Business coach and trainer Luke Todd is CEO of MadeYou Ltd, which he co-founded in 2016, focusing on delivering leadership training and development, conducting impactful feedback programmes and guiding organisations on their journey to uncover and align with their culture and values.

As the CEO of MadeYou Ltd, Luke Todd delineates the distinct elements of his role. Given the nature of his small business, he is actively engaged in the ‘do’, conducting training and leadership coaching alongside his team, while also leading the organisation.

“I keep everything moving operationally – ensuring that the staff are engaged, motivated and growing. Additionally, I focus on the business’ direction: its purpose and how we can add more value as a service provider,” he smiles.

Having moved to Malta in 2014, Luke’s career prior to setting up his company included a C-level-equivalent role at one of the eBay companies, where he was responsible for customer experience.

Similar to MadeYou Co-Founder Kelly McSherry, Luke had commissioned management and leadership training in the UK throughout his career, and both had faced the same struggle: dealing with providers who approached training with a technique he amusingly refers to as ‘death by PowerPoint’. “Despite coming from different backgrounds, we never really found, in any of the businesses we were in, anyone who delivered training that was effective and meaningful, and actually kept people engaged while they were learning,” he explains, outlining the mission at MadeYou.

“When we arrived in Malta, we were doing some consultancy work and observed a similar need for effective training in the local landscape. Recognising an opportunity to add value, we leveraged our expertise in creating engaging and impactful training programmes. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, we were confident in our ability to deliver effective material,” Luke continues, describing how Tipico, their first client in Malta, approached them.

From this point, their training proposition gained momentum rapidly, going from zero to being quickly booked up. Subsequently, they expanded their services to include business coaching, achieving further success. Today, the team of four delivers extensive business coaching and executive coaching, leveraging their individual operational experience, all stemming from diverse business backgrounds.

Throughout their journey, a notable milestone is their longstanding partnership with GO, spanning six years. For Luke, maintaining such a contract is a significant testament to the value MadeYou can, and continues to, provide.

He also considers successfully navigating through the challenges posed by COVID-19 as another significant milestone – not merely surviving but fostering business growth as a result. “While our business was already on a growth trajectory year on year, the years impacted by the pandemic significantly accelerated that growth. While other companies faced slowdowns or complete stops, we experienced a dramatic increase,” Luke reveals, sharing how the shift to an online offering opened up a world of possibilities for MadeYou’s future.

“Previously, we were sent to European destinations for face-to-face training by clients with offices in Malta. However, clients further afield were not benefitting from this training. When we transitioned to remote training, we began including these clients, resulting in accelerated growth and conversations across continents – an opportunity we hadn’t explored before,” he maintains. This trend has persisted postCOVID-19, leading the team to engage with numerous international clients and deliver training through a combination of face-to-face and remote sessions.

Reflecting on the evolution of his leadership style throughout his career, Luke emphasises the importance of empowering the team, particularly when establishing a business. He describes this as a ‘coaching’ leadership style. Today, he says, “our ethos revolves around hiring great people with vast potential and who find fulfilment in their roles, investing in their growth and development, and serving as a support function. Essentially, they are self-empowered and autonomous.”

This ethos will prove beneficial as MadeYou embarks on its plans for 2024, launching three high-end services that aim to continue delivering value to their clients.

“As business coaches, all of us at MadeYou are Gallup accredited. One aspect we appreciate about Gallup is its focus on individualisation. Through our collaboration with Gallup, we offer a service that allows us to enter a company and realign the culture towards a strengthsfocused approach,” Luke says, introducing the first of the new service offerings.

Breaking this down, he elaborates on this aspect of Positive Psychology, noting that “while traditional businesses often focus on improving weaknesses, the strength finder methodology suggests a different approach: if you spend 10 years investing in somebody’s weaknesses, at the end of it, their weaknesses will persist – they’ll just be less weak at them. On the other hand, if you identify someone’s strengths and use those 10 years to invest in their strengths, you are growing them exponentially. This approach taps into their motivations, drivers and skills.”

In addition, MadeYou will launch an employer branding consultancy, building on their current offering where they assist businesses in defining their culture and values. Luke explains, “for businesses that can’t afford an in-house expert for employer branding, we step in to guide the relevant teams on maximising efforts to attract and retain talent. This includes shaping the offering, proper branding, defining the employer value proposition, and tailoring it effectively.”

In outlining the vision for 2024, the CEO also reveals plans to expand MadeYou’s training offerings to include lower-level training for first-line staff members and an increase in courses tailored for senior leaders.

By the end of the year, Luke’s goal is to cultivate stronger relationships with local companies and witness continued business growth. However, he is quick to clarify that the pursuit of growth is not an end in itself. “As a business leader, I don’t particularly like big teams, because the smaller a team is, the more control you have over its culture and unique selling propositions, and the more engaged people tend to feel,” he smiles.

Above all, he shares, by this time next year, “I would like to see that the propositions we’ve launched have landed in a way that adds tangible value to our clients. The enduring loyalty of clients who have been with us since the beginning is crucial. We see this loyalty not just as a measure of client loyalty but as a tangible form of positive feedback.”

This article is part of the serialisation of 50 interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2024 – the sister brand to MaltaCEOs.mt and an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders

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