• Organisation: Vodafone New Zealand
  • Programme Participants:  240 Leaders
  • Location: Head Office, Auckland
  • Core Business: Telecommunications
  • Opportunity: To co-create and deliver a bespoke leadership development programme called Leading in the Vodafone Way

A bit of background

Vodafone acquired TelstraClear in 2012 to offer its customers a richer, broader range of services. Bringing the two businesses together brought with it a new operating model, a new organisational culture and a need for a new set of leadership behaviours to lead this new organisation. Vodafone recognised that leadership was going to be a critical driver in aligning the two cultures.

There was also expectation from Vodafone Group in the UK that Vodafone New Zealand would deliver a local version of its global leadership programme to embed The Vodafone Way.  This is a set of values that describes how Vodafone puts the customer at the heart of everything they do, through innovation, an obsession for its customers and being ambitious.

What did we do?

Blacksmith partnered with Vodafone and another third party provider to co-create the New Zealand version of Leading in the Vodafone Way. This exciting 3-5 month programme combines core Vodafone models, bespoke content, and Blacksmith tools and methodologies with leadership rituals to embed the learning outside the classroom.

Leading in the Vodafone Way will be a three ‘wave’ programme rolled out over a 3 year period to audiences from the Executive out to Front Line Leaders. As of January 2017, the top 180 leaders had completed Wave One, the top 60 leaders had also completed Wave Two, and a frontline leader version of Wave One had reached a further 143 leaders.

What were the results?

After the programme had been underway for 18 months, Vodafone New Zealand achieved outstanding results in their People Survey. Their results showed that their people are:


More engaged
  • Engagement Index up 21% to 82;
  • More confident in our leaders – Manager Index up 9% to 86; and
  • More likely to recommend Vodafone – Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS) up 88% to 75.


Vodafone New Zealand is now in the top quartile of companies in the global Vodafone Group, and in New Zealand, they are the best set of results their global survey partner has seen.

The Programme Team  has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants about Leading in the Vodafone Way, with the programme receiving a Net Promoter Score of 97.9%  (FYI this is RIDICULOUSLY high).

Vodafone is aiming to build a cohesive and collaborative leadership community. Feedback from participants is that they now feel part of unified whole and that cross-functional engagement has improved

What clients say

Our partnership with Blacksmith has been truly collaborative, challenging, provocative, and it has made us see things and evolve the programme as we go. It feels like we’ve worked together for a long time. It’s been a great success as a result

Antony Welton, HR Director - Vodafone New Zealand

Blacksmith provided a great combination of rigour and flexibility, thought leadership and fun, a supportive environment combined with a real sense of edge

Katie Williams, Head of Human Resources Centre of Expertise - Vodafone New Zealand

Blacksmith leads the session from among us, not above or beside us. You’re in the journey with us. You’re not telling, but showing. You don’t rely on authority, you rely on your own wisdom and trust from your audience. You manage the session in a way that builds energy rather than depletes it. You’re authentic, compassionate, empathetic and unguarded. People feel understood. They are not judged or made wrong

Abbie Reynolds, Head of Sustainability & Foundation - Vodafone New Zealand