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Improving Teamwork: Communication Is Key

Improving Teamwork: Communication Is Key

Webcast Details

  • What does transparent, effective organizational communication look like?
  • What kinds of communication skills do managers need to develop, and how does listening play into this?
  • What role can employers play in fostering and encouraging employee wellbeing?

Matt Mosser, Chief Human Resources Officer at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 3 of a series on teamwork, Matt shared what Gallup has learned about organizational communication, transparency and trust during the pandemic, and how managers can effectively measure the "pulse" of their teams as they listen to and communicate with their teams. He also brought insights into how organizations and managers can improve employee wellbeing.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 24. This is Part 3 of a 5-part series on teamwork. Access Part 1, Part 2, Part 4 and Part 5 of the series on teamwork.

Like everybody, we are ... challenged with trying to meet the needs of every single person in the company, which, at the root of what we're doing is, are we servicing our clients really, really well? And that's where it all starts.

Matt Mosser, 9:06

It's also important for leaders to take a stand. And one of the things I think people will get from Gallup is whether they agree or disagree, they know that they are clear on where you stand on things.

Matt Mosser, 14:55

I'm ultra focused on the work wellbeing piece of things; it's kind of my own personal mission. And I come to work every day hoping and thinking that we are giving people the best job they could ever imagine by working here.

Matt Mosser, 35:38

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from our virtual studios around the world, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on May 11, 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 are listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link right above Jaclynn there to get that done. Jump in on the YouTube channel and get signed in. We'd love your questions live. If you're listening to us after the fact, you can always send us an email: Don't forget to subscribe there on your favorite podcast app, or pod catchers, we used to call them. Or you can do it on YouTube and get notifications whenever we have new content. Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Learning and Development Consultant with Gallup. And here, Jaclynn, it's always great to see you, and welcome back to Called to Coach!

Jaclynn Robinson 1:04

Likewise, friend. Hello, hello!

Jim Collison 1:07

We have a, we have a special guest with us today. Normally would not make a big deal about the guest, but he is my manager. So we got to be extra --

Jaclynn Robinson 1:14

It's pretty big deal.

Jim Collison 1:15

We gotta be extra with him today. Jaclynn, take a second, introduce our guest.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:19

All right, so today we have our future-oriented, strategic Chief Human Resources Officer here at Gallup, who is focused on talent growth and people development. So Matt's Top 5 are Individualization, Maximizer, Arranger, Focus and Significance. He leads with quite a few Influencing Themes, even if we go into that Top 10. So we are excited to have Matt on today. Hello, Mr. Mosser!

Matt Mosser 1:44

Hello! Good to, good to be with you guys. I'm excited. And Jim, Jim, let's not, let's not kid ourselves; you manage me much when I manage you. So, it'll all be just, it'll all be just fine.

Jaclynn Robinson 1:58

So we've been talking a little bit on, on the show this past year about, we kind of have this trend going: past, present and future. So where have we come from? Where are we at now? And then where are we heading? So just to kick us off and get us started, during the past year, how did you maintain transparency and really deliver communication with the organization?

Matt Mosser 2:20

Good, good question. So one thing that I, maybe I'll just say a little bit about Gallup, and maybe it won't surprise too many people on the line. But maybe this surprises people a little bit as well. We are a company that, when we publish books like It's the Manager, and we run our company through our manager network. Gallup is a company with a little over 1,000 employees; our manager-to-employee ratio is similar to many companies -- it's about 1 to 10. So we've got about 100, 110 managers in the company that we run all of our communication through.

Matt Mosser 2:57

And I think to begin with, as a foundation, for us with managers, what, the work that we did coming up to the beginning of the pandemic was so important because all the trust and teams that you've built and, and I'm going to call it, I guess, success that you've had as a manager was essential for the time when things got really rocky -- probably as rocky as it will ever be in our lifetime, when you get back into last March, April, and what our, what our future is.

Matt Mosser 3:25

And so the foundation with cascading, cascading communication through our company really started with a ton of transparency. And Jaclynn, thanks for mentioning, you know, influence is an important thing. And the first point I'll make about transparency is that Influence talent, whether you have a ton of it, or you need to borrow from somewhere to get it, it is so, so important. And one thing that I'm sure all strengths coaches know, but I think that people, in terms of self-awareness sometimes may not realize, is the importance of having Influence in leadership is that -- I call it a constant, nice pressure that is, that is applied to people, as opposed to no pressure and then explosions. People think sometimes temper tantrums or big explosions are Influence, when actually I call that the opposite of Influence. The Influence is a nice, healthy, constant pressure, communicating values, beliefs and transparency. And when, when, when managers and leaders have that, I think it makes it a lot easier.

Jaclynn Robinson 4:30

You really just remind me too of the culture. And that's something that Jane [Miller] had also talked about when we brought her on to talk about purpose. That pressure-cooker sense -- if you already have a strong culture going into something that feels chaotic, where you have to be agile pretty quickly, then even if you're in that pressure cooker, you're still coming out and you're still putting forth productivity; you still have camaraderie, and so forth. So I'm glad that you brought up that piece of trust and community.

Matt Mosser 4:58

Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Jaclynn Robinson 5:00

How did you, and, and we saw this, but this is a struggle. And I've seen this quite a bit in coaching, where leaders and managers have communication and they're quite transparent, but then it gets stuck, and it doesn't get pushed down the line. Is there a way that you hold managers accountable to moving that communication down the chain?

Matt Mosser 5:19

So yeah. So, so first of all, we, when, when, let me let me talk a little bit specifically about the pandemic, because I think some specific examples may, may be helpful. But Jane, as our COO and president -- you may not have had a chance to see her on this show, but she's a great leader. And one of the things that she worked on immediately, and I think we had in the hands of every associate and every manager within a week was a literal, 12-step plan of, Here is the way that we're going to make decisions in this company as this comes along. Some of it was a little scary. Some of it was a little hard-hitting. It addressed things like head count; it addressed things like financial performance and made it really clear that at the end of the day, our leaders are here to make sure that the company can endure this entire thing, and then come out of the, on the back end in a way that we can, that we can have a future.

Matt Mosser 6:10

And so we did a town hall for the entire company, where we did lay out what those 12-step plans were. And then we, our, our company's pretty flat, for the most part. And we have kind of, I'd call it 3 levels of managers, where we have our C-levels. We then have a next group that we call Management Committee, and then every manager in the company literally reports to that Management Committee. So we did get our Management Committee together, lay out expectations, and were even a little more prescriptive than we were on a few things around making sure that, that we had a mantra about no surprises. So we did not want team members being surprised about what could happen. Because we had a really interesting dynamic with our teams where we had people who wanted really rough communication that would scare the heck out of them. And we had a couple leaders do that. And we had -- half the company loved it; half the company wanted to run and hide.

Matt Mosser 7:12

Then we had people who wanted a little bit more of an inspirational and less hard-hitting message. And the hard-hitting people said, That'll never get us to where we're going. And everybody else kind of liked it. So it really was about making sure that not only did we have good companywide communication, but then that every one of our 100, 110 managers went and picked up the pieces as necessary with every single individual in the company.

Matt Mosser 7:36

So we were a little more prescriptive than, than we have been in the past about expectations to go and make sure we're we're following up. And, and one of the things that was a gift with Zoom for us in our, in our management culture is that we could make sure that we could get all of our team meetings happening on either a weekly basis or a monthly basis. For a while it was weekly, to stay in communication, and getting every single person on screen. We're spread out all over the country and all over the world. But to look at everybody face-to-face and see each other's faces was a really important part of the communication.

Jaclynn Robinson 8:17

It's a good point you bring up. Another thing that that even reminds me of, the minute you said Zoom, it reminded me being on the Learning and Development Team as well is training, skills training. So if we were having to adapt relatively quickly to new changes, there was a lot of learning and development that was involved in making sure that we could still do our role quite well. So I think that communication also trickled down pretty effectively.

Matt Mosser 8:42

Yeah, I agree.

Jaclynn Robinson 8:43

Yeah. Presently, what information do you think is most pertinent to managers and teams? We're kind of in this, yeah, we're kind of in this, a little bit of a road of recovery. We know we're opening up soon. People have started to become really acclimated to this new way of working. Is there any communication that you're starting to noodle around in your, in your mind?

Matt Mosser 9:04

Yeah, so, so I think, like everybody, we are, I'm going to call it challenged with trying to meet the needs of every single person in the company, which, at the root of what we're doing is, are we servicing our clients really, really well? And that's, that's where it all starts. And second, secondarily is how is that impacting our, our internal culture? We've built a culture that I think if, if you're a big Gallup fan, and you study our Q12, or you know our Q12, we've modeled our company to try to prewire it to fit things that matter for engagement -- best friends at work, important relationships with managers to associates, all of those kinds of things. And so that has been, that has been really important for us.

Matt Mosser 9:49

So I sit here in Omaha, so I'll give context. This isn't speaking for every office because we've got different health measures in different cities, that sort of thing. And where we're at in Omaha -- I was just telling, I was just telling these guys, Jaclynn and Jim, this before I got on the phone -- that Omaha is letting its mask mandate, the county we're in, the mask mandate expires May 25. And so we're sitting here with this decision in front of us about returning to the office and those that have been in the office, what are they doing? We actually opened our doors in this office a year ago, in June. So last June, it was actually available to come into. We didn't mandate it. And I would say our capacity was less than 5%. We're probably close today to 40% to 50% capacity here 3 days a week. So it is coming back slowly but surely.

Matt Mosser 10:41

But just when I thought that the health measures in this county being lifted, it would be an easy communication to say to our teams that we're also going to follow the county and you don't have to wear a mask if you're vaccinated or not vaccinated, the reaction from the office was kind of like the United States -- where it was definitely not for the faint of heart. It was on both ends of the spectrum and everything in between, what the reactions were. And it's something that, communication-wise, we're in the process of, of managing through right now.

Matt Mosser 11:17

So what we're creating, No. 1, first and foremost, is we want our employees to feel safe. And by being safe, they can choose to continue to work at home; they can choose to come in the office and sit in an office or sit in a place where they're safe. They can wear masks. They can go to meetings or attend meetings on Zoom. We have some in-person meetings; I was in an in person meeting this morning, with 10 people in a huge room. And it was one of the first ones I've been in, in, in a long time. So all of these things are happening. And our primary communication is that we want people to feel safe.

Matt Mosser 11:52

But secondarily, we also are taking, I'm going to call it a little bit of an aggressive stance that we do want people to some sense of in-person scheduling by Labor Day, when school kind of goes back. We do think that we miss out without human-to-human interaction. And our, we think our Ideation is better. We think our partnerships are better. We don't think that it will be back to what it was pre-pandemic for us. But we are going to be a little aggressive about people going out.

Matt Mosser 12:30

And it really is -- last point I'll make on this, and I'll love to answer questions about this -- is we're looking for kind of consistency in people's lives. We have people that, if we have people that are going to restaurants and going shopping and going to bars and all those types of things, but then they're not going to come to the office, really trying to get some authenticity around making it something that people are consistently kind of living-wise. But anyway, communication around this, so, Jaclynn is, is tricky. But it is something that we are edging towards wanting people in the office at least a little bit.

Jim Collison 13:06

Matt, as a coach to managers or a manager to manager, how do you, what kind of advice would you give to your managers in this? You know, you put this note out, it, thinking it's gonna be a slam-dunk, creates chaos. You have, you have action coming in from both sides and in the middle. There's a probably a disinterested third party in the middle too, just like, "Whatever; I'm going to do whatever I want." They won't say anything, but they're going to be passive-aggressive, right? How do you, what kind of advice, as we think about our coaches that are out there, and our leaders in ... , what advice do you give them? When that comes flying back, there's a tendency to knee-jerk on this thing, one way or the other. Can you give us some advice on that? How do you handle that?

Matt Mosser 13:46

Sure. So, so one of the things that is sort of my natural, I'm going to call it existence, is I love to have my finger on the pulse of as many people as humanly possible. So Individualization being No. 1 for me, when I ever get asked to describe, you know, my strengths, and what defines me, I feel like Individualization is 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. There's bad parts of it, by the way; there are really good parts of it. And I am just genuinely curious about where people are on things.

Matt Mosser 14:17

And then, and, and when we come back and announced this, we didn't think it would be perfect, but I do think it's also important for leaders to take a stand. And one of the things I think people will get from Gallup is whether they agree or disagree, they know that they are clear on where you stand on things. And so having that finger on the pulse not only from managers is important, but also from associates, as many associates is, as possible is, is also very important. So just a lot of, a lot of listening and not sitting in your office and being by yourself and imagining what you think people want.

Jim Collison 15:00

Would you say, because every manager is a little bit different as well, right? They have a different -- their teams may be structured differently, their communication style might be differently. How do you, if you're sensing you've got a manager where the communication isn't working and you're getting word of that, how do you, how do you handle that? Like, how do you come back to fix that?

Matt Mosser 15:23

So it's, it's first of all, it's not easy. That is, that is, that is for sure. But, but I do think that we have, we do have our managers that lead our management teams that I think, to a person, I think I would put toe to toe with any great managers in the world. And we do ask them to mentor those that are not probably quite as clear. And look, I don't ever tell anybody we have a perfect workplace, because we don't. And I think statistically, that we're very similar to what some of our great work -- I don't think we're a bad workplace, but I think we're similar to a lot of our Great Gallup Workplace Award winners that you have 90% good managers, and we have 10% that we have to help and we have to coach. And I think that's always going to be a function of who we are.

Matt Mosser 16:12

And to your point, Jim, we've got managers, you know, that the average tenure on my team directly at Gallup is over 15 years. It's a very different beast than managing a team of people that have been here less than 5, with a lot of new parents, and a lot of you know, you know, kids in school. And some have traveled their entire lives, and their family suddenly finds them at home, you know, 365 days a year. Jaclynn, don't laugh, right. There, there just is so much variance team to team on all this stuff that, that we do trust our managers to know. But, but Jim, when we do have issues -- and we do have them -- I do think that we think about it. And we do pulse surveys -- we don't overdo it, like maybe people think we would at Gallup -- but we run a pulse survey every month or two on, on these sorts of things and get, get an idea on what's going on.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:07

There's some great points that I've been hearing, too, and, and coaches in the community, you've likely heard it, too. One thing that they pulled in was the 4 Needs of Followers that they're hearing come out of what you're saying with communication. Couldn't agree more with that stability, trust, hope, compassion. And that leads me to that compassionate communication, because a lot of what you've been saying as I'm listening, I'm listening to what the people are saying. There's Empathy that's involved there.

Jaclynn Robinson 17:35

But then the mentor coaching. In some organizations, coaching is seen as, "Oh, you're in trouble." So that's performance-based. But here, we thrive whenever we receive any form of coaching. So even when the managers need that additional support and get the coaching, it's coming from that supportive developmental place versus we're putting you on PIP, which I think some organizations think about. So coaches in the community, I think that's a great point that Matt's even hitting on is how we frame up coaching and the value of it in organizations.

Matt Mosser 18:08

Yeah, you know, Jaclynn, when we, when I get prescriptive with coaching managers and boy, some, some people think this is soft, but as Jaclynn and Jim know, I'm anything but soft on the way that we manage. I'm, I'm pretty, I'm pretty tough. But I, we do have a really firm belief that the closer to our research of 12 positive things for 1 negative thing that you're giving people feedback on, the closer we are 12 to 1 versus 1 to 1, or 0 to 1 or 3 to 1, the better we all are. And so really reinforcing what people do really well does make coaching that much better. But it's always even me who, you know, sometimes will get, you know, a little a little wound up on certain things, to get reminders from people that coach me that staying -- the closer we are to 12 to 1 positive to negative comments in, in coaching is a, is a really, is a really good thing to always have the mindset. It's hard to do, by the way, but it's, it's something to have, have in terms of a good mindset.

Jaclynn Robinson 19:15

Well done. So we're, we're seeing some, some questions come in from the community as well.

Jim Collison 19:20

Yeah, let me let me, get this one. Lisa says, How is information transmitted? And how do you ensure even -- even, consistent transmission? Email, do you recommend email plus meetings? Talk a little bit about those communication channels, Matt.

Matt Mosser 19:34

Yes, yeah. So we just, we just did a communication survey in pulse about a month ago, and here's how people prefer to get communicated to in our company. We had a lot of, I think, good specific data. But generally speaking, one of the best culture changes we had with the pandemic is we started companywide town halls. And we just never had prioritized them as a focus. And I was always for them and was trying to convince more people to want to do them because they have to be really well done and produced to engage 1,000 people with tons of different backgrounds. But we actually did really, really well with them. And, and that was, that got rave reviews in our communication survey.

Matt Mosser 20:24

So to the question, I think it's 3 tiers of cascading -- monthly town halls, where we are clear about how the company is doing, where we're going and any big announcements. Then we follow it up in writing with a note. And then we ask all of our 110 managers to make sure that in their either weekly or monthly team meetings, that they are holding what I'm going to call very transparent, rumor-buster, Q&A types of questions. And so the 3 things are good. And then in those town halls, we do do a live Q&A. We don't do a half hour of Q&A, but we do probably 10 to 15 minutes of Q&A. And that's been the formula for us that has worked really well. So live on Zoom with our top leaders, followed up by notes in writing, followed up by Go To, our -- what we call manager, we call them Go Tos in our company -- followed by manager, manager dealing with it in team meetings, and then as needed, individual, individual-type, type meetings.

Jim Collison 21:30

Matt, how do you know that's working? Like, what kind of, what kind of signals do you look for? What kind of things are you watching to know what's working?

Matt Mosser 21:38

So one thing just really good news for us in that communication survey, Jim, 8 out of 10 people said the communication levels are just right. About 8% were saying "too much"; 12% were saying not enough. But, but 8 out of 10 people thought our communication levels are just right. And candidly, I thought it would be 50%. I don't think you could ever communicate enough, and you never know if you're communicating enough, but people did like what we're doing. And so, and we have not overdone it and flooded our communication channels with, with communication. We have continued to be, I'm going to call it on a once-a-month type of schedule. And it's not a daily or or even a weekly thing, for the most part.

Jaclynn Robinson 22:27

I love those town halls -- whenever they started coming through, especially in the beginning of the pandemic, because you just felt connected. And it was great to see people on camera, see people in chat, just hearing what's going on in the state of the world.

Matt Mosser 22:41

Zoom has been a huge game-changer for, I'm sure, the whole world. For Gallup, getting, we've moved our monthly awards get-together to global. We have our year-end awards, which we kind of had always done in Omaha and flown our top award winners in, it was global; everybody got to experience it. There's something about not being in person, but feeling as close to an associate in London as somebody who lives one mile from my house is a really cool feeling that I think has, has kind of democratized meetings, which I think has been just a wonderful outcome.

Jaclynn Robinson 23:21

It reminds me of Q12, too, going back to, When have you had the most fun at work? We think about the Q10 question ["I have a best friend at work"] but that could cross the board in organizations. And if leaders or managers are asking that, what can we take from the, this past year that's worked really well that we can continue to, to implement and integrate in moving forward?

Matt Mosser 23:43

Yeah, so, so I do think -- I see Lisa's question about hearing for managers and their, and their teams. I think that, you know, to that, to that question, Jaclynn, that we have gotten, I'm going to call it a more disciplined schedule to team meetings and touch-bases, where sometimes I think you get a little bit away from that with the client-first mentality that I think we've put in a discipline. And so, you know, Lisa, for example, let me speak to myself. I've got a management team of about 12 managers that manage the group that I'm responsible for. And we do a lunch together for an hour every single Wednesday. And we started this, by the way, during the pandemic. And it literally is an open forum that we focus on two things, one of which is how can we recognize people from each other's teams?

Matt Mosser 24:40

So we are having and fostering more recognition; that was one important thing. And then second, feedback from the things that they're hearing and fingers on their pulse, on the pulse of everything that's, that's going on, again, under the idea of no, no surprises. So that's kind of the way I would say we structure our, our, kind of our listening channels.

Jim Collison 25:00

Matt, one of the things I've loved about watching this happen on your teams is the combination of, of getting, you know, having a meeting, but not having a single focus. In other words, maybe getting multiple things done, not just from a, as an example, we get some wellbeing by having lunch together, right? That's one of those moments of eating together -- when we meet, we eat, right, going way back, even doing that virtually. But at the same time, then getting some recognition pieces in there to say, How are we, how are, how are your teams, where managers may not be privy to some of those things that are happening outside of their own team but that are affecting their team -- that was great.

Jim Collison 25:40

And then a lot of command and control; you were able to get us the information we needed during that time right then, as a part of that meeting as well. It didn't happen every week, but it happened when it needed to happen. So talk a little bit, you do that intentionally, as we think about these meetings, of kind of combining purposes together in them, but the consistency of them to make sure they happen.

Matt Mosser 26:03

Yeah, so one thing that's a little controversial with meeting professionals, meeting experts is I actually intentionally have no agenda for these. And we don't come in with a checklist of things that we are looking to accomplish. And it is intended to be partly social, free-flowing communication. I think, I'd like to think that we've got a team that voices, opinions on things that are not going well. So they always get brought up, I feel, and, and we've had a lot of tough issues in the last, you know, in the last, in the last 12 months. And then I always do have one or two points, Jim, that I want to make sure that we are starting to socialize with our teams and, you know, staying, you know, certainly staying staying out ahead of.

Matt Mosser 26:48

So just maybe for the listeners, the types of things that we're dealing with are probab --that we've dealt with have been pretty standard. We, Gallup had a small, voluntary buyout during the pandemic. Gallup did make pay adjustments. Gallup did have, we actually lost very few clients. But we had a lot of clients postpone work into 2021. We're feeling that right now, which is amazing, invigorating and stressful all at once. And it's all, it's all come kind of in, into the place in the last, in the last 2 to 3 months. Uncertainty about different business lines, of things that, that we were in, it certainly tightened our focus in what we were doing.

Matt Mosser 27:32

So we dealt with, we dealt with things all while having I, my -- probably my greatest love in my job is recruiting -- all while having this very odd dynamic of a handful of companies recruiting really aggressively through this entire thing. So technology firms coming after our technology people, and we're trying to balance all things to keep our people here for the future, while the big tech firms that were killing it coming after everybody, saying you can work from home and make the money you make in, in, in Northern California. Just all of those things happening. It was a, it was a big puzzle. But all things that you read about, we had our own version of all of it.

Jaclynn Robinson 28:18

The transparency they're, they're loving in the community as well, just hearing that we, we're going through a lot of the same things that other people have or had gone through. It goes right back to the trust and rapport too, with, you know, Lisa's question was also about How does communication flow up? And that's also built on that trust and rapport that you touched on is we have a really good relationship. They know they can come to me and share out. And so, first and foremost, I think having that culture of trust and transparency and rapport is so pertinent in order to navigate when it starts getting especially tricky, or you're in the pressure cooker.

Jim Collison 28:54

Matt, Kasie's asking a good question; I think this is to you personally. How much coaching do you get to experience during like, during the pandemic? Was it with a strengths coach? Do you have a manager mentor who has coached -- like for you personally, how do you feel your coaching works?

Matt Mosser 29:12

Yeah, so, so I have, I like to call myself kind of I'm coached by committee. And so if you want, in the literal sense, who is my coach, it's Jacque Merritt. I'm sure you all know her. She has been my coach for maybe 15 years. And so when I get into things that I really need to talk to somebody about that is just kind of an outsider, it's awesome that Jacque works 4 doors -- she's 15 feet away from me, office-wise. All the coaches are here on my floor that, that work in Omaha. So she's 15 feet away from me, which is great. But she's also not involved in our internal running of Gallup; she works with clients. So she is like an outside coach that works internally.

Matt Mosser 29:57

So, really clearly her, but then I think like with most companies, Jane, again, our COO and President, has been my manager for a very long time and has been my coach and mentor. Jim, our CEO, did a ton of coaching with me. Jim Krieger, our CFO, did a ton of coaching with me. And then our entire management team, look, I think all of them on the committee thing, had a ton of, ton of advice for me. People that are in Jaclynn's role that are coaching and also what I call our Workplace Consultants, when they have opinions and thoughts, I like to think I get calls fairly regularly from 5 or 6 of these guys that just have advice or Have you thought about this? Or this happened at a client; what are we thinking about this at Gallup?

Matt Mosser 30:45

So the mind candy is never ending here at Gallup. Probably the very most impactful coaching that I had is that between Jane, Jim and Jim, the whole concept of our Demands of Leadership, of making sense of experience, they were such unbelievably steady professionals. And I, I particularly love some of the contextualizing that our CFO, Jim Krieger, has, that, for him, this was not that different than 2009, which then was not that different from him, for him, than 1999-2000, which then, for him, was not that different than 19, I think, 87. So he kind of, you know, he's been here for 40, 45 years; he says, "Yeah, this kind of thing happens about every 10 years." So don't, don't get too high; don't get too -- it's all gonna be fine. I don't know how nervous he really was. But for a guy like me, that is great context.

Matt Mosser 31:52

And then Jane, Jane is a person who is probably the most confident person I know in my life, and her confidence to navigate this with the people we have was never, she never blinked. And that level of confidence is always good. And then Jim Clifton, as a CEO, living out in the future, saw how much -- he felt this actually played into Gallup, because the workplace is being re-, reengineered; he's like, This is our time. I mean, we're gonna have a rough 3 or 6 months, but this is our time. And so the inspiration from the strengths that those three, those three people had, for me, were, were important. But a lot of, a lot of coaching by committee, for me, is, is the way I, the way I approach it.

Jaclynn Robinson 32:41

That's a new term I'm gonna have to coin and use.

Matt Mosser 32:45

Multiple inputs, right?

Jaclynn Robinson 32:47

Yes. So you had a lot of people that helped you and provided that confidence to keep moving forward. Were there particular themes aside from Individualization that really supported you this past year?

Matt Mosser 32:58

Yeah, so, Jaclynn, I'd say, so Focus, Focus is a big one for me. And Focus for me, just, just to be clear, is about staying the course for 1, 3, 5 years and knowing where we're going and not getting too riled up about the week ahead. My wise CFO always says, You got, Matt, you got to think past Friday night. That's always the thing I, I quote for myself that, that that Focus, that Focus part is, has been really good. And then Significance, for me, which -- I have tons of Significance for those that know me really well. But I do like to think that it is an others-oriented Significance, where it is about how is our company seen by the outside? How is it seen by onlookers? How do our employees' families think about us as a company in terms of how we've dealt with this? And I'm always thinking about how others view our company is where Significance was also a very, a very big, big piece. It was, I know people with some, some people with a certain kind of Significance, it's more individually oriented about themselves. But for me, I like to think that it is a lot more about how others are viewing us.

Jaclynn Robinson 34:19

So one thing that I started thinking about too as, as you've been talking is the wellbeing piece. Our wellbeing book, Wellbeing at Work, just recently came out. How are you thinking about -- and we know the impact that that's going to have on on individuals, so even just hearing Significance, I'm thinking large impact with the Wellbeing at Work book. How has that been playing into your role recently within the organization or even thinking outwardly what we can do for others?

Matt Mosser 34:46

Yeah, so, so obviously I'm a, I'm a big, a big fan and I've got certain areas of wellbeing I need to work on, work on more than others. And I, I, I, what I've always just been very focused on -- I'd like to say my expertise is around the workplace wellbeing. And it does fall right into the stuff that we're doing that I, we've been interviewing a lot of candidates, and they're, they're asking a lot about our culture. And people that want to come work at Gallup, the most important thing for me is our mission and purpose -- that people spend a third to a half their lives working. It takes up even more mind space than that, and the social impact that has on families, on kids, on marriages, on relationships, on all of those sorts of things are just are just so, so important to me.

Matt Mosser 35:37

And so I'm ultra focused on the, the work, the work wellbeing piece of, piece of things; it's kind of my own, my own personal mission. And I come to work every day hoping and thinking that we are giving people the best job they could ever imagine by working here. And it's always a moving target. But, but that's where I love to live in the, in the wellbeing space.

Jim Collison 36:02

Matt, during this series, I've leaned on Jaclynn for this, this, like the experience, what are our customers saying? This has been, you know, and William in the chat asks kind of a very similar question in that -- oh, that's not the one I actually wanted. I wanted Lisa's there. So Is there a flow of best practices between you and our consulting field? Are you learning from clients or sharing your internal learnings with clients? What, what are you hearing from our clients? And are you continuing to move or take action on those?

Matt Mosser 36:31

Yeah, so Lisa, I have what I think is the coolest CHRO role in the world, because half of my job is, so very specifically Gallup, my job is recruiting and learning and development. A lot of -- not a lot of -- all of the other functional HR things actually sit in other places at Gallup; that's how we've organized our company. So there are those two things. The other half of my job is actually our client-facing work around the selection, pre-, pre-, the selection assessment business, as well as our learning and development and coaching business. And so getting the internal and external parts of those certainly helps us a ton internally. And I like to think some of the things that we do internally help externally a lot.

Matt Mosser 37:25

The thing that I think that is the last, I'm going to call it, sort of, last winning space in wellbeing, I think that our clients, conceptually, are so aligned with our model and are so excited about the work that we are doing. As with anything where I think Gallup has been incredibly great, for example, in the workplace space, is that we have a very clear and manageable change-management approach to what we're doing. So when you think of strengths, the change-management on strengths is really straightforward: You need a coach, and you need a good coach.

Matt Mosser 38:05

On engagement, we have really good action. On employee selection, we have really good action. When it gets into some of the other areas of wellbeing, such, some of the health things, the action and what role employers can and can't play with them, I think is the part that needs to get, needs to get figured out. We've taken over the years a pretty aggressive stance, and I've, I'll just give an example. You know, we believe that financial wellbeing, at the end of the day, comes home to roost at the employer. That if people have managed their finances well, your company benefits from it because you've got people that are more engaged long-term; they'll probably stay with you. If they haven't, and they're constantly on the job hunt to make just a little more money, that is a problem for you.

Matt Mosser 38:56

So in part of my performance reviews for a long time, I've done financial wellbeing checks, and 80% of my team loves it; 20% of my team says none of your business. And I think that other companies run from that type of thing. And I think for us, it's been something that, that I can see the challenge with it with, with other people. I feel very close to my team. And so even the 20% of "none of your business" sometimes surprises me a little bit. But it is something that we try to get resources to people. But I think that execution part of the elements of wellbeing, and how you're actually going to run it through your culture, are the tricks that have to be figured out. The thought leadership, the thinking, the concepts, I think are unbelievable. But that's, that's the part that we've got to continue to, continue to get figured out.

Jim Collison 39:51

Then let me go to William's question because I think it's a good one. You said 80% of, you got an 80% feedback that you're doing the right amount. William's kind of curious -- If that had been 50%, how would you maybe have responded to that differently? And Jaclynn, I'll throw that question to you, too, as we think about what we're seeing out there in the consulting space.

Matt Mosser 40:10

So we would have dug in on the, dug in on the specifics of what people wanted and needed more of. And we did break these, this data out also by workgroup. So Gallup really does believe in approaching things at the workgroup level. So if we were at 50%, inevitably, you're going to have really good and you're going to have really bad, and so, and then everything in between. So we would have probably first addressed it with the teams that were not managing it well and learned from what the teams that were managing it really well are actually doing.

Matt Mosser 40:45

I can give a specific example of this. We have some managers who are great on every Friday sending a weekend summary note to their teams, and their teams absolutely love that. I am a person who is not good at that. And I prefer the conversations and the communication. So we deal with them more live and more verbally. And that works for my team. And so we're interested more in the outcome of do people feel like they're getting the communication than exactly how is it done. But we would dig in at the workgroup level and find out where the breakdowns are. And certainly, if we were missing on the whole-company communication, we would address that as well.

Jaclynn Robinson 41:24

Well said. I think, I think the, if I think about it from the employee engagement perspective, and we're working with organizations that say communication is, is hit-and-miss, going right back to what you said, let's look at it at the workgroup level and ask them, How do you prefer to be communicated with? What is that, what is the makeup of that group? What do they want to hear more of? What do they want to hear less of? So yeah, I would agree with that.

Jim Collison 41:50

That kind of ties in to Lisa's question, then. In younger generations that are more social-media-oriented, is there any pressure to evolve communications to meet that need? Are there rogue -- I know you don't have anybody that works for you that does these kinds of rogue social media things, Matt, but are there any rogue channels arising?

Matt Mosser 42:08

So yeah, you know, there, there is. And I've had to learn to accept them a little more than maybe I would have or wanted to even 5 years ago. But I think, I think that it's something that has to be managed. So Gallup, about 2 years ago, we put in place a employment brand manager, who, for a company of 1,000 people, manages all of our employment brand channels and does keep an eye on any social media stuff that is going on with regards to our employment. We don't choose to, to battle people on social media publicly, or that sort of stuff but kind of seek to, seek to educate.

Matt Mosser 42:52

The ones that of course drive guys like me crazy are the anonymous ones. Because you don't know if they're real or not real, or are they ex-employees who are angry, or are they the person sitting next to you, that you think you're friends with that is, is blasting you? So you don't really know where the anonymous ones are coming from. So those, those can make you a little bit crazy. But you know, Glassdoor is, in the hiring space, is a fascinating business model. And you have to engage with them or your world can get a lot worse.

Matt Mosser 43:22

It seems, it seems a little odd, but then -- and at Gallup, this isn't our session today, but Gallup has an entire, entire, let's see, an entire series of things that we have to be thinking about because of our brand and our polling business. And in our public sector business, where our ability to stay neutral on all things political relative to that big brand name that we have is also extremely important.

Matt Mosser 43:54

And so as we've had the social justice topics and the things that have occurred with the election, and all of those sorts of things and the importance for our employees to, to maintain neutrality publicly facing, there's a lot that comes up. That's a whole nother, Jim, 8-hour podcast, maybe that someone should do somewhere. Management through all of these things over the last year, separate of the pandemic, social media has, has a lot to do with it for sure.

Jim Collison 44:26

Lisa's also intending, Have we seen anything internal -- channels, maybe not official channels or things that are going on internally. We, we made a big jump to Teams about the time this all started to happen. Have we seen any of that?

Matt Mosser 44:43

Jim, maybe you can, you or Jaclynn can answer that. I use Teams and that's kind of my -- maybe my head's in the sand about that. I know our technology teams do some other social media type of stuff with their, their development systems and, and processes, but I don't, I don't know otherwise outside of Teams that I'm, that I'm aware of.

Jim Collison 45:00

I don't think I've seen any rogue uses of that. Usually those things, usually I can see or sense those things happening. And the, usually those happen when communication's not happening. And so they're, people are forced into that and so they begin to find their own channels. When the channels are open and consistent and fair and listened to, Matt, you know, I think you get, like you put a, you talked about this note about us coming back. How many of those did you get that weren't directly, you didn't, you don't manage them directly? Do you get that kind of feedback when a note goes like?

Matt Mosser 45:35


Jim Collison 45:36

So they, it would come through their manager?

Matt Mosser 45:38


Jim Collison 45:39

OK, good. Yeah. Jaclynn, what else?

Jaclynn Robinson 45:44

So, as I start thinking about bringing us home here, we've got a number of folks in our community that coach leaders. Some might be coaching CHROs. What advice do you have for them to be thinking about that they should be asking CHROs as we start moving towards the future?

Matt Mosser 46:02

I think that now is a great time to get really back to the basics on values and philosophies. And this is a time, I think, to be able to reemerge in a way that maybe you couldn't have emerged in, in the beginning. I think that we've got a little bit of a, of a blank, more of a blank canvas than we've probably had at any time in a really long time.

Matt Mosser 46:29

And so I think there are a lot of things that we can have around, around setting our culture. And whether that is what you want your office culture to be, whether it's what you want your hybrid remote culture to be, I think that there is, there is a lot with regards to what, what you want that to, to emerge into. And I've read a lot about people being able to, to change things; now's the time to, to make some, make some changes that I think are, that I think are good. So that, that would be probably be at the top of my list.

Jim Collison 47:01

Matt, do you see any communication challenges for the future as we're, as we're looking out? You know, a lot of emphasis was put on the stay-at-home or, or even how we communicate with those essential workers. I mean, we have to remember, we really had two sides of the coin on that: We had folks coming home and then folks who still had to stay at work, and we had to talk about both. As we now come back, on both sides, any, any challenges you see ahead and, that coaches could be aware of in helping their leaders?

Matt Mosser 47:31

I think being, I think being really in touch with what actual, let's, let me think of the best way to say it. Being in touch with what is happening across, let's just call it the, your country or your city in terms of how the pandemic could still be being experienced by your employees is so important to realize. Talking to Jaclynn before we got on the call, the lives our associates are living in Southern California right now are very different than our associates here in Omaha and are very different than associates living in Washington, D.C. Even within cities, there are kids in school; there are kids not in school.

Matt Mosser 48:19

My personal situation, I've got a kid in college who never was remote in college. He's in a small school in South Dakota that, that never closed anything down this fall. So it's been in-person the entire time. My younger son, who's in high school, had, had all in-person with some padding of remote around holidays for people that maybe had traveled, or that sort of thing. But I think, you know, as of a month ago, 80% of the country I believe was still remote. And that's not the lives our people in Omaha are living, for the most part. So being aware of all of those nuances, and what they're dealing with, is, is it's just important to be in touch with, I think.

Jaclynn Robinson 49:04

I'm glad you brought that up. That even reminds me of our international community, our international folks, and those that are in India right now that we've been thinking about as well. And when COVID first broke out, when we were thinking about our Asian employees, so what is, what is happening across the board?

Matt Mosser 49:20

Yeah, and we've got a very large Indian population in our technology group in Omaha that have families right now that they can't get there to see. They have parents that they're the only child and the parent may have, one parent may be the only one alive, they suddenly can't communicate. There's just, we're feeling it right here in Omaha and people don't connect those dots all the time. So great point on India. And it's, it's, it's still very scary.

Jim Collison 49:47

And I loved we saw some, internally, we saw some communication about that very, very quickly. So while it was localized to a lot of the areas and, you know, it didn't necessarily affect me or my role. But I got that communication very, very quickly to say, Hey, these things are happening; here's what we're doing. And it just, it helped me, you know, Matt, hearing these conversations, while I don't necessarily have direct reports now, hearing the management conversations that's going on at Gallup is very helpful to me to manage our global community. I get tips, and I hear about things that are happening globally through that, and it puts me at an advantage. I think in a lot of organizations, that communication may or may not just happen on a regular basis. And so I think kind of key to get leaders, I think sometimes the managers of managers forget that they're still managers, and that they need to do this communication. So Jaclynn, let's take a second to thank Matt for coming.

Jaclynn Robinson 50:41

Yes, thank you. Speaking of connecting the dots, you've just done that so, so fluidly and effectively throughout this session, especially as we think about things like financial wellbeing. That has been tricky. That has been something managers haven't necessarily wanted to touch. And you just connected that right back to say, this is the value of it. You just did that thinking about compassionate communication and empathic understanding of people and how that breeds more compassion and trust and rapport. So this whole one hour that we've had together has been quite impactful. And I think it's really helped our community to connect those dots with wellbeing, engagement and strengths. So thank you, sir, for coming on our show.

Matt Mosser 51:23

I love it. I love it. Thank you, and great seeing everybody!

Jim Collison 51:27

Matt, it's a little risky to ask your manager to be on your program. Do I get to continue to do these?

Matt Mosser 51:32

You're, Jim, as long as you want, as long as you want, man. It, it may be one of the greatest ideas that this company has had in a really long time. So I love it.

Jim Collison 51:41

I'm sure glad. It's always great to have you.

Matt Mosser 51:43

And Jaclynn, you're outstanding. This was great. I love it.

Jim Collison 51:45

Great, great to have you. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available now in Gallup Access, and we continue to add resources to that. So if you haven't been in a while, go to Sign in and go to the Resources tab, upper left-hand corner; drop that down, Resources, and just start typing stuff in. Like it's amazing the amount of resources we have in Gallup Access for you. So we'd love to have you visit that as well. For coaching, master coaching, if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach or, in this case, even if you want to work for Gallup, send us an email: And I'll say it because I have to say it because Matt's here: Matt, lately I've been getting a lot of folks contacting me personally saying, Hey, what are the opportunities at Gallup, right? Which is, which is kind of great. is where that exists, and we'd love to have you, if we got an open role for you that fits, we'd love to have you apply for that as well. Stay up to date with all the things that are going on here on the webcast: will get that for you. We are really excited about the 2021 virtual Summit going on here June 8 and 9, so 2 days, some amazing content that's coming out. And you're gonna, you're gonna want to be a part of it. So head out to And we'd love to spend those 2 days with you learning, growing, education, all those pieces and some great social pieces. Abbie's added some new networking in that as well, and so we're excited about that. You can find us on any social platform. Just search "CliftonStrengths," and those social teams are doing a bang-up job doing that as well. Some great resources available for you through the social, both on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram (which I still don't like), Instagram. We'd love to have you do that as well. Thanks for listening and thanks for being out there. If you found it helpful, we'd love to have you share it with other coaches or your organization. Thanks for coming out today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Matt Mosser's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Individualization, Maximizer, Arranger, Focus and Significance.

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

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