A bi-weekly newsletter on how to become a better leader, written by Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Team.

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Issue 21 Interview with Katrina Markoff, Founder + CEO of Vosges Haut-Chocolat


Every few weeks, I ask one question to a founder, CEO, manager, or business owner I respect…

A chat with Katrina Markoff

Katrina Markoff is the Founder and CEO of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, an international chocolate company that exceeds $35MM in revenue annually. Katrina has been featured on the Food Network, not to mention countless of publications like Fast Company, Inc, CNN, and Glamour. In our in-person interview, Katrina shares the importance of knowing what you’re not good at, trusting your gut, and connecting with your leadership team.

Transcript of the interview is here.

Latest reads

Why team-building exercises won’t make your staff more productive
“When leaders or managers utter the words “team-building,” most people want to run for the nearest exit. Visions of cheesy bonding exercises and trust-building games can induce a collective bout of nausea.” Written by Aytekin Tank, Founder of JotForm

Research: When Managers Are Overworked, They Treat Employees Less Fairly
“Many managers are, simply put, too busy to be fair. They are often expected to juggle multiple responsibilities under intense time and work pressures, and so treating employees fairly may take a backseat to other pressing priorities.” Written by Elad N. Sherf, Ravi S. Gajendran, Vijaya Venkataramani, Harvard Business Review

Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix on Building Diverse Teams
“While working at a venture capital firm, Ms. Lake saw that many entrepreneurs were “totally unqualified, totally normal people.” That inspired her to be one herself.” Written by David Gelles, New York Times

Good Pressure, Bad Pressure
“I can’t recall an example of groundbreaking work coming from an environment of stress, anxiety, and fear of failure. The best work I’ve seen comes from groups that have conviction in their vision, clarity on their principles, and the sense that even if they don’t know everything and make mistakes along the way, they’ll be okay, because they’re going to learn and get better as a result.” Written by Julie Zhuo, Product Design VP at Facebook

The Ethical Downside of Having Highly Loyal Leaders
“It turns out that leaders who strongly identify with their organization—the leaders who would be described as exceptionally committed and loyal—are also the ones less likely to see or take action to address unethical behavior. In fact, recent research suggests that when leaders gain power, they are less likely to object to unethical behavior.” Written by Jennifer Deal, Wall Street Journal

Favorite reads

High-performing teams: A timeless leadership topic
“Team composition is the starting point. The team needs to be kept small—but not too small—and it’s important that the structure of the organization doesn’t dictate the team’s membership.” Written by Scott Keller and Mary Meaney, McKinsey Quarterly

The Right Culture: Not Just About Employee Satisfaction
“Measuring workers’ contentment doesn’t improve business outcomes. Approaching engagement as a business strategy yields better results.” Written by Jim Harter and Annamarie Mann, Gallup

Just for fun

Opening a restaurant, taking a leap: A look at Parachute’s beginning
A 2014 piece written on my favorite restaurant in Chicago, Parachute, about how hard it really is to open and run a successful restaurant. A timeless read.


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