JP Chauvet is a renowned leadership executive with years of experience at companies like Atex and Nstein Technologies. Presently, JP is the President of Lightspeed where he’s played a fundamental role in scaling the organization from 44 employees to over 2000, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.
Listen to this episode (or read the transcript below) to learn how to focus on outcomes while simultaneously prioritizing supporting the people on your team. We will also dive into JP’s experience as a manager and learn how he unblocks and empowers his teammates.
1 Why has been your most memorable boss?
One of my first bosses was actually my best boss and his name was Osman Sutar. We were at France Telecom at the time and the company was growing like crazy and it was extremely memorable for me because Osman taught me a lot about leadership and people. He also always encouraged me to make decisions and made me believe in myself by empowering me to do a good job. He always let me run with a project when he thought it was the right fit and we also ended up having a great personal relationship. He was truly a mentor and someone I grew to really look up to because I made a ton of mistakes early on in my career and he helped me work my way through it.
2 What were some mistakes that you may have made early on in your management career?
I always had very high standards for myself so I was under the impression that everyone else within the company would be as driven as I am which is not always the case. In my first job, I was a bit of a dictator and it didn’t sit well with the people that were driven and the people that weren’t as driven as I am also hated the relationship. Instead of trying to lift people, I would be more of an authoritarian leader and I realized very quickly that I needed to take a lot more into consideration while being a manager or a leader. Instead of being obsessed with the outcome, I had to learn to prioritize people and learn how they work based on their personality types, and how to make them want to work with me.
3 Is there a way to focus on outcomes while simultaneously prioritizing the people on your team?
To be a good leader, you have to be obsessed with the outcome, and you need to ensure that everybody understands the level of quality you’re expecting. And I think that’s really what we’ve done so well at Lightspeed because we never fail. We always go the extra mile which ultimately comes down to our culture or our values that are so strongly ingrained within our teammates.
People don’t understand something when you simply explain it to them. Instead, you have to explain what it takes to get to the great outcome. When you have enough people within your team with the same mindset and values, it begins to become the norm within your organization. The question you should always be trying to answer as a leader is how you can get someone to want to do something as badly as you do.
4 Instead of changing the outcome, you should get people to buy into the outcome. Correct?
Everybody learns by making mistakes. As a young leader, you make mistakes and you adjust and the same thing can be said about smart people. All young leaders tend to have the same outcome, especially if they’re driven. In the early days, I would put a ton of pressure on these leaders but now I tell them not to stress. It takes many years to build a career and it will all come in time. It has to be a sustainable career so it’s important to take your time and avoid jumping any steps.
5 What advice would you give leaders that are managing people with more experience?
The biggest advice I would give is, ask yourself, how you can help the team, and not how the team can help you, especially with the more senior. Don’t try to know more than them because you won’t. What everyone expects from a leader is to have someone that shields them, and supports them through what they’re trying to build.
You can start out by just simply asking your team how you can help them and what you can do to help them do a better job. You should remove the barriers they have and work on removing any friction they may have with other colleagues. A young leader often acts as though they need to know everything but a senior leader will recognize that they’re never going to know everything and work on unblocking and empowering their team.
6 When did you join Lightspeed?
We were slightly under 6 million in sales when I joined. I joined when they received the first real VC seed round from Excel. I’ve always grown companies, it’s in my DNA. If you look at every company I’ve joined, we’ve scaled very rapidly. Ultimately you learn by doing. Through the good, bad, and the ugly it’s all a learning experience. My goal when joining Lightspeed was to really paint the picture of how we could scale the organization.
At the time, we only had around 44 employees within the organization and we’ve grown to be almost 2000 today and we’ve done hundreds of millions in sales.
7 Do you have any resources, tips, or final words of wisdom for managers or leaders that are looking to get better at their craft?
It all starts with having a good leader and having someone who can be your mentor. It’s also important to not be scared to connect with people that can teach you and help you grow because leadership is all about learning and that’s one of the best ways you can learn. It’s also important to think about how you can help your team instead of thinking about how they can support you. It can be difficult to always be uplifting or positive because everybody has highs and lows. As a leader, you should do your best to be positive and lift people up.
One of my most important pieces of advice that may be more valuable than anything else is to always learn from your mistakes. The only way to learn is by making mistakes and not making them twice.