Guided by its PI Certified Partner, the NZ supplier prioritized behavioral data and enhanced its organizational self-awareness.
Anna Mogridge and Drew Thoresen both work tirelessly to drive innovation and growth at Watercare, the largest water supplier in New Zealand.
Anna serves as the Continuous Improvement Lead for the infrastructure team. Drew heads up learning and organizational development. And both have discovered that, to enact real change, they needed to better understand the people they work with—not only within the Watercare house, but across its many partnerships.
To navigate a series of organizational transitions, they’ve leaned heavily on Odelle Bell of Predictive Insight: a talent optimization consulting firm and PI Certified Partner. That partnership has been instrumental in promoting self-awareness at the individual, team, and organizational levels.
Odelle’s understanding of PI’s solutions helped Anna and Drew shed light on the behavioral tendencies of their teams and their partners’ teams. That has given them the confidence to extend PI solutions to their peers and fellow stakeholders at Watercare.
“With PI, you get a return on investment and a return on expectation.”
Managing expectations—and exceeding them
As Drew explained, there are a lot of tools that can help you identify candidates, or even see your team in a new light. For him, PI’s software sets itself apart because it’s both practical and tactical. It can help you attract the right talent and retain good people, but it also enables you to align that talent with your overall business strategy.
“It’s something you can use hands-on,” he explained. “It’s also cost-effective and can be implemented quickly, whereas other tools are very high-level, and you walk away saying ‘What can I do with this information?’”
For Drew, the differentiator is in achieving—or even surpassing—those expected outcomes. When business leaders expect to see a behavioral shift, that’s actually harder to achieve than most traditional ROI outcomes. But the payoff is that much greater when you can demonstrate said “ROE.”
Under Odelle’s guidance, PI helped Watercare recalibrate from the organizational level on down. That meant fostering the self-aware culture of learning Drew strove for.
“One of our key challenges was around square-peg-round-hole people,” Drew noted. “We recruited them, we upskilled them, we made sure we developed them, but the work environment didn’t meet their behavioral profiles and their direct needs. We had a high turnover rate in some areas of our business.” We lost people who could have stayed had we understood fully their behavioral profiles and needs.
Fast-forward to 2020, and not only is Watercare better retaining its people by understanding who they are and what role environment they need, but it has 14 accredited employees now coaching teams with behavioral data. It’s the manifestation of the sort of self-awareness Drew had hoped to achieve from the beginning of the relationship.
“We want to turn Watercare into a true learning culture led by its people.”
Anna’s challenges were more external. In evaluating Watercare’s procurement operations, she realized they weren’t sustainable. The relationships she’d established with her contractors were largely transactional, and lacked staying power. It was, as she described it, a “hand to mouth” situation.
“We’ve got a new way of working with our contractors,” Anna explained. “And it’s very partnership-based. We’re being more collaborative. We wanted to understand the behaviors of the people we’re working with. But that can be very subjective, so we wanted to bring in some experts.”
With Odelle’s guidance, Anna and her team began to leverage objective people data derived from PI tools, in conjunction with some of their more subjective behavioral analysis.
Predictive Insight helped Watercare understand teamwork styles, shedding light on the behavioral strengths and blind spots of larger groups. From there, leaders like Anna could go about plugging behavioral holes to form more cohesive teams.
“We created a new team called Program First,” Anna said. “It brought people who previously would have worked separately together. We noticed that people’s attributes filled gaps, covering each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
“We wanted to be able to assess those companies and the people who work in them.”
More than a partnership
Asked to point to the true needle movers since implementing PI, both Anna and Drew are adamant: It’s their PI Certified Partner.
What is it like to work with Predictive Insight? Hands-on from the start, yet collaborative throughout. Both Watercare reps noted that the partnership is continuous, extending well beyond implementation. Anna added that aside from being really personable and passionate, Odelle “knows PI like the back of her hand.”
“She’s got a story for every Reference Profile,” Anna said. “And that really brings it to life.”
“Odelle has been a massive strength for me,” Drew said. “We can have really good, challenging conversations, and I don’t think I would have been as successful introducing PI to Watercare had I not had Odelle by my side. I would have been quite lost without her.”
It’s a testament to what we at PI know, but can’t always show without the help of our clients: You can provide all these wonderful tools, but it’s talent optimization consultants like Odelle who help put them to action.
Thanks to Odelle and the team at Predictive Insight, Watercare is realizing its best self, and both the company and its partners are better for it.
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