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April 2, 2024

Stan Slavev

“Everyone Benefits From A Transparent Feedback Culture In The Workplace.”

In our interviews series, we bring you insights from leaders who reshape the way we view work, leadership, and personal development. Meet Olivier Lemaignen from Fremont, CA

Olivier, you’re an executive coach, advisor and consultant. Could you tell us about what drove you to this career choice?

In 2015, I decided to build my own practice around executive and professional coaching. I felt that I needed a break from the office politics and what often felt like a rat race. I wanted to simply focus on what I do best.

Coaching was something that came very naturally to me. I had already been doing it informally with direct reports, colleagues, and managers for 20+ years. By 2015, I decided to get certified in executive coaching. My very first client was the entire Evite organization!

I do still love business strategy and especially marketing, which is why I'm still practicing that in consulting roles. In a previous "life", I was the CMO of a FinTech company after stunts at Intuit, Invisalign, and LegalZoom. Over the past few years, I’ve worked with big companies (like McAfee and Intuit) and many startups (WalletHub, Boundless Rider,, etc.) in various capacities.

You mentioned the rat race and office politics. Could you share with us a situation in your career that was particularly painful? How did that affect you?

Sure! What comes to mind is when I was passed over for a promotion at a Fortune 500 company. 2 years in a row! And it was clearly for internal political reasons. I can tell you - that didn't feel good at all, it felt so unfair as I was over-performing. In fact, I received very positive feedback and evaluations, yet the outcome seemed disconnected. I felt like I was not valued properly.

Let's talk about this disconnect a bit more! We've heard countless stories about the broken feedback loop at work - and the poor decisions and behaviors that stem from it. From your perspective, what are the most significant barriers to fostering a culture of feedback within teams?

I’ve been lucky to witness some organizations that actually put feedback at the center of employee management and growth. The impact is tangible.
For companies that do not focus on feedback or adequate employee evaluation (i.e. how to help them get better, what they need to focus on, and how the company can support them in achieving these growth goals), it is typically due to two reasons:
1) Management doesn’t think it’s that important and therefore doesn’t role model constructive feedback.
2) Fixing the broken feedback loop is a lot of work. Since it's often not a priority at the top, nobody spends their time to identify and then implement a solution.

Actually, this is exactly why we started Mirror 360 itself - to give managers an easy solution for honest feedback. Currently, in its absence, people are left to play politics instead - managing up, rather than work across teams. In your experience, how do office politics affect team cohesion and productivity?

Politics causes fundamental misalignment across functions and teams, which in turn dramatically slows down corporate strategic initiatives.
For example, Marketing points a finger at Sales: “You’re not converting enough leads”. Sales points a finger at Marketing: “You’re not giving us high quality leads, so we can’t convert them”.
So it comes down to goal alignment. When that does not happen overtly and openly, then the politics come into play. That’s the only tool left to substantiate one's position of “I am right, and the other team is not doing their job”.

From what you’ve seen with clients, what are the key benefits of replacing politics with a culture of transparency instead?

Everyone benefits. It sometimes takes a neutral outsider to mediate tough conversations, identify the issues, and brainstorm solutions without finger-pointing. I find that especially true in younger organizations where the employees do not have years of experience successfully navigating the corporate world.

What approaches have you noticed to be effective in making sure every team member feels acknowledged and valued?

That’s a tough question, because you have to take into account how people prefer to be acknowledged. Some prefer public shout-outs, others prefer 1:1 appreciation, others would rather have perks or monetary rewards. The most successful workplaces understand both angles:
1) How to substantiate who should be acknowledged and why.
2) How to acknowledge them based on their own preference

Remote and hybrid work is pretty much the norm now for so many knowledge workers. How do you see this impacting feedback and professional development?

It really doesn’t, unless you count the value in-person team building events. Over the past 3 years, employees and managers have had to adapt to giving and receiving feedback remotely.
If you are in a culture that values feedback, you’ll find a way… It may be remote 1:1 calls, remote team calls… It ends up with the same outcome. If anything, I’ve seen people be more transparent remotely than in person.

How do you see tools like Mirror 360 transforming workplace culture in the next five years?

It appears to be a simple and intuitive solution that will not require hours of online or in-person training, which should help with the usage and speed of adoption.
The key is consistent and continued usage to unlock the full value for a given workplace and culture.

I couldn't agree more! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Where can people find more about you and what you do?


Mirror 360 ambassadors are the voices for honest feedback at work. For the first time in a corporate setting, honest feedback can be easily given and seen via the enterprise solution: Mirror 360. Separately, individuals can start using the free web app - My Mirror 360. Gain self-awareness and take growth and development in your own hands!