Andy Parkins is the CEO of Six Factor, a North Vancouver-based business innovation company.
Six Factor is Western Canada’s leading provider of Google Cloud solutions. Through a mix of tech and talent insights, Six Factor consults clients on how to build efficiencies and drive productivity.
For Andy Parkins, that productivity starts with people. “Our mission is to inspire people to find their greatness,” he explained.
Finding greatness takes time and patience. People are complex, with unique behavioral drives and needs. But with the help of PI’s talent optimization platform, Six Factor has been able to embrace that complexity—and tackle it in earnest.
“We take very much a people-first perspective, and that’s why we use PI.”
PI helps Six Factor build teams where everyone thrives.
At Six Factor, growth is everything. A forward-looking mindset permeates all aspects of the company, from business strategy to client relationships and employee development.
To grow so quickly, sustainability is crucial. For Parkins and his employees, that means coming to work each day with a sense of energy and purpose. “Am I enjoying what I’m doing?” he posed. “Am I making a real contribution, which empowers and inspires me, or am I struggling to keep my head above the water?”
Without that sense of engagement in a job role, productivity can suffer. The same holds true for a team. Without the right balance of personalities and behaviors, that energy is tough to maintain. It doesn’t help that teams are constantly changing and evolving.
Parkins said it best: “A team is a collection of dynamic energy, there to achieve high performance. And every time you bring someone in or take someone out of a team, you change that energy.”
He used the example of a software engineer Six Factor previously hired. From a technical perspective, that hire was brilliant. But from a behavioral lens, he didn’t fit with what the team needed to succeed. It wasn’t until the team learned about PI that this realization truly clicked.
"A team is a collection of dynamic energy, there to achieve high performance."
Better teamwork starts with individual self-awareness.
By taking the six-minute PI Behavioral Assessment™, Six Factor employees uncovered their natural behavioral drives and needs. Not only has this improved their self-awareness in the workplace; it’s also encouraged employees to rethink how they work as a team. Parkins is no exception.
“I love being a Maverick,” he said of his PI Reference Profile. “Cheeky, mischievous, always looking for opportunity and fun. In typical fashion, [a Maverick] delegates freely, and likes to move fast and break things. Doesn’t always brilliantly follow through on things.”
For Parkins, the Maverick pattern brings him a great deal of pride. It also serves as an opportunity to learn about his own behavioral gaps as a leader. “Not everybody wants to run at 300 miles an hour on every topic, all the time,” he said. “As a CEO, you’ve got to be very respectful of people’s energy and what their needs are.”
By embracing his behavioral gaps, Parkins has adapted his leadership style to better accommodate his employees’ needs. “Even though my head’s going at 300 miles an hour, my communication is coming out in a more structured and absorbable fashion.”
“Get curious. Bring PI front and center into the organization.”
Six Factor discovered their team strengths with PI Design.
To better understand his team, Parkins leveraged the latest innovation in talent optimization: PI Design. The Design suite allows any team leader to visualize themself, their team, and their strategy—all at once. That way, they can ensure all three are aligned.
Parkins started by attending PI’s Discovering Your Team Type workshop. During this 90-minute session, Parkins and 17 of his employees uncovered their collective behavioral makeup, or “Team Type.” They also learned how to lean on their strengths—and address their weaknesses—to better execute the strategy they’re pursuing.
The Six Factor team learned they were a Producing Team. This Team Type is known for being competitive, task-oriented, and undaunted by failure. By seeing how these different personalities manifested at a team level, Parkins and his people left the session with a new level of trust. And they felt confident about their strategy—and delivering on the work to come.
“[You] actually come away with an actionable plan,” said Parkins. “It’s not, ‘Hey, that was a great discussion. Now, how do we adopt it into the workplace?’ [They’re] workable tools.”
“You actually come away with an actionable plan.”
After using PI Design, Six Factor restructured several teams.
Equipped with findings from the team workshop, Parkins got to work. Within PI Design, he mapped out tweaks to existing teams to improve team dynamics and strengthen cohesion.
“With PI, we can say, ‘OK, how do we set ourselves up for better success? How do we adjust things slightly to get clearer collaboration, stronger communication, and achieve a different result?’”
In the weeks since the session, Six Factor has restructured several of its teams, ensuring it’s more prepared than ever for the future.
When asked why he booked that initial workshop for his team, Parkins said it all comes back to value. “There’s two ways you can look at it: There’s exponential growth and there’s linear growth. If you invest in people, you get exponential growth.”
Another key reason? Parkins’ dedicated PI consultant, Doug McCann. “Doug was the person who originally introduced me to the wider scope of what PI can do. Having him there to be that critical friend, that trusted advisor, has really been helpful and insightful.”
“Here’s a powerful tool that’s giving you these little ‘nudges.’ Why not use it to empower people?”
For Six Factor, PI has provided an “exponential return.”
Asked what advice he’d share with other executives or team leaders when considering PI, Parkins said the value is there for the taking. All it takes is curiosity.
“You have to learn to understand the tool, and how to apply the tool. And that investment will give you an exponential return. If you’re in an executive or decision-making position, your decision at that level will have a profound, positive effect on the organization.”
The future of work poses unique challenges. Digital transformation is only accelerating, and companies are racing to fill the need. For many organizations, remote work is here to stay. Regardless of industry, the workplace has forever changed.
“Video calling is great, it’s operationally functional, but it really sucks out the energy of a face-to-face conversation,” said Parkins. “When you have PI there, you’ve got this emotional connection going on that you don’t normally get over a video call.”
In times of change, PI provides a common language to understand people and teams. And that can be a powerful asset to any organization’s culture.
“Use PI as the emotional video calling tool in today’s world, and blend that with your day-to-day performance practices around remote workers. In there, you’re going to create a great recipe for success in your organization.”
“PI’s not just an ‘HR tool.’ It’s part of the mindset, part of the culture.”