 Needs of Followers. And it sounds like the leaders and managers did that so well, because as you were talking, we hear trust. The trust was there; there had already been manager development. They were high talent; you had leadership that was high talent. The compassion was there. We see individuals for who they are; we trust them. We know they're going to be more innovative. They're going to be able to identify best practices and really be engaged if we just trust them and we don't have a guidebook. And then you hear that hope. This is a time of crisis, but we can actually do something about it. Let's, let's go forth and move forward. And that was once you had that stability in place.

Allison Bebo 34:56

Yeah, well said, because I, I was -- I didn't say it, but that was our road map was the, kind of the Followers' Needs, you know, looking at the 4 Followers' Needs, and stability was, was key. And, and I think the, the trust in us was there. So a lot of what we leaned into is sort of, you know, we had, we knew, we needed to be very careful, right? Don't, don't commit to something you can't deliver on. So that was always incredibly, it was always a top-of-mind.

Allison Bebo 35:30

And we, we even thought about that with our customers, you know, our, especially on the testing front, you know, we couldn't keep up with the demand, as, you know, as with our supply, you know, in the early days as we were still ramping up. But we didn't want to overcommit. But we, so important we maintain that trust and, you know, live into our word. But inside Hologic as well, the stability piece was super important.

Allison Bebo 36:01

But the compassion you said earlier, I mean, that was, we had to make some tough choices early days. And, you know, they were tough choices that affected people's, you know, livelihood and having to do furloughs or reduction in pay. But it goes back to that, you know, someone at work cares about me. You know, we were in a really good position where I think managers were able to have those difficult conversations. And at the same time, there was that trust that when we get through this, you know, we'll, we believe -- we really firmly believe we'd emerge stronger. But that, you know, we would make it right for them, for lack of better words.

Allison Bebo 36:46

And so that -- the Followers' Needs was a big part of what our leaders thought about. And, you know, our purpose always gives us hope. You know, it's or it's a, it's a big mobilizer for us, in terms of what we do, and we just, you know, just rallied behind how we could give the world hope, frankly, in, in being able to get through this and get, be better on the other side. So that's great --

Jaclynn Robinson 37:18

It's wonderful. You see that too. I've been on the San Diego campus a few times, and you just feel purpose and see purpose come to life. And the, the employees truly live it and breathe it, from leadership level to individual contributor level. So it's, it's wonderful. It always gives me goose bumps just thinking about the impact you all have.

Allison Bebo 37:43

It is where the magic happened for, for Hologic. Our diagnostics teams, just, they're phenomenal -- they're, yeah, from, from the R&D scientists who developed it to supply chain folks; from regulatory to manufacturing and ops that, you know, actually made the test; and then logistics, who shipped it. I mean, it's just, it's, it's been really amazing to watch that site. That site was -- they never closed. They were, I mean, clearly, they wouldn't close in what we just talked about, but, but our leaders were there working alongside them. That was another part of our response and just showing up for our teams as, you know, a lot of organizations moved, you know, everybody to hybrid or everybody to remote. And we really wanted to be, for those of us that were, were there. I mean, our president, our CEO, their leadership team, the leadership team was there with our teams during that entire time. And that was very important to them.

Robert Gabsa 38:44

Yeah, you know, you'd mentioned furloughs and those tough decisions that you had made early on -- tough decisions that the world had to make, right. I mean, our company falls into that same category. But I, it really stuck out to me and again showed -- it spoke volumes to me when I was talking to somebody at one of your divisions. And she said, "You know," I was coaching, and she said, "You know, I think my, the hardest day that I've had at Hologic was the day that I had to tell, you know, not two people, but you know, a group of people, that they were being furloughed. And I remember crying, and I remember feeling it was, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do." And she said, "And then I think, the happiest, best day that I ever had at Hologic was when I was told that we could bring them all back, and every single one of them came back."

Robert Gabsa 39:31

They didn't go somewhere else. They didn't, you know, have bad feelings. They were ready to again, jump right back into the fight. Whether it was COVID or whether it was breast cancer, it didn't matter. That purpose of the more we can do, the more lives we're going to save, you know, it's that whole, that whole thing, right. Let's, let's, you know, allow people to to live better lives. And that purpose, I think, you know -- and, and I heard from a couple of people, "I couldn't imagine working for any other manager," which speaks volumes about your managers.

Allison Bebo 40:05

Which goes, yeah, and I think to your point, I mean, I think about meaningful conversations and just the role that managers play. And, and again, they were not easy. And it was, you know, very difficult. And, you know, the, the piece that, that we were really proud of, and again, I know it's COVID-related, but this idea that we stayed really close to those folks while they were on furlough. And, you know, we made sure that those connections were made, and they felt still a part of the team. And it was another really cool example of, you know, they, and I say this interesting way, like, their, their engagement was maintained.

Allison Bebo 40:50

And the evidence of that is we had, you know, the recruiters within HR -- we shut down recruiting, so that was, that was, for us in HR, that was really difficult in the U.S., to just sort of shut down recruiting for, you know, some time. And when we, when we brought them back, and we were looking at this significant expansion in San Diego in the diagnostics division, we threw in our recruiters in Manchester, U.K., and San Diego, California, on this opportunity to attract and bring in, you know, many more. We, it was, we went on a hiring spree, obviously. And they were phenomenal. It was like they never, like skipped a day of work. And they jumped right in and, and probably had one of the most rewarding opportunities in their career. Many of them were like, that was, that was one of the best growth opportunities is coming back. But, but they didn't skip a beat.

Allison Bebo 41:50

And when the same thing happened with some acquisitions, where we brought some people back to come back and, and, you know, work on some acquisitions and didn't skip a beat. So, you know, again, that goes back to I think that care and compassion in the conversations ahead of, and then during. And then when they came back, it was, you know, it was just so happy to have them. But they were, they just jumped right in. So, you know, again, this is, this was a journey getting to this place. But I, I'm so excited about, you know, what we did. But I'm, but I'm also excited about, you know, 2021, it's different ... you know, we don't -- now it's about what, what kind of, you know, how can we talk about emerging stronger, which we firmly believe we have, but, but what more can we do? And how do we, you know, pivot to these, you know, real opportunistic, exciting, transformational opportunities that isn't in response to COVID and ramping business back up, but just, you know, growing, growing, growing even more?

Robert Gabsa 42:56

Yeah, keeping that innovation, that agility as more of a daily practice, as opposed to a response. I think, in one of the interviews. I think was an interview on.

Allison Bebo 43:05

Key theme for 2021: proactive.

Robert Gabsa 43:08

Well, I think, I think it was Kevin, I think it was Kevin Thornal, President of Diagnostics, who said -- I think it was him or Steve ... CSNBC that said, you know, "Sure, COVID made us jump, like 2 years ahead. And now, we're just gonna keep operating at that same speed. And imagine -- and imagine how many more lives we're gonna make better because of that, how much more of our purpose we can deliver." It wasn't "how much more money we're going to make, or what's going to happen to our stock." I mean, the people heard, Think of how many more lives we're going to impact. You know, I mean, I just, I think it's great, and people feeling like that, because they're valued, because they're appreciated, because their opinions count, because all of those things. And their, and their strengths are known, their talents are known, their managers try to put them in, in positions or in roles or in assignments where they can absolutely do what they do best, as much as possible. You know, it makes them feel, you know, how people feel directly relates to how they perform, and you've done such a great job at that making people the trust; they feel stability; they feel compassion; they do feel hope. You know, I hadn't really thought about the 4 Needs of Followers until we brought it up now, but I think about it, and I think, wow, that was really very present. Yeah.

Allison Bebo 44:24

It was it was very much top-of-mind, yeah, for us, and still is, right. I mean, that's, that's, it's just a good, you know, I think for for leaders, we, we think they have all the answers. And so it was always nice to have some frameworks and something to kind of ground a common approach. And, and that was another theme I think with, with Hologic, when I think about leadership is you know, they -- our, our employees really look to us to, to guide and to lead. And, and I think we've brought a high degree of confidence and credibility that, you know, you're in good hands.

Allison Bebo 45:06

At the same time, we balance that with humility. And this idea of, you know, we didn't have all the answers; we were, we're very much active and listening, listening to understand what was going on. We, we love this idea that innovation and great ideas can happen anywhere in the organization. So there, there's that balance that I think we brought as well that was, that was really important, because, you know, not only did we go through COVID, but in the U.S., you know, we certainly had George Floyd murder and the, and the BLM movement. And so there was just a lot of, you know, sensitive topics and, and, you know, moments that we really had to pause and reflect and listen and understand what was going on with our employees.

Jaclynn Robinson 45:56

Yeah, well said. You hear the humility and vulnerability to just be open and creating that, that safety for people to be able to share out. Because we have been saying, you know, there was a COVID pandemic, but there were so many more that also happened over the past year, BLM being one of them, where, you know, we feel like we're just in one pandemic after another. And now, we're talking so much about wellbeing and burnout, and how do you even broach that topic? But you all have created that safety net, no matter what comes down the pipeline, because the trust and rapport and that, that humility and vulnerability is there, where they feel like they can open up is what it sounds like.

Allison Bebo 46:36

Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think for us, like I said, you know, 2021 is, it's, it is, there's a lot of energy around, you know, what, what we can do. And, you know, I think, Robert, you said, we were able to accelerate, you know, some of the capital investment that was in the queue over a 5- or 6- year period and do it in I think 6 months. So the whole thing for us now, as we look to the future, you know, we are, you know, I think, still ambitious. But, but there's so much we know we can do, and, and one of the things that COVID did for Hologic is it raised our profile globally. And it put us at the forefront and in front of, you know, health ministers and prime ministers. And, and it's, it's really been really exciting for us, because a lot of doors have opened up.

Allison Bebo 47:37

And, and so, you know, if we look at, you know, kind of the brand of Hologic and who we are, it's been phenomenal. But the other piece that -- and I think about being really purposeful about investment and thinking about the future and thinking about our purpose and what we can do for the world. We launched recently, publicly, that Gallup and Hologic together are building the very first Women's Health Index, a Global Women's Health Index. And, and I say that because this is an index that will be the only measurement in the world that understands the state of women's health. And it's going to be -- it is actually in the field right now. It has been -- being asked to the World Poll that Gallup delivers. So thank you all! The opportunity for us is to really understand the state of women's health across, I think, it's 116 countries. We're talking to 120,000 individuals, across 40, 40 languages or so.

Allison Bebo 48:54

But the index itself is, is a real opportunity for us to work closely with governments, work closely with customers, but really start to frame in, you know, what is the gap, the existing gap between what a country says, you know, is their public policy and practices around, you know, screening, compliance and access to care that it's really going to almost shine a mirror up to them to say, "Well, here's, here's what your women are saying. Here's what women in your country are saying." So very powerful. And one for us that is, again, as I think about Hologic's profile and the difference we can make, we think of ourselves as global champions of women's health. And this is that opportunity to, to put us more fully on the center stage to really help governments nationally, countries, you know, private sector, just really make those improvements that are necessary. And COVID affected women disproportionately more than, than, than men. I mean that is, that is a fact, so --

Robert Gabsa 50:11

Yeah. You're learning a lot, and you will be the world's foremost expert on women's health. 3.9 billion women in the world.

Allison Bebo 50:19

3.9 billion, yep, women in the world.

Robert Gabsa 50:21

And you're gonna learn so much.

Allison Bebo 50:23

We're gonna learn about them, so, yeah --

Jaclynn Robinson 50:26

So purposeful! You've got cheers in the, in the audience for that too. That's just -- it's great. It's, yeah --

Robert Gabsa 50:34

It's a gift. It's a gift.

Jaclynn Robinson 50:35

It is! It's needed. We've seen the disparity just grow with COVID between men and women, so --

Allison Bebo 50:41

Yeah, so Google, and you'll be able to see all about, you'll be able to read about it. But, but again it's, it's, it goes back to just, you know, living into your purpose and, and, and not cutting out the things that are going to drive long-term value for the world and for our people.

Jaclynn Robinson 51:04

Well said.

Robert Gabsa 51:05

Well said. Well said, Ali.

Jaclynn Robinson 51:07

It's a perfect way to wrap up our --

Robert Gabsa 51:11

I'm not gonna let her leave without something I've never thanked -- and you're the representative, right, so I should be thinking a lot more people at Hologic, but early detection saved my sister's life. So thank you for what you do.

Allison Bebo 51:25

Oh, wow. Oh, Robert, I'm so glad! Thank you for sharing that. Yeah.

Robert Gabsa 51:31

Thank you for what you do.

Allison Bebo 51:33

Yeah, we like to think -- I mean we don't just, you know, we're not just about women's health; we're about global health.

Robert Gabsa 51:38


Allison Bebo 51:39

Women's health is something that we all take personally, so thank you for that. Yeah.

Jim Collison 51:44

Ali, before we wrap this, kind of one question as we kind of look to the future. We talked a lot about managers and the things you did for managers early on to help with that, and what great timing to bolster your managers right before the pandemic, right? What, if you could, if you could do one additional thing as we go into recovery -- and I'm just going to say that, like, we're headed into recovery -- one thing you're hoping for for your managers, management team, organization, leadership team, however you want to, however you want to do that, what's your hope for that? What else would you like to do? Or what's on the horizon a little bit for you around your own leadership and ways to continue to bolster them? They're beaten up, right? They've come out of this -- this has been hard on everybody, right? But how do we build them back up?

Allison Bebo 52:32

Yeah, I mean, I think, I mean it would -- I'd be remiss, and we said it briefly, but, you know, wellbeing is on our minds and just knowing that, you know, and I said earlier about women being disproportionately impacted. You know we're aware that people have made some, had to make some choices in pulling themselves out of the workforce or, you know, stepping back from their career aspirations. So it is on my mind just, you know, how do we get in front of that? And, and think about, you know, we, we're certainly thinking through kind of that return to office and looking at hybrid and bringing some structure and flexibility, so that, that is something that, you know, I guess it's, it's not -- we're not out of the woods. You know, we're not fully vaccinated; we're still having to, you know, in some cases work in hybrid situations with our kids at school.

Allison Bebo 53:28

So I think for managers, it's, it's just helping them there's a part of me, it's like How do we help them have the, those types of conversations? I've talked a lot about, I think the personal has bled into the professional and vice versa, which a lot of us love. I mean, I, I don't, you don't see her now, but my cat pops up and around. And, you know, we see ... on Zoom calls. But that, but that is, that is definitely I think what's on managers' minds is how do I, you know, how do I approach those more difficult conversations? And then at the same time, how do we think about overall wellbeing for our employees? Because it's, it's, you know, we're not -- we love our state of engagement of our employees, but we know that there might be spouses and family members that, when they go and sit at the dinner table, there are very different conversations. That is on my mind. It's just how to, how to be able to go inside of that.

Jim Collison 54:33

With that --

Allison Bebo 54:34

No problem where we are, but there's a whole household in some cases that may not be in this position.

Jim Collison 54:39

With that, I'll put a little plug in for Theme Thursday. For Season 6, we talk about that dynamic between work and home, and how these themes can interact that way. And I think, when we did Season 6, you know, last year, it wasn't -- we didn't see this coming. And I think now that folks have been home so long, that blend is even stronger than it was before. And how do we, as we transition back to whatever that new mode is, what does that look like now with who we were before, who we're going to be in the future and how we can apply our own unique talents to it, right?

Jim Collison 55:16

So I think we've, I think we have some amazing times coming up. I mean, I'm pretty excited about recovery. And not just from the sense of getting back to normal, which I don't know if we'll ever do, but from a sense of there's such great opportunities to do these things. Jaclynn, we're at the end of our time, take a second and thank our guests for coming today, and then I need to wrap this.

Jaclynn Robinson 55:37

Yes, thank you two! This was one of the most purposeful conversations, if not the most purposeful conversation, that I've been able to engage in this season. So it's wonderful just to hear it come to life, all of these concepts and practices and even actions that we've been talking about through the course of the season, hearing it all in one organization that is doing such fantastic work and important work for women in global health. It was a pleasure to have you both on. Thank you so much for taking the time. We are hearing it in the chat -- they, they, they're appreciative of it as well. Hologic is a champion of all of us. And then next, next week, next Friday, everybody, we will have Ruth and Jackie on, our executive coaches, to share out best practices they have with coaching. Yes.

Robert Gabsa 56:37

Yeah, you know them.

Allison Bebo 56:38

I know them!

Jaclynn Robinson 56:38

Yes. Oh, yeah. The excitement is there! So let's, they will, they will wrap us up for this particular leadership series until we discuss teams later in the summer.

Jim Collison 56:52

All right.

Allison Bebo 56:53

Thank you all!

Robert Gabsa 56:55


Jim Collison 56:57

Ali, Robert, thanks. I'm not gonna lie. I hid myself because I cried a couple times while you guys were talking -- pretty amazing story. And we get these incredible opportunities. But the mission is so strong. So thanks for both of you sharing that. Robert, I was thinking about you and I early pandemic day sat down and we did the series on the on the 5 Ways of Building a Strengths-Based Culture. You and I did that together, little 20-minute sessions. You were in the firefight at Hologic when we were recording those. And so it just, I kind of think about how coincidental, ironic, whatever words you want to use in there, how meaningful those are today in this conversation. I was thinking back to those times you and I shared together doing that. And then, Ali, to hear it from you as how it kind of, how that kind of played out in that role and how you guys have taken that strengths-based culture seriously in what you're doing,

Robert Gabsa 57:51

Well working, working with them during that fire, Jim, helped me deliver that series of Building a Strengths-Based Culture because I had, like, the role model at my side. So it was, it was very easy for me. It was absolutely --

Jim Collison 58:05

Pretty great. I was just thinking about recording that series with you this whole time. "Oh, Robert said that -- yeah, I remember." He said that; he said that. So if you want to go back to last year, just go to In the search box, search "strengths-based culture." And you'll see our whole series that is there. They're all linked to each other. And if you want more Robert, he is there as well. A couple reminders, also, if you have any questions, you can send those in to us: If you want coaching, you want to get some master coaching or learn how to be a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or maybe engage with us like Hologic has done, send us an email: We'll get somebody to call you back right away. Don't forget the 2021 Virtual Strength -- why am I having trouble with that -- virtual Gallup at Work, there we go, Summit is coming up June 8 and 9. And we'd love you to be a part of it. You can get more information: Find us anywhere by searching "CliftonStrengths." And we want to thank you for joining us today. And some of you already said this: If you found this useful, please share it. We'd love you to be able to do that. Join us next Friday, as, as Jaclynn said. We got a great one coming up. We'll see you guys next time. Thanks, everybody.

Allison Bebo's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Individualization, Maximizer, Strategic, Relator and Activator.

Robert Gabsa's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Woo, Futuristic, Strategic and Maximizer.

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

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