Episode 2

Mathilde Collin

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Season 1

Building A Resilient Company With Mathilde Collin

Welcome to All Hands, a podcast where C-suite leaders talk about how smart HR and people strategy is good business strategy. In this episode, our host, Katelin Holloway talks with Mathilde Collin, co-founder & CEO of Front. Mathilde explains how she cultivates resilience in herself and her business, how transparency works in her favor, and the importance of stacking your values. This podcast is brought to you by Lattice.

[Music up]

“If people are trying to make the most out of this time period that is truly difficult for everyone, like they should understand that resilience is, is a muscle that you can train and you can train it on yourself. You can train it on your company. And once you learn how to be resilient, you're strictly stronger after that because more of these things will happen. Whatever they mean for your company, and then you will be way better equipped”

Welcome to ALL HANDS by Lattice, where we believe that People Strategy IS Business Strategy. I’m your host -- Katelin Holloway. For the last decade, I’ve been a People & Culture executive at some of the internet’s most beloved startups, but my fascination with building true people-first cultures started many, many years ago. From film to tech (and a few interesting layovers in between), the one common denominator remains: I am most passionate about enabling people through belonging to create beautiful, innovative products.”

On All Hands, I talk with CEOs and other c-level leaders about how being a "people first" company is a strategic advantage. Join us while we chat with these top leaders about how a “people first” approach isn’t just good for people -- it’s good for business too.

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In this episode, we’ll be exploring the people philosophies of Mathilde Collin, Co-founder & CEO of Front.
Dubbed “the future of email,” Front tackles one of the most outdated tools in our corporate toolkits: email inboxes. By streamlining workflows, teams can communicate, coordinate, and produce at much higher levels of organization, enabling them to focus on the work they’re most passionate about.

Mathilde and her cofounder Laurent Perrin launched Front in Paris in 2013. Seven years later and a move to Silicon Valley, the duo have built an impressive people-first company backed by both notable VC firms including Initialized Capital, as well as independent seasoned tech executives focused on the future of work. Mathilde is committed to improving the quality of life for everyone around her, starting with her employees.

Mathilde, welcome to the show.

Mathilde Collin: Thank you so much for having me.

Katelin Holloway:  Thank you so much for being here today. I'm so excited to finally chat with you. But before we jump into all of the juicy culture topics that I want to explore with you, can you please share a little bit about your background and where you are today, please?

Mathilde Collin:  Of course. So my background is -- I was raised in France. Um, I quickly knew that I wanted to start a company. So, I went to business school. I studied entrepreneurship, which is a thing in France. And after I graduated, I took a job because I had to refund the money I had blurred to go to school. And a year after I joined a startup, um, [00:02:30] I quit to start Front.
So my, my experience prior to Front is very limited. and I started Front for a few reasons. Um, first one was I really cared about creating an environment where people would be happy to come to work every day, starting with myself and hopefully many others. And then I really wanted to work on a product that would change how people work. So we started in France. A few months after we started we moved to San Francisco.
We were accepted to YCombinator. We really loved our time there. And so we decided that, probably the company would go faster if we were here. Um, and so we moved here. Uh, that was, you know, six years ago, since then, we've been growing pretty consistently.
I've published all our metrics if you want to know anything about Front, you can just read it online and today we have, um, about 6,000 customers  a little bit. [00:03:30] I think under 200 employees, and we are in three offices now, Paris, Phoenix, and San Francisco.

Katelin Holloway:  Do employees of Front call themselves anything special? Do you have a moniker? Are you The Fronters?

Mathilde Collin:  Frontiers.

Katelin Holloway:  Frontiers. Oh, I love that. That's brilliant. And how early did you adopt that moniker?

Mathilde Collin:  Well, actually, I don't know, but pretty late. I would say maybe two years ago, but not before then.

Katelin Holloway:  Interesting. Now here's, here's another stat that I would love to know. Uh, do you have a head of people or anybody managing your people functions internally?

Mathilde Collin: Yes, we do.

Katelin Holloway:  At what stage did you decide to bring that person on?

Mathilde Collin:  We had our first people person, uh, be one of our first employees, it was four and a half years ago. Um, and she, she's still at Front. She was, at the time she was in charge of making sure that every person was well onboarded, organizing offsites, like everything. And a year and a half ago we hired someone to lead the function.

Katelin Holloway:  Wonderful. And now talk to me about that, that interview process. What were you looking for in, or what qualities were you looking for that role?

Mathilde Collin: Culture is to be part of what I care about and what everyone at Front cares about. And so for me, it was a very important hirer, obviously. Because I wanted to make sure that, you know, I could delegate one of the most important things, um, that I could think of and I had met a lot of people, and the thing that stood out with this person was you can always think about people in specifically HR as like, um, like a multiplier of something, an enabler of something versus like, something that will, like a function that will help you stay in the boundaries of what's acceptable.

Katelin Holloway:  Yeah.

Mathilde Collin: And the, the way I felt when talking to her was I felt like she was very creative and I thought like people and any policies that we would implement and any training could be used in a way that's unconventional, that has not been thought of before.
And that would really be one of the strengths of Fronts. And I found it pretty rare to find that creativity. Um, and so, you know, what an entry process looks like is making sure that we obviously agree on the values of, you know, this person, they match with Front's values, that she has the experience required, but I think the third aspect is really how creative do you want to be and can you be, and what are examples of things that either you've seen being implemented or you've implemented in the past that has allowed you to build a company that was better.
I remember that at the time I had just learned that Dropbox had implemented the thing where if an employee leaves and, um, it's regretted attrition.So they were high performers. They wish the person was back. Um, they would, they wouldn't stop their vesting, so that if they come back, they, you know, they just resumed this thing. And I just and it apparently led to a lot of people coming back, which was such a strong signal for other people in the company.
And I just felt that it was one example of how you can use like a policy and some creativity to make your company better.

Katelin Holloway:  Absolutely. And I think that's something that's really interesting about your path and your journey. Uh, you know, you downplayed it at the start of the conversation around you really haven't had much work experience outside of your own organization. I think that there's great value in that. Because you can't, you know, you don't have a set idea of like, "Oh, well, we did it this way at X, and therefore this is the best way to do it."

Mathilde Collin: I also think that I first experience, my first work experience was good in some ways I learned a ton and, um, I would never be here without having gone through it. But also bad in other ways where, you know, the culture was really, uh, terrible, which then led to me learning what I think we should not do.

And so I don't think I invented anything at Front. I think it's coming from either things I've seen not work or things that I've heard from other leaders that really inspired me and led me to try these things.

Katelin Holloway:  I think that's a brilliant place to start from. Um, especially if you seem to have an appetite for learning like you do, where if you aren't convinced that you already have the right answer, I'm in your back pocket. And that's actually where I first learned about you, I was actually in a situation myself where I was dealing with a CEO that I didn't have a value set alignment with and one of our points of contention was around, um, transparency. 

Whereas I was sitting on the side of the fence where I was like, you have to trust the team that we've built. We selected these people out of a very frothy, rich talent pool. We've made this investment and we aren't giving them the autonomy to make good decisions or, or giving them the context to make the best decisions for the business. And so I was searching the internet, uh, deep one night, and I was looking for like, what, what are some things I can put in front of this, this human to help convince him.

Uh, that, you know, to bring the pendulum a little bit closer towards center, around transparency. And I found  one of your Medium posts, and at this point, it was ages ago. Uh, but I know that you have a very strong commitment to transparency within your organization. And I believe that, that goes from everything from your outward communication with investors, with your internal teams, and beyond, including, you know, All Hands and your company meetings and the way you cascade information.

Mathilde Collin: Yeah.

Katelin Holloway:  Do you want to share a little bit about that?

Mathilde Collin: Yeah. Well, it also, I think it applies to more than our investors and our employees. I think I’m severely transparent with just the world in general where, you know? I publish a lot, because I think other people can learn from it in the same way I've learned from others.
It's true with our customers where, for example, we're very transparent about both the limitations of the product, but also our product roadmap and what's coming or like if there is an outage, just making sure that we're very proactive in telling them. I think bad news are always, people like, human beings, they try to protect themselves to be happy, which is normal and, and try to hide bad news. That's natural. But I think if you have the discipline to not do it because you understand the positive impact of being transparent, I think they will help you. There, there are a few things I can, I can share on transparency that, the first one is sometimes people think that transparency is good in itself.
Like you should be transparent cause it's great to be transparent. And one thing that I would say is, there are many reasons why we're transferring to organization. I think one reason is because I do believe it makes people happier. Like I do believe that people feeling part of the journey, feeling the trust is something that contrib-- like understanding the why of what they're working on contributes to their engagements. Um, and contributes to their impact.
There is part of me that is transparent cause I care about them. But there is part of me that’s transparent because I'm competitive. And I also believe that transparency is a great tool that companies can use in order to be more efficient. And same thing, to have more impact.
And then the second thing I would share on transparency is transparency is not about sharing everything. Like the moment you decide to be a transparent company and have it as one of your core values, doesn't mean this instantly you're going to share the salaries of everyone in, um, in the company. And, any time someone joins the company, they go through an onboarding session. One of the sessions is called All About Front, where, you know, I have an hour and I go through; who I am, what is Front, and part of 'what is Front' is what our values are and I explain to them what they mean because the words are pretty common words. So if you don't explain what they mean, I don't think it's as impactful.
Transparency, one of the things that I tell them is there is good transparency and bad transparency. The way I would define it is: good transparency helps answer questions when bad transparency just raises more questions, and I also tell them that there are values that we put above transparency. So, for example, privacy is more important. So, you know, I'm not going to share everything in anything ifit's against the privacy of someone in the company.
I have obviously many, many thoughts on transparency, but these two ones are the ones that I feel like lead to people, uh, making the leap -- it's not about sharing everything and it is actually ROI positive.

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Katelin: I love the idea of ranking your values -- when used correctly, it can be the most powerful tool in your toolkit. Values enable your employees to make decisions in the absence of other context. And so understanding what is most important, allows your team to make the correct tradeoffs.  When they know what sacrifices they can and should be making, based on the company’s prioritization - you are enabling efficiency and autonomy.

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Katelin Holloway:  Do you remember when you first started to articulate your own perspective on people and culture? Like when did you start to notice yourself thinking about patterns or wanting to better understand leadership dynamics?

Mathilde Collin:  It's a good question. I, I do believe that super early on, it was something that I was really passionate about. Because I was coming from a family where not a lot of people enjoy their work in and enjoyed going to work every day.
And I think it was really curious to understand what it took to create the level of engagement that I wish every, you know, every human being had when going to work every day.
And so I do think this, I've been thinking about it even prior to joining Front. And then the other thing I can remember is one of the first person I met when I came here in San Francisco was Patrick Collison, who is the CEO of Stripe.
And I remember that Stripe was a company that I hugely admired and I still admire today for many reason. Including the fact that I felt like they had an amazing culture. And every time I was meeting with a Stripe employee, they were telling me how amazing this company was, and I was like, "wow, this person needs to do something right." And I remember spending a lot of time with Patrick so that he could explain to me what contributed to this engagement, happiness, with their employees. 

Then there's also customer success, which is really tending to those employees and caring for them while they're within the company, so that the ones that are truly exceptional, you can get to stay with your company longer and longer. It's just exactly like a recurring revenue business where, you know, you need to build the product, you need to. Market it, you need to sell it, you need to retain those customers. It's completely analogous. Those are really the four hats that I'd like to talk about. When I'm out looking and talking to People people about, joining different organizations, or joining our team and things like that. I like to talk about those and I'd like to evaluate them that way too. I think each of them come from kind of a different standpoint. I think classically the person running the people function was more of sort of like an, like an HR business partner that had some expertise within certain aspects of that. I think there's a new sort of crop of like chief people officers that are much more on the culture building and employment branding side. I would put Katie Burke into that. Not that she cannot do all of it really well. I hired her at HubSpot initially in marketing and she sort of grew up as a part of the organization. And I think that her superpower really, what sets her apart from almost all other chief people officers is she's so strong on the culture and the employment branding, and she's really built that throughout our team. The other areas are certainly very strong as well, but I think that every, like chief people officer, has like a different area of strength, just like every head of sales or every head marketing has a different area of strength. If you think about those four different hats or four different functions within people operations, I think you can get a sense of like what the head of people that you need for your company right now, where would they be the strongest? Are they kind of a recruiter or are they kind of an employee experience person? Are they kind of a culture and employment branding person? I think they're all sort of slightly different in terms of what their best skills are.

Katelin Holloway: When you were hiring for your team, uh, do you have a way of measuring the self-awareness factor?

Mathilde Collin:  Yes, we do. I think there are many, many things that we do there. But one of the questions that I always ask in every interview is I'm asking you, "well, take a scale from zero to ten and zero is you don't know anything about data analysis. And then 10 is the best data analyst you could ever be based on your capacities. Based on, you know, surrounded by the best people in the best environment. Um, where do you send today?
And I think it's super interesting because the reality is obviously all depends on how junior or the person is, but most likely the person is self-aware.
And if you ask me this question about, you know, zero to 10 and 10 being the best CEO, I can be I don't think that I will give myself more than 2 because like, because the way you think about it is, can I be five times better than where I am today? Well, I hope I can be five times better. And it's not about, and if you see nine, well, it's like, can you be 10% better than it.
Yeah, obviously I think it can be 10% better, nobody’s perfect. And so, I think this question has been good to test for two things at the same time.
One is, which are obviously related, but one is self-awareness and two is self-confidence because like your ability to go in an interview and be able to say, well, I'm a two out of 10 I think is  pretty hard.

Katelin Holloway:  It's a, it's a hard thing and you know, just to say, just instinctually, you know it when you see it, it's just, it's lovely to have different ways to point to that we can quantify, um, or, or techniques or tactics that others are using that are helpful to tease it out. And I think that's a pretty, that's a pretty good way.
Something else that I know that you have talked a lot about and something else that you value very much within your organization and within yourself is resilience. I watched an interview with you and my boss, Alexis Ohanian, uh, from a little a ways back now. But you ended up connecting over moments in your lives where you both realized that you needed to prioritize your own health and I think that that has shaped who both of you are as leaders and the way you choose to lead your organizations. Can you tell me a little bit more about the resilience factor?

Mathilde Collin:  I don't think you could ask this question in a more compelling moment of time. Because I think that, you know, what's companies are going through with COVID, it requires so much resilience from organizations and from every individual. So I can tell you a few things. One is I'm a very pure like, perfectionist person.
I want everything to always go well. And one of think, downside of it is that I believe that at a point in Fronts history, all those things had been hard.
They had not been. Very, very hard. And I think Michael Fenner and I had protected our team a lot and we had some good results, and I do believe that, you know, if people are trying to make the most out of this time period that is truly difficult for everyone, like they should understand that resilience is, um, is a muscle that you can train and you can train it on yourself.
You can train it on your company. And once you learn how to be resilient, you're strictly stronger after that because more of these things will happen. Whatever they mean for your company, and then you will be way better equipped. So that's -- like, I'll start with a message of hope because I think that's a good thing about what's happening in the world today.
But what happened to, to me and my cofounder specifically, is at the end of 2016 -- so the company was, you know, three and a half years old. And one day my cofounder says, "do you have a few minutes to chat?" And we go outside and he tells me he's, um, he's been diagnosed with cancer and that doesn't look good.
And what followed was like a nightmare because every week we learned that the cancer had spread more and more and that it was spreading super fast.
And then after that led  to months of, you know, him doing chemo, which was horrible. And me trying to help him and help the company and deal with everything and just try to pretend that everything would be fine on every side. My family, my company, my cofounder. And I think two things happened at the same time. Like, just for what it's worth now, he's doing great. So it's a story that ends well.

Katelin: Excellent.

Mathilde Collin: Um, but two things happened. One is the company learned to be resilient because it was hard for them. Some people had to step up. Like, I don't think I was necessarily the best leader I could be and listener.
And two is, I learned personally to be resilient. I, I was honestly, like, you know, I often talk about the story of Front and I say, well, I was a happy kid and I was raised in a city where people don't even like their job as much. This is, the reason is, I had always been a very happy person and I think a pretty balanced person.
So when that hit me, I was also super weak. Like I,

Katelin Holloway:  Yeah.

Mathilde Collin:  Honestly, like, I didn't know how to react. I panicked. And that led to insane anxiety, which then paralyzed me, and like, I couldn't do anything. And I had to stop working.

And like, to me it was like, "this is literally the end of my life. Because it's, everything that's happening is horrible. And now the lenses I used to perceive the world is like full of anxiety." And you know, it takes a ton of patience to go through it.

And because if people have gone through it, and I think actually, um, there's not been a moment in time in history, where people have suffered from as much anxiety as they are today. And, and the thing to know is there is no single thing that will fix it. And so, and one thing that has worked in someone else might not work for you. And one thing that worked for you may not be enough to, for you to be fully better. The good news is you can get better,  Like it is like, there are many, many ways you can be better and what you need is patience.

Accepting that you're not in control of everything and making sure that you're disciplined enough that you will try a lot of different things. And I learned that in, for a year and a half after this all started, if I could choose, I would never go through this again. It was horrible. Like,and a year and a half after, which was for me, I don't know, a year ago. Um, I started deeply thinking well I'm grateful for what happened.

The fact that I learned how to deal with it, which you never really learned how to deal with it, but you learned how to deal better with it, led me to then, you know, recover pretty fast and I think it's, it's true at an individual level. It's true a company level. It's true in, you know, in a family. And so this is why resilience is something that I care a lot about.

[Music up]

Katelin: What Mathilde is talking about takes A LOT of time, hard work, and self reflection -- but remember, when we’re talking about a people first approach, YOU are a person too! Just like you’re telling people to put on their oxygen mask first before helping others--- as a leader you need to make sure your emotional health and well being is being taken care of, before you can fully show up for your employees.

[Music fades out]

Katelin Holloway: How has this impacted the way you lead, the way you build your policies and your benefits programs to how you ultimately build your product?

Mathilde Collin:  Well, I think at the end of the day, like everything is intertwined. Like meaning, you know, even when you say something like. We have these set of values, like these values are things that will live internally, but like transparency and collaboration and like here, like all things that we, uh, that we're implementing the product. And I think it's true for everything we believe in. And I think like, specifically for us, I think it will go from benefits that we have, initiative that we launched, so, for example, you know, we launched this initiative where if you spend less than two hours a day on your phone, then you get extra benefits to internal processes we have. So, you know, for example, uh, every, All Hands we, um, we have this thing called Stumble Of The Week and Frontier Of The Week. And Frontier of the week, it's very simple to understand it.
It's just like, who demonstrated our values the best, and this person gets an award. But Stumble Of The Week is you can submit, uh yourself for something that's a stumble you've, you've done. And you want to share in what learning you had from it. And, and by doing this, then you just show your company that it's totally fine to do mistakes, and we should celebrate them. And you know, we'll come stronger out of, you know, weaknesses and challenges that we’ve experienced. The reality is, you know, sometimes people ask me, well, how do you do this? Like, how do I, like how are you transparent? How you, how do you build resilience in your company? And, and the answer is never, "well just do this thing and it's going to be great."
Like, the reality is it's going to be a mix of, you know, how you build your product, the processes you have internally, the content you produced externally, you know, the benefits you decide to uh to do it, and that is going to evolve over time.
What works, uh, when we're a company with 10 people is not just to do what works when we're 50, when we're 200 and so we need to make that evolve.

Katelin Holloway:  I could not agree more. Um, I think it's really important and healthy for organizations and leadership teams to reassess these things on a fairly regular cadence to ensure that they are being used as the tools of efficiency that they are designed to be, uh, not posters on a wall or not just, you know, things that we say to attract the right candidates.

Okay. Now let's go back to COVID because I think that we are smack in the middle of this pandemic, and it is actively changing every single day. uh, the way we operate personally, um, the impact to our ourselves, our own mental health, our families and the future of work, the future of, the future of work. I have questions about how this has impacted Front, uh, very specifically. So outside of working remotely, has it had any meaningful impacts on the way you operate?

Mathilde Collin:  So I think in so many ways, yes, there is the remote situation. But then there is, you know, how do you help individuals deal with it because it's really hard for every human being for very different reasons. To how do you adapt your communication, not because it's we're all remote.
I think that's fine, but also because there is a ton of uncertainty and I think you need to just change how you communicate. If you want to make sure that your team is doing great during that time and just to make sure that your customers are doing great. To, what's the business impact? And you know, in the same way, like I think Front is fortunate to be in a situation where we can emerge stronger out of this situation. But the reality is like there are really bad things happening and they're really good things happening. And, yes, there is a need for Front that's probably more acute today than it was prior to COVID.
Because the need for alignment within your company and collaboration like is increased. But it's also, we have a very diverse customer base with different industries, different size of companies, which means that we are a tool that  is being used on a daily basis, multiple hourday. So it means that we immediately see the impact of the recession that's happening. And this is really tough for the business.

Katelin Holloway:  Absolutely. You have spent a significant amount of time in your career and, and leading front, uh, putting forth your, your philosophies and best practices around people and culture, and I, from having read a lot of your work, you and I both know that. During times of crisis, whether you know, you, it's your co-founder getting ill or a global pandemic, this is really when your culture is being put to the test.
Um, and it's the, the, it's true colors are being revealed. Has anything surprised you better or worse with your own culture and your own organization?

Mathilde Collin: Well, I would say the one thing that I was surprised by, but is a good thing, and then they can think about, uh, less good things. But the good thing is a few weeks after this all started, we sent a survey to our company just to know how happy they were and how engaged they were, which we do every six months. Usually. And  in our internal NPS was 94, which was the same as, um, when that this had not happened. And I think I was surprised to see that people were still as engaged. So, you know, I think the thing that I learned is all the foundations that we had built became very, very useful in a context like this.
Think I was surprised to see one thing that I was surprised to see is, I think there is a real difference in the team between the people that have gone through 2000 and or 2008 and the rest.

Katelin Holloway:  Yeah.

Mathilde Collin:  I think, you know, startups have a bias, which is you tend to hire optimistic people because they join your startup.

Katelin Holloway:  Yes.

Mathilde Collin: And the truth is, I don't think it's the best moment to be optimistic right now when as a leader. Like, I, I think he's, you know, you need to be a little bit more pessimistic and then be flexible and agile as you learn more. So, like, I've noticed this huge difference between, people that have the experience versus not having gone through, um, through a crisis.

Katelin Holloway:  I am with you on the, the optimism, um, and, and, you know, being really sober about in the moment and taking it very, very seriously and, and constantly assessing and reassessing our own points of view and our own role, uh, that we can play in this.
Have there been any unique things that you have done or started doing with your team, either from a communication standpoint, a benefit standpoint to help support people or bring people together, give them that sense of connection in a time where we are kind of fractured?

Mathilde Collin: Yeah, I actually, I published a medium post I think that's called 20 things we implemented. So I'll give you a few examples. The first one is asking me anything. Like, I think this is a period of time where people want to ask questions so much. And so not only we have All Hands on Monday morning where people can ask questions, but on top of that, there is an extra ask me anything which usually he brings a closer group together because not everyone is attending. Um, and it's been really helpful.
That's one. Number two is we are also way more deliberate about, um, sharing best practices with our team. So we have, you know, every Monday morning we have executives that will share some learnings. Like close learning some, musing, aspirations, like whatever. And you know, just learning how, what the impact has been of taking a 30-minute walk every day where you don't have, you're not checking your phone and you're just taking some fresh air.

[Music up]

Katelin: OK -- let’s be clear, if you aren’t currently holding regular check-ins with your employees, now is the time to start. And during certain times you may need to increase the frequency. The intention here isn’t to be a micromanager -- it’s to check in with them and see how they’re doing. Are they worried about something they overheard from a coworker? Are they distracted by something going on at home? These check-ins are an opportunity for you to truly listen and understand how to best support your people.

[Music fades out]

Katelin Holloway:  So I'm going to move now into our rapid fire question section. This is where I ask you some random questions, answer them as quickly as possible. Don't overthink it.
Are you ready?

Mathilde Collin:  I'm ready.

Katelin Holloway:  Okay. First one: Is a hotdog a sandwich?

Mathilde Collin: Yes.

Katelin Holloway:  Zoom or phone call?

Mathilde Collin:  Zoom.

Katelin Holloway:  Best neighborhood in Paris?

Mathilde Collin: Uh, the second arrondissement.

Katelin Holloway:  I need to know why, but I will ask you later. Okay. That was the warm up. Uh, the last few won't be quite so easy but I know you can stick with me on this one.So, company culture. Family or sports team?

Mathilde Collin: Sports team.

Katelin Holloway: Now you mentioned then your All Hands about stumbles. What has been your most recent stumble and what did you learn?

Mathilde Collin: Uh, well, I actually did one yesterday, so that's the most recent. It's not the biggest, but just the most recent where, uh, one mistake that I've done was, pushing too hard on a deal to close. And then the customer not being like a good customer or a good fit. And then that leads to actually losing money because yes, they pay a lot of money, but then internally you spend so much resources.  I think it's just a mistake that we keep doing and, um, that we need to do less off. So that's one stumble.

Katelin Holloway:  Thank you for sharing. Okay, we're going to wrap it up. We have one last question and hopefully we'll, we'll end on a little bit of a happy note or a positive outlook here?

So, this is again, in the context of, of COVID, but, um, what advice would you give to founders of people, leaders out there trying to make sense of this moment in history? How can they use this as an opportunity to build a better organization for the next chapter?

Mathilde Collin: I think that my answer would be, I think there is one thing that. People can do at a personal level and at the company level, uh, to make sense of that. So I think at a personal level, the thing that's really hurting individuals but is a good thing ultimately is because you have way less distractions and entertainment and like ways to escape you are facing your weaknesses way more. So, you know, the reason why there is more depression and anxiety today than any time in the history is because, well, sometimes you don't face the thing that you know, you're not at ease with and that leads to you feeling that maybe you're happy, but you're not as happy as you could be.

And so I think that the way individuals can be better out of it is making sure that they listen to what they feel and listen to who they are. And there is a lot of weaknesses that will be experienced and that's fine because there are lots of solutions. From, you know, seeing therapists to meditation to exercising, to like reading so many things. yeah, so I think this hardship just will help us through being resilient through learning our weaknesses better.

And I think it's exactly the same for companies. Like I can tell you that, you know, Front as a business, as I said, are things that are doing well and are things that are not doing well. And the thing that are not doing well, like, I'm a surprised by them. They've just been exacerbated by COVID.  And if you want, if you're very ambitious and you want to build a lasting company, and, uh, you know, the biggest company, the greatest team, like you'll have eventually to work on these problems.

And so the fact that they're highlighted to you. And you actually have, you know, a year where your results are not going to count any way, you know, because as much as you want to do well, the reality is people will look at results of companies and they will be like, "2020? Well skip." And, um, I think it's a good opportunity because that forces you to work on your hardest problems in a way that will prevent you from working on them when you're at a much larger scale and, when fixing problems is harder. So these are the two things.

Katelin Holloway:  Oh, I love that so much. I could not agree more, and I think that that is the sign of a fantastic leader when you can, like I said, be very sober about what's happening in the world around us in this moment, but have that optimism to zoom out and say, look, we can take this and we can continue to build our resilience muscle.
We can continue to build, you know, and do this deep work, um, during a time that maybe it doesn't seem obvious. Because I think at the end of the day, that is what will pay dividends. And this will allow us to build thriving organizations for years to come.

Mathilde Collin: Yes.

Katelin Holloway:  So I love that advice.  Well, Mathilde, this was so nice to get to know you and I am so excited to share your, your tips and your tricks and your stories and your philosophies with our listeners.
But I cannot thank you enough for joining us and I so look forward to watching front grow and thrive  and take a front row seat. So thank you.

Mathilde Collin: Thank you so much. It was great to be here.


Katelin Holloway VO:

And to you, the listener! Thanks so much for joining me on this week’s episode of All Hands, brought to you by Lattice. I’m your host, Katelin Holloway. 

This episode was produced by Pod People: Rachael King, Eliza Lambert [AH-liza], and Samantha Gattsek [GATT-sic]. Special thanks to Annette Cardwell. Learn more about how Lattice can help your business stay people focused at Lattice DOT com or find us on Twitter @LatticeHQ. Don’t forget to subscribe to All Hands, wherever you get your podcasts.

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About the Guest

podcast guest

Mathilde Collin

Uncover insights from the world’s people leaders