Episode 8

Jack Altman & Dave Carhart

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Season 2

People Strategy is Business Strategy, with Jack Altman & Dave Carhart of Lattice

In this episode, Katelin sits down with Lattice’s CEO Jack Altman, and Dave Carhart, Lattice’s VP of People. They’ll talk about the importance of being intentional with People strategy and in building a team, how they scaled a People-first culture, and offer their unique perspective on the working relationship between CEOs and HR teams.


"People strategy is a craft and is something to dedicate your intention to, to bring your full bearing of your intellectual and emotional power to. And just like sales strategy or product strategy, people strategy is on the same tier of importance to a business."

Katelin: Welcome back to season two of All Hands, brought to you by Lattice. I'm your host, Katelin Holloway. If you were with us last season, you know we focused on sitting down with C-level execs to chat about how people strategy is good business strategy. But this season we're doubling down. We're not only talking to CEOs and founders, but a wide range of people leaders, from heads of people to chief diversity and inclusion officers to really get into some of their core practices, principles, and beliefs when it comes to putting your people first.

Today, I'm sitting down with Jack Altman and Dave Carhart of Lattice. Jack is the CEO and co-founder of Lattice, which just so happens to be the company that has given us the platform for this podcast. Jack and I go way back to the very beginning of Lattice, and when he asked if I wanted to host All Hands, it was a no brainer. Jack truly embodies the premise of this show. People strategy is business strategy. So, I thought it was about time. We got him behind the microphone.

Now prior to starting Lattice, Jack was the VP of business and corporate development at Teespring, an e-commerce platform. He's also an avid investor and most recently wrote his first book, a Wall Street Journal bestseller, People Strategy: How to Invest in People and Make Culture your Competitive Advantage. But as I mentioned, we're not just talking to Jack today. We also have Lattice's VP of People, Dave Carhart, joining in on the conversation to talk about their partnership in building a people strategy at Lattice. And so without further ado, Jack and Dave, welcome to All Hands.

Jack: Thank you so much, Katelin. We are thrilled to be doing this with you.

Dave: Thanks so much for having us, Katelin.

Katelin: This is going to be so much fun.

Jack: My goodness. I don't even know where to start.

Katelin: Jack, first of all, I want to start with a very heartfelt thank you. This show has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of. We started last year, essentially right at the beginning of the pandemic. And this really has become a personal point of light for me through everything. It's been a great place for me to connect with incredible leaders. It's even been a little cathartic going in and understanding other people's challenges, hearing how they're solving things. So it really has turned into something very, very dynamic and personally very fulfilling. So thank you.

Jack: Well, I'm thrilled to hear that, but I certainly feel like the direction of indebtedness is towards you. And for those listening, not just is Katelin hosting this podcast, but I will have everyone know, she was the first people leader to take a real interest in Lattice and to give me guidance and to show me a bunch of ropes. And this is going back, I guess five years or so ago now. So it's hard to name somebody who's been more impactful to our trajectory. So, thank you for everything and yeah, pumped to talk to you about all this stuff today.

Katelin: Before we jump into the good good, Jack, can you just really quick, I would love for you to tell us the story of why you started Lattice.

Jack: So we started it in 2015. So this is coming up on six years ago. And the world was a little bit different then. All the inklings of what we're seeing now had started. But the trend that I think was really beginning then was that the balance of power between employees and employers was shifting towards the employee. And so 2012, 13, 14, you were starting to see a lot of changes. This was things like companies getting rid of performance management in favor of continuous feedback. You saw the rise of employee engagement surveys. You saw the beginnings of what I think we can only now describe as sort of ruthless competition for talent. And there's a whole bunch of reasons why I think this trend has happened, but for all sorts of reasons that it happened.

And simultaneously with this background ether happening in the world, my co-founder of Lattice and I had worked together at this company called Teespring, and we had been there from the early days. We had joined Teespring when it was 10, 15 employees. And in the course of just a couple of years, that scaled to hundreds. And we noticed as it passed maybe a hundred, 150 employees, that all of the natural, easy goodness of the culture, all the specialness and the comradery of the team, and the alignment around goals, and the sense that people understood their purpose and how they fit into the broader company, all of those things that were naturally so powerful, they fell apart. And they didn't fall apart because anybody tried, they fell apart because it turns out that in order to coordinate big groups of people, you have to put in a whole lot of effort to make it happen. It's super unnatural for 300 people, or 500 people, or a thousand people to naturally get along easily.

This is why we have governments and bureaucracies and infrastructure. It's there for a reason. And we saw that change happen and it was painful because if you've ever been part of a company where everything is beautiful, and then all of a sudden it's not, it's bad. It hurts, because when you're at a company that you know is going well and where things feel good and you're happy, it's a magical thing and it's part of your identity. And so that was the founding reason was we wanted to help companies stay and become great places to work and happy places for their employees. And we didn't know exactly what that was going to mean from a product perspective on day one, and we've had all sorts of twists and turns, but we've always had that central mission that we wanted work to be meaningful for employees. And we wanted companies to be successful and we thought they would be able to do that by people first.

Katelin: I completely understand. And a lot of those reasons really resonate with me. Obviously I'm biased. I've had many of those conversations with you along the way, and I'm really, really glad that you have brought Lattice to life in the way that you have, you and the team. But before we get deeper into what it's like to work at Lattice instead of just use Lattice as a platform, as an HR technology. I want to share a little bit more with our guests about you. So a question that I've been asking in this new season, I really find that it adds a little bit more flavor and character to our conversation. So is there anything else you'd like our audience to know about your identity?

Jack: I was born and raised in the Midwest. I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, went to a public school. I had a very nice, quiet suburban childhood. And I think in many ways that shaped a big part of my identities, my values, the things I care about, the way I think about the world. I hope to have those roots with me forever. And then the other, I've got a one-year-old and becoming a father has really changed a bunch of things about my life and my world view. And it's one of those things where everyone tells you before you have kids that it's going to change everything. And you're like, "Oh, could it really be that much of a thing?" And then of course it's more than anybody told you.

But one of the sort of meta things I observed about it, now that I'm a parent, I look back at all of these different ways in which before I was a parent, I was not nearly empathetic enough to the plight of parenthood. And I now have these moments where I cringe or stop myself. I'm like, "Ugh, how did I think of things that way? Or how did I see it that way?" And I think the meta observation for me there is, I think it really highlights that there are so many other identities or life experiences that I similarly don't understand, and I'm probably not nearly as empathetic to or understanding of. And so how can I try to be open-minded and understanding and in a learner's mindset for so many other things, because now that I got to make this transition on a really important identity, I saw that change and it makes me want to be more thoughtful about all the others.

Katelin: I love that. And I feel that in my bones with my two kids. I think an extra added layer to that is the notion that you are also now responsible for building and teaching empathy and compassion in other humans. So, it was built into us by our environment and the people in our lives that were important to raising a nurturing us, and now to have to be so thoughtful and intentional about raising our children in a way that we think is going to be, hopefully, additive so they can be great citizens. It adds a new layer.

Jack: Yeah, big responsibility, and also what a great opportunity to influence people like that who are then going to live their own full lives and influence many others. So it's, as with so many other things, responsibility and opportunity come together.

Katelin: Oh, absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit more about yourself. I appreciate that. Something else that is new for you is your new book. So first of all, congrats on that launch and the release. It's really good. And I say that not in-

Jack: As a contributor.

Katelin: As someone who has nothing to do with this book at all, and doesn't know you, I think it's phenomenal.

Jack: Yeah, your name's not on the jacket cover. [inaudible 00:09:30].

Katelin: Five star review on Amazon. But really, genuinely it's very good. I think the thing that I like so much about the book is that it is much more tactical than it is just the fluff of this is why you should be a great leader. It does go into the whys. But what I really like about the frameworks that are in the book is that it really, it has some really incredible takeaways around building a resilient performance culture. And yes, I recognize and realize that Lattice is and rooted in performance from those very early days. But what is the most important thing for people to take away from your book? Who is this book really for?

Jack: I think it is for people leaders who are embracing their role as business leaders as well. And I think the big takeaway from the book, if there was only one theme, people strategy is a craft and is something to dedicate your intention to, to bring your full bearing of your intellectual and emotional power to, and just like sales strategy or product strategy, people strategy is on the same tier of importance to a business. And I think the best companies in the world are realizing that now.

And seeing it as a strategy means being really intentional and strategic with it so that we're not randomly being remote or an office, we're not randomly hiring in this city or that city, we're not randomly paying at this salary band or this one. With everything that we do, we have a reason behind it, we have a why, and it connects back to the business. And so adopting that mindset as a people leader, as somebody who understands the business and then aligns all of the talent in your company against that strategy, that's what the future of people is, in my mind. And that's what the book tries to talk about.

Katelin: We are so deeply aligned on our philosophies and our principles and our practices in this, because we do talk a lot about people strategy and how it needs to evolve and how it needs to shift. And I don't want to take for granted the fact that you and I both often talk about people first cultures, or people centric companies, as they relate to performing better. Several companies are now picking up on that and really starting to pave the way and make that a standard. I would love for our audience to learn a little bit more about what being people centric really, really looks and how that partnership between people teams, and executive teams, and leadership teams can really blossom.

Jack: To me, I think a people centric company is basically stemming from the acknowledgement of the fact that the way to have a great business is to have happy, engaged, high-performing employees. And it's like a version of the, I think it's Peter Drucker quote, that culture eats strategy for breakfast, which I think is very true. And the way I think about it is like, it's the difference between what direction your ship is pointing and how good your motor is and how aligned your crew is in getting there. And if you're slightly off course, but you've got unbelievable people, you're going to get back on course very quickly. But if you're pointing in the right direction, you can't move your boat, you're not going anywhere.

And so, to me, I think it seems very self-evident after running a company for a few years like that that's the core. And I think anybody who's spent enough time leading groups of people realizes, gosh, if all I did was hire great people, make sure they're happy, and make sure that they're empowered and successful, you're going to have a good business. That is enough. And if you can, on top of that, if you can also have a perfect strategy and you can be extremely crafty with your capital raising and all these other things are, they're good, but I really do see them as cherries on top.

Being people centric doesn't, by the way, mean that you're always doing everything that the employee wants every single minute of every single day. And I think that can be a contorted and confused understanding of what being people centric means. But it does mean that you operate in the longterm and across the broad population with an understanding that great people who are happy, supported, engaged, that's going to be the most important thing for your company.

Katelin: Great partnerships and building great relationships on your executive team and really putting your people first, I'd like to welcome Dave to the show. Let's learn a little bit about you before we jump into what it's like working at Lattice and being together here with Jack and building this incredible product.

So you've been in the HR industry now for long enough to have lived through the incredible transformation over the last decade. You've worked at large companies and smaller startups. Across these experiences, though, what are the differences in working for a company that views HR as a compliance partner, a back office role, versus working with a CEO that values the people leader as an essential partner on the executive team?

Dave: The level of impact that I've seen for both the people in the company and the business itself has just been wildly different. And I think that being involved at that level with the business and understanding the strategy from the point of inception and being part of that rather than being handed something on the backend is what allows you then to really shape up people strategy that has strategic impact and is relevant to the business. And I think the partnership is then also what really empowers you as a people leader and as a people team to move just so quickly to be able to implement, rather than spending your time debating with folks whether you should be taking the input of people in the company or making something a priority. You're actually focused on getting things done and you're able to move just so much more quickly.

Katelin: There is a big, big difference in that partnership and the dynamic. And I think that really having a very, very solid partnership, not just with your founder or your CEO, but with the entire executive team really does allow for innovation as well. It's where you can be creative and really start to break some of the molds because you're not constantly just living in either clean up mode or in delivering on the basics. Making sure that you're just putting out the fire that's right in front of you. So glad that you have found that here with Jack. But let's pretend like he's not here for just two seconds. What is it like being an HR leader at an HR software company? Does that change the stakes for you? Do people all think that they know what HR is and they can do your job? Or what is it really like?

Dave: It definitely raises the expectations on what great looks like. I remember rolling out an engagement survey and we put all of this work into it and all of these new improvements, and at the end of it, another exec came to me and said, he was like, "That's a good engagement survey. It wasn't great." And that really hit me. I mean, there's an expectation of, this is an opportunity to really raise the level of the craft. And I think that that's part of one of our core values internally. And I think then particularly so in how we apply that for the people team.

I think the other aspect though is that there's a real recognition of the challenges and complexities that come with the HR space. And we were in the midst of a comp review and we're, as HR folks, aware of all of the backend work that goes into that process. And a lot of times managers and other folks won't be. But the number of pings that I got from people across the company, "Hey, I know that we're going through a comp review. I wanted to check in. I'm sure you're really busy right now. Thanks for all the work you're doing." That just blew my mind and I've never had that experience before of that type of appreciation for the work that your team does.

Katelin: That's awesome. That sounds like a dream. So Jack, we'll turn it over to you quickly. Why do you think it's so essential to have a genuine partnership between the people leader and the CEO?

Jack: Well, I think in the old world, or in a compliance, and HR is compliance, I think it's not particularly important. I think in that world, it could be pretty dissociated from the CEO and it's probably fine, and you make sure people are paid on time and that they have benefits and that stuff is important and hard work, but it doesn't necessarily require alignment with the CEO except maybe at a broad level.

But I think in the new world where you see the head of people as a full member of the executive team, a driver of the business strategy, and somebody who is there, not just to be there to make sure things are happening on time from a people and compliance perspective, but actually driving things forward, upgrading the culture, improving the quality of talent, making sure you're bringing people into the company. You actually really need the people leader to understand the business at a very deep level. You need them not just to understand the people, but you need them to understand the strategy.

In an ideal world, your head of people is able to say, "Hey, head of sales, I got to talk to you. I'm worried you're going to miss the quarter and I want to help you get ahead of that." Or, "Gosh, Jack, you told me that you want to be global by the end of 2023. And this is how long it takes to set up those offices. And I don't know that we've got the talent in the building. I think we need to go meet some global expansion leaders around different companies like ours and can drive us forward."

And I think when you've got that level of context and you've got a people leader who wants to engage with the business at that level, then what you've got, like what Dave was talking about, is somebody who's connecting the company strategy and the people strategy and seeing around corners and driving the business forward and allowing you to be a much better version of yourself as a company.

So I think when you're conceiving of people as that sort of function, then it becomes very apparent that the CEO and the other people need to be super aligned on these things with a clear understanding of what's most important, when, and why.

Katelin: Dave, I'm going to look back to you. Does this checkout? Is Jack walking the walk? He's talking the talk, I love what he's saying, but is he walking the walk?

Dave: He is, yeah. And I think that we've gone through a pretty intense year together. And looking back at how we work together through the different phases of COVID, and shifting to being remote, some of the ongoing and shifting challenges around motivation or communication or different aspects of the culture, and now figuring out how we're shifting at the same time as we're growing so rapidly. At the same time as we're going global and opening up our first office, and making all of these changes both in the business strategy and in the organization. That ongoing working relationship has been core to how I've been able to operate personally, for sure.

Katelin: That's awesome. Let's jump back into what you all are working on now. So, because I have a little bit of insight into the work that you do behind the scenes at Lattice, I know that you've been really focused a lot on this last year on building transparency and comms around your own people strategy, from DEI to compensation. So Jack, I'd love to chat with you a little bit about the ongoing, ever interesting conversation within the people community about transparency, the belief that transparency fosters innovation. I'd love to get your thoughts on that.

Jack: I would say, broadly, I'm a huge believer in transparency for a couple of reasons. One of the main reasons is that transparency allows autonomy, and the mechanism through which it does that is by knowing critical information. You're able to make decisions without needing to be fed directions. So if all I have is the tiniest little bit of visibility, I actually really need somebody to give me directions in order to make the next good decision, because I don't have global context. If I have global context and I'm trusted and I'm allowed to do my thing, I'm going to be able to make the decision after I've completed the current task. And I don't need somebody to tell me what the next thing looks like. So transparency leads to context, which leads to autonomy, which is great.

The other thing transparency does is it leads to happy and engaged employees. People join a startup so they can learn, so they can see what's going on around them, so they can absorb by osmosis all of this awesome stuff that's going on. I think just the key thing to think about when you're designing transparency at your company is to not just paint it with this blunt, broad brush and just think, "All right, great. I'm going to hit people with a fire hose of data, and that's transparency," because that's totally not transparency. That is, in fact, often you end up obscuring the real truth with tons and tons of data.

And so in my mind, there's one important concept, which is the difference between pushing transparency and pulling transparency. Meaning, what am I going to make available for employees to look through if they want, what's going to live in the company Wiki or in a Looker dashboard, or whatever that employees can just find? And then what am I going to push? What am I going to proactively tell employees about? And what am I going to curate and share and say, "Hey, this is what you need to know."

Because for a lot of employees, if you shared all of the data about, say, how the last quarter went, it's really hard to make sense of, well, did we do a good job? Did we beat our goals? Is this promising for the future? Should I feel good about our performance? It's really hard to understand that. And so really what you want to do often is to curate and to contextualize and to tell a story, a truthful story, around the data and be really thoughtful about what you're sharing. So to me, transparency is very important, but it's thoughtful and it is curated. And I think that's how you really empower people.

Katelin: And so Dave, I'm going to turn this one back to you again, because this is a fun volley we have going. Jack has just shared his approach towards transparency. How do you really bring that to life within the organization? I would love to A, know your own motivation around pushing for transparency, because the assumption here is that you two are at least 80% aligned on transparency. And then two, maybe what are some lessons you can share with other leaders on how to do this in the right way from the execution standpoint?

Dave: Yeah, definitely aligned on the role that transparency plays in empowerment and helping people across the organization work on problems together. I think that in a lot of cases, it also helps really force focus and prioritization. When we talk about sharing diversity statistics. Sharing that ongoing every quarter internally is something that has really helped us as an organization keep a level of focus on it across the management team that I think has been really, really important.

I loved Jack's point too, about the difference between showering someone with information or really giving them the right context to get the meaning. And I think that was something that came up for us, especially last year, as we were growing over that 150 person threshold that Jack talked about. We were adding departments, we were adding people. There were all of these mechanisms in place that were meant to share information. But suddenly more people, more departments, it became a flood and needing to figure out in our All Hands, in our communication norms, in how we were using OKRs or different types of mechanisms to keep people aligned. It really had to shift a lot. And it had to shift all at once across all of these different domains because of how much the organization was changing. And there were things that we learned along the way, but I think that being able to look at that set of topics holistically, I think that we were able to translate some of that idea into actual execution.

Katelin: It is really is fun to see and watch the two of you together. I know it's so much more fun to come to work as an HR professional when you have a really, really great partner. And so it's really just fun to watch that and have the audience really hear the conversation between the two of you. I think this is really wonderful. So thank you so much for sharing. Lattice is a tool that is actually very, very handy for many HR teams. My assumption here, again, is that you do actually use Lattice internally and dogfood it and probably give a lot of really great product feedback and have a ton of feature requests. But I'm curious to learn, how do you actually use your own product internally?

Dave: I actually started before Lattice. I started as a customer. That was actually how I got introduced to Jack and made the connection. We really work on using it to power how we integrate all of our talent management strategies. And so being able to automate away a lot of the repetitive work, being able to have a platform that is so user-friendly, and managers are able to engage with so easily, and being able to interconnect different pieces of talent management, we'll run our engagement survey.

We'll then use the rolling pulse to follow up live over the course of the next quarter on the top questions where we had action plans. We'll integrate the pulse questions into department OKRs for that quarter. Those sorts of reinforcing talent management practices are the thing that we all know really drives a lot of the synergy and incremental impact that you can have for an organization. So it's really helped me personally, to be able to do that and also free up a lot of the time for my team than to spend in conversations with managers and folks in the company,

Katelin: I love good technology. That helps people have better experiences at work. And so we're going to have to go offline and have a big nerd session on this. I love it. Now, I'm going to hit you with rapid fire questions. Don't overthink it. Are you ready?

Dave: Ready?

Katelin: Great. Okay. Dave, Zoom, virtual background or real background? And why?

Dave: Virtual, because otherwise people are always trying to tilt their head sideways to read what your book titles are.

Katelin: Okay. Jack, what item sitting on your desk right now in front of you sparks joy, and why?

Jack: Oh my goodness. I'm going to say LaCroix. I love LaCroix. I'm drinking pamplemousse LaCroix.

Katelin: I was going to say, if it's not pamplemousse, I'm turning you off. Dave, what is your favorite productivity hack these days?

Dave: Oh wow. Just turning off Slack. That gets me almost everything I need.

Katelin: Excellent. That's actually a fake rapid-fire question that I've been adding to the lineup because I just am deeply overwhelmed and I'm trying to figure out how to optimize my days. So yeah. Great tip. Slack, shut it down. Okay. Those were the warm up ones. That was just to give us a flavor of how fast and quickly I would like us to move. But the next few might not be so easy. Are you ready for a few more?

Jack: Here we go.

Katelin: Okay. Jack, company culture: family or sports team? And why?

Jack: Family early, sports team once you cross 50 to 75. I think in the early days, it's actually very valuable to have those extremely close relationships. And that gets companies through some of the hardest moments. And I think trying to over professionalize or corporatize or sanitize those, I think isn't what you want. And then you get to a certain stage where the same things that got you here, won't get you there. And you need to go back to the vibe of a sports team where we're all operating towards the same ultimate goal, but we all play our roles in that and there's a sense of professionalism to it.

Katelin: I like it. I think that's a fair answer. Okay, Dave, this is going to put you on the spot a little bit in front of your boss, but what is one tactical thing that CEOs can do today to better partner with their HR teams?

Dave: That's a good question.

Jack: Do you want me to put ear muffs on?

Katelin: This doesn't need to be your CEO. This can be something that Jack does really, really well, for example.

Dave: The most important tactical thing is time, actually. I think that there's not usually a shortcut to getting to common understanding and mind-meld, other than time.

Katelin: I would up vote that answer, for sure. Okay. Now this question's for both of you. Jack, I'm going to have you go first. So Dave, you have an extra second to think. But when was the last time you were deeply proud of something you have accomplished?

Jack: I think one thing I'm proud of, and I don't think this is about me, but as a company, but hopefully played a role in it. I think that we have done a good job showing transparently to the company that as we're reentering the world, and as we're going into this new world of work, and as the pandemic starts to hopefully become something in our past, I think, despite not having the answers, we have brought the company along in a high trust way and said to people, "We don't know exactly what this is going to look like, but we're taking you through our thinking. We're going to update you frequently." And I think employees have appreciated that. And I think it's often difficult when you don't have the answers, but there's a lot of demand for answers. For you to get tempted to either make up an answer or to hide your thinking along the way. And I think we've done a pretty good job and I'm pretty proud of how we've handled it.

Katelin: I love that. Okay, Dave, same question goes for you. It can be personal or professional. Something you're deeply proud of.

Dave: I mean, on the professional side of it, I think that the last quarter of hiring, I mean, I think we have really accelerated the company over the past number of months, and that's been the recruiting team, and that's been the managers, and that's been a total company effort. And the speed that it happened with is something that I think collectively I'm really proud of.

Jack: I actually want to jump in with something I'm proud of Dave about. And I was just sharing this with him recently. Lattice has gone through a crazy amount of growth this year. Our head counts going to go from 190 to 450, something like that this year. And each quarter as things have gotten better, we've upped it along the way.

And Dave and I had a chat a few months ago where we both were looking at the same situation. We were just like, "Geez, recruiting, this isn't where it needs to be. We didn't see this coming, but the present situation is like, there's just so much that's needed." And Dave had one of the most ideal reactions to that possible, which was, "I see this problem. I agree. Give me a few months, I know what to do." And he really dug in and built recruiting into something that could stand on its feet through unbelievable growth. In my career, I haven't seen many instances where something so challenging where you see somebody acknowledged the problem and say, "Give me a few months," and then just really dig deep and get it to an amazing place. And I was just really proud to see that reaction. And that was a very special thing, I thought.

Katelin: This is so meta. You're giving feedback on All Hands podcast that is focused on-

Jack: We're a feedback company. That's what we do.

Katelin: I know. It's so meta. I love it. I love it. It's very, very appropriate. And I appreciate, as a leader, that you took the time to share that in a public forum.

One last and final question for you both before we wrap it up. This one does not need to be rapid fire. What advice would you give to founders and people leaders out there trying to make sense of this particular moment in history? How can they use this as an opportunity to build a better organization into this next chapter? Dave, I'll have you go first, please.

Dave: I think there's an incredible opportunity here. I think that when March 2020, when COVID hit, in the months following, we all went through just a massive organizational transformation. And we're going through now and are about to go into, I think, actually a transformation that's even bigger because it's not for a defined period of time.

And I think there's such an opportunity to really define the culture and tie all of the decisions. I mean, there are big decisions that every company needs to make here and tie them back to your values, your vision for work, what's important to you, and what's important to all the folks on your team. And I think that people really, founders, HR leaders, I think you have to take the opportunity. And I think like Jack said, also be really real that you don't know and we don't know the answer to most of these questions, and what we think we know, we'll often find out is wrong a couple of months later and we need to update our thinking. So I think going in with that mindset.

Katelin: I'll turn it to you, Jack. Same question. What advice would you give to founders and people leaders out there?

Dave: I think more than any other moment in time, at least that I've ever been working, we are in an unbelievable state of abundance for businesses. There is more plentiful capital available at cheaper rates than people have ever seen in history. Companies are growing faster than ever. There are bigger markets to serve if you are a software company or a tech company in general. The budgets people are spending on software, the number of people who have mobile phones in their pocket and are using that as their primary source of navigating their life. Opportunity abounds.

I think it's really important in the down moments and in the up moments to stay rooted in your values, your principles, and in creating real value. And I think just like last year, we all got a chance to experience lows and to say, "How do we go back to our values and go back to the meat and potatoes and business of building companies and creating products and selling them to customers?"

I think just like it's important to ground yourself when things are low. I think it's equally important to ground yourself when the external world is high. And I think there's a lot of temptations right now for people to get caught up and swept away by what their neighbor is doing, or by the crazy things they're seeing in the news, or by maybe the emails in their inbox, or whatever. It's not that you don't want to play the game on the field and you don't want to take advantage of all of these amazing opportunities, but remembering to stay grounded in real inputs to the work, because those are what stay, no matter how the world is going. I think that's really important.

Katelin: What a perfect way to wrap up this episode. I literally had the conversation with my boys last night about abundance mindset and gratitude. And that is what I'm feeling for both of you after this wonderful conversation. I am so grateful to each of you for your time and more importantly for the platform. Not just the platform that you're giving us here with the podcast, All Hands, but the platform you've created in really changing company culture from the inside out. Lattice has impacted so much of our industry already. And I know that you all have so much yet to do. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please keep leading authentically, and thank you again for your time here today.

Jack: Thank you so much, Katelin.

Dave: Thanks, Katelin.


Thanks so much for joining me on this week's episode of All Hands, brought to you by Lattice. I'm your host Caitlin Holloway. This episode was produced by Lattice in partnership with Pod People, Rachel King, Madison Lusby, Samantha Gadsick, and mastering done by Erica Huang. Learn more about how Lattice can help your business stay people focused at Lattice.com. Or find us on Twitter at Lattice HQ. Don't forget to subscribe to All Hands wherever you get your podcasts. Join us next time.

About the Guest

podcast guest

Jack Altman & Dave Carhart

Jack Bio: Jack Altman is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Lattice. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller People Strategy, a contributing writer for Forbes Tech Council as well as multiple HR publications, and a frequent HR industry event speaker.
Prior to launching Lattice, Jack was the VP of Business and Corporate Development at Teespring, and was also an early-stage venture capital investor.

Dave Bio: Dave Carhart is the Vice President of People at Lattice, leading our recruiting and HR teams. Most recently Dave led the People team at Branch Metrics, a mobile analytics startup which scaled from 150 to 400+ during his time there. Before that, he led the People Partner and Compensation teams at Mulesoft through their successful IPO and acquisition by Salesforce. He started his career in a variety of HR roles across HP including workforce planning, HR M&A, talent management and HR Business Partnering.

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