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Company-X celebrates a decade in business

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Waikato software specialist Company-X is celebrating its first decade in business in 2023. Co-founded by Jeremy Hughes and David Hallett, Company-X Limited was incorporated on December 19, 2012, and began trading on April 1, 2013.

Company-X was founded in 2012 by software specialists David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes. Both directors ran their own IT businesses before founding Company-X. Hallett was consulting director of Pulsar Computer Solutions, founded in March 1998, while Hughes was managing director of Ignition Software, founded in March 2001. “I’d been ‘working in and working on’ my first software business, with a business mentor for some time and knew we had things to change,” Hughes said. “My business mentor said, ‘Jeremy, you need to get out there and network’ and he named several things that did not come naturally to me.” Hughes went to a presentation by Orcon Internet founder Seeby Woodhouse. “He was talking about this little internet business that he was running. He figured that there were very slim margins because Telecom had changed everything and he said, ‘I must change something for this to work.’”

Woodhouse soon founded Orcon. “That was the key for me, and that moment was the inspiration for the formation of Company-X. It was to take the business that I already had and recreate it in a new form. If you want something to change or grow, then you must change something.” Hughes had known Hallett through networking events for about four years when he approached him for a business partnership. “Jeremy suggested that we complete DISC profiles, focused on the personality traits of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness,” Hallett said. It turned out Hughes and Hallett were a perfect match. “David loves doing all the stuff I hate doing,” Hughes said. “David and I based our business on strengths-based serving leadership.” “Our profiles dovetailed,” Hallett said. “We were passionate to reinvent the way that specialist services were delivered. Our companies would cease trading and something new would arise from the ashes like a phoenix.” The Art of Life consultant Steve Murray proposed Company-X as a placeholder name. “We put all these names on the whiteboard, and then I went, it’s all just dumb,” Hughes said. “You know what? It’s already Company-X. Why do we need to call it something else?” Hallett added: “Steve looked at us and said what does it mean? We said that’s the point. From a sales perspective, it’s brilliant, because people say to me what is Company-X?

Well, let me tell you about Company-X. It’s a cool concept because you can play with it and do a lot of things with it. You can talk about the software company with the x-factor, x marks the spot for software savvy, the Company-X men and women, all sorts of stuff. It’s a fun kind of brand for us.” The company has grown to about 50, with leadership and team coach Tracey Olivier leading every member of the Company-X team through a Clifton Strengths assessment. “Company-X was founded on Jeremy and David understanding their strengths and the power of harnessing their differences,” said Olivier. “They understood the power of each individual understanding their own strengths.” “Clifton Strengths measures how people think, feel, and behave, on an individual bases it helps people understand how they are wired and what activities energise them and what they have a natural ‘bent’ for,” Olivier said. “When we understand how we and other team members are wired we can leverage our strengths and fill the gaps with other people’s strengths. It is also powerful in building trust between team members as they realised what makes people tick and why they behave the way they do. When we understand each other instead of judging and assuming that someone is purposely irritating us we can make allowances for each other and celebrate those traits.” The leadership team has also completed a Working Genius assessment. “Working Genius is also a powerful tool we have trailed with the leadership team which has had a huge impact as this is about people’s natural genius when it comes to productivity,” Olivier said.

“There are six working genius attributes, Wonder, Invention, Discernment, Galvanizing, Enablement, and Tenacity, and each used in any body of work. “Everyone has two genius attributes that they rock at, two that they are competent in and two that frustrates them. Knowing this is powerful as we can leverage each other’s genius and understand where the gaps are and make allowance for them.” The use of DISC profiling, Clifton Strengths and Working Genius say something about Company-X culture. “It’s become a pervasive philosophy in the company,” Hughes said. “We have this seats on the bus concept, and you use people in the areas of their strength and don’t abuse them for their weaknesses.

We started out with this raw concept that that’s how we want to work and build our team, and at the end of 10 years, hey ho, there’s this more structured tool which fully supports exactly what we’ve always done.” Of the profiling tools, Hallett said: “I find them interesting alternative ways of viewing self and others. Quite useful.”

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