The more we lived in an understanding space, the more productive and successful we were.


We recently launched a Community platform for our LLR Fund’s portfolio company leaders to share resources and tap into their peer networks for guidance. To close out 2021, we asked them to share one change they’ve made – large or small – in the last two tough years that made them better leaders today.

(We also continued our tradition of asking for their top book, podcast, video and article recommendations. Check out that list here.)

Hopefully some of these new habits and meaningful changes spark ideas for how you can lead an even stronger team and organization in the new year. Cheers!

Gratitude & Understanding

Gift-Giving: Spontaneous gift-giving of any scale can brighten someone’s day and serve as a token of gratitude when it’s done in a thoughtful way. Sometimes it’s a brief hand-written note, other times it’s a package that shows up randomly at their door. It’s been a great way to say, ‘I see you and I’m grateful for who you are.’

Trust & Flexibility: We used to say ‘leave your problems at the door’ but now, there is no door. The more we lived in an understanding space, were flexible with where and how work gets done, and stepped up to help each other, the more productive and successful we were.

Openness to Other Roles: Crisis presents opportunity for everyone to work together, if they are open to “taking their titles off” and doing anything needed to support the organization. Working cross-functionally and being open to understanding different perspectives and angles created a better space for collaboration.

Practicing Empathy: People suffered during the pandemic in different ways. It was very important to be empathetic and supportive to employees and their families. The closer, personal relationships that develop as a result will also help you navigate challenging business times in the future.


Meditation: Meditating every day with Ten Percent Happier was a game-changer. I’m more mindful and thoughtful with my team, and it has helped me to listen better and more thoughtfully consider what’s happening or being said. It helps me respond vs. react to issues and opportunities.

Meeting Objectives: I used to jump right into meetings with full agendas. Now I incorporate time to accomplish two additional goals: 1) “what’s top of mind” for each individual team member and 2) a fun fact topic to get to know everyone better.

Use of Time: I’ve been much more cognizant of time and following the main points of an agenda. The Zoom environment forced a helpful level of organization. I’ve also designed into meetings some time to get to know new people.

Meeting with long-term, high-performing employees helped uncover the parts of their role and the company that keep them coming back every day.

Retention & Onboarding

Stay Interviews: Meeting with long-term, high-performing employees helped uncover the parts of their role and the company that keep them coming back every day. It also helped uncover what might make a great employee leave and established greater trust between managers and their reports.

Onboarding Guide: Creating a reference guide helped new hires get up to speed on important and helpful things to know about the company, our products, sales and marketing.

Source “A” Players: We used this time to assertively find A-players from impacted industries (events, automotive, travel) who are open to listening to your vision and joining your team.


Coffee with the CEO: We started a 20-minute full-staff Zoom call twice monthly. It gave me an opportunity to connect with them every other week and different departments a forum to share items, too. We’re still doing them, and I don’t want to ever stop. Pre-pandemic 15 percent of our workforce was remote. Now, it’s about 40 percent, yet I feel we are all now closer than ever.

Open Team Slack Channel: I kept everyone on my team informed of the “little things” going on during the day through Slack, which we lost out on as we were all working from home. We learn from each other by asking and answering unfiltered questions.

Employee Spotlights: We stepped up our focus on highlighting individual employees in our Friday all-company video conferences. This helped us understand our team members on a deeper level and stay inter-personally connected.

We used to say ‘leave your problems at the door’ but now, there is no door.


Words Matter: With less travel I was able to become more thoughtful with my messaging to the company. It allowed me to be more present in my team meetings.

Schedule Visibility: Providing calendar access (either full detail or “busy/not busy” access) allowed all of our locations the ability to meet more efficiently without the back and forth of scheduling bingo. Limit meetings to 30 minutes, require an agenda and schedule time for yourself for anything from eating lunch to focusing on follow up work.

Collaboration Tools: I’ve embraced collaboration tools like Mural for ideation, sprint planning and other product strategy related activities.

Goal Setting

Reframe Challenges: Dealing with challenges of the pandemic caused me to double down on the importance of having a growth mindset and remind myself and others to treat it like any other big challenge. It helped channel focus on what was within our control and even to celebrate some unexpected positives that came out of the crisis.

This GrowthBit is featured in LLR’s 2022 Growth Guide, along with other exclusive insights from our portfolio company leaders and Value Creation Team. Download the eBook here.