Welcome to Remote Start Podcast!
Jan. 27, 2023

E37: Lead by Getting to Know Your Team and Taking Care of Your Own wellbeing with Elena Agaragimova

Learn how to prioritize the things that add value to your life, become a better leader by taking care of both your physical and mental well-being first, and leading through getting to know your team on a personal level so you can encourage and push them in a... See show notes at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/e37-lead-by-getting-to-know-your-team-and-taking-care-of-your-own-wellbeing-with-elena-agaragimova/#show-notes

Learn how to prioritize the things that add value to your life, become a better leader by taking care of both your physical and mental well-being first, and leading through getting to know your team on a personal level so you can encourage and push them in a way that is best for them. These are just a few of the topics Elena delivers in this value packed episode geared at entrepreneurs looking to become better leaders by bettering yourself first. Tune in to learn how to add value to your life and become a more effective leader!

Learn more about Elena Agaragimova at:

Email: elena@agarconsultancy.com

Website: https://elenaagar.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elenaagaragimova/

Learn more about Remote Start Podcast at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/


Jim: What is up Remote Start Nation! Let's get something started. I'm Jim Doyon, your host, and I wanna welcome you to another episode of Remote Start. So Remote Start Nation, as business owners and entrepreneurs, when we are just starting a business and we're so low, we might not need to focus as much on leadership. But as we grow, we hire more and more, leadership starts to play a bigger role in not only the culture, but the success of our overall brand. On today's episode, I'm absolutely honored to be joined by Elena Agaragimova, who is an expert in leadership, personal, and professional development. Elena is co-owner of Bessern, an Ed tech company that improves people's overall performance and wellbeing. She's the co-author of recently published book, the Rough Guide to Awesome Leadership, and she has her own successful podcast called The Shift with Elena Agaragimova. Without further ado, Elena welcomed the Remote Start Nation.

Elena: Thank you, it's good to be here.

Jim: Absolutely. I'm so excited to have you, thank you for taking the time. I'd like to start this off with asking you, what's the number one thing that you get excited every day about running your company?

Elena: Sure be before we go into that though, you know, when people introduce and, and they're like, you know, the expert on this, and when I hear this people say that about myself, I was like, I don't know if I'm necessarily an expert, but I just done a lot of things that worked and a lot of things that didn't work, probably more that didn't work. That kind of allowed me to learn along the way and as well as just working with different individuals to observe that change that happens with them, so, but, thank you for that introduction.

Jim: Absolutely.

Elena: What excites me, what excites me the most, I think is, not knowing what the day is gonna bring, having like, my day is so varied every day, every week. Well, I mean, maybe I have some days that are similar, but every single week is just, can be different, you know? And it took me a while to kind of overcome this idea of that I'm just, this, person who likes to do many things, and I'm not this person who's gonna be like, very focused, and that's why I always had that itch for, you know, doing something on my own, before I even started the business, I've always had like side gigs and things like that because that's what kind of drives me and that's what excites me every day is like ability to like, create and do something and work independently. Like, let's try this, let's try that. So I think that's the exciting part of just, you know, doing business or even just trying different ventures, et cetera.

Jim: So, it sounds like a true entrepreneur right there.

Elena: I don't know, hope so, but we fail a lot, so maybe that's what entrepreneurs, right.

Jim: Absolutely. And part of you know, the intro and what you said about failing and succeeding and that's what I love about this podcast is tell being able to tell the stories of failing and being able to tell the stories of how we got to where we are, and hopefully so many people can learn from the value that, not only on this episode, but overall the podcast can deliver. So I'm excited about that. So, you know, with that said, tell us more about what you do and the business and, you know, your podcast and the book, and I'd love to hear more about it.

Elena: Sure. So I wear a couple different hats, I've spent the last several years, probably over the last 12, 13 years, kind of when I started my professional career, after I've had like, I don't know, 15 different jobs, uh, trying all sorts of things, and, I did a whole like talk about that as well because of how, how unpredictable life can be when you were just like trying so many different things. So anyway, but professionally speaking, I've probably been in, in, in kind of this industry of, you know, talent development for about 12, 13 years now. So I've gone, I've always been passionate about talent, always been kind of, you know, going towards roles that would be dealing with people, and I remember even when I was starting off in university, and I remember my career advisor at that time, I think I was like maybe like 19 or 20 years old, and he said, well, what do you wanna do? And I was like, I don't know. He was trying to fit me into a box of some kind of major that I can do, and I said, no, honestly, you know, he's like, what do you like? I was, I like to talk to people, I like to learn about different people, I like to, I don't want a nine to five, I don't wanna sit behind a desk, et cetera. And then he couldn't really put me in a box, and funny enough, after all these jobs and trying to fit into this box that, you know, at universities they try to do, and then when you get into corporate jobs and et cetera. And eventually I real, I just created my own box. So through this passion for talent, I've dipped my toes into like higher education and working with younger kind of people and then moving towards corporations and working with adult learners, and then eventually kind of doing this organizational development and really setting up, learning and development practices and everything that that titles. And so, and then eventually in 2019 also starting bester, which is really focusing on performance and wellbeing in organizations because one thing I've learned is that at the end of the day, and I've done this globally, so at the end of the day, no matter where you are or what you're doing, the most important thing that matters to your performance is how well you take care of yourself, your mental and physical wellbeing. And so that's why at Bessern, we always wanted to make sure that we have this, we're focusing on performance, but for better or for worse, most companies don't care about the wellbeing piece, but they care about the performance. And so we try to marry the two and kind of promoting as performance, but really with the heavy underlining of the well being.

Jim: Interesting. Can you go further into, you know, as leaders, as owners, I know we can get so tied up in the day-to-day and it's hard to sometimes remember that we have to take care of ourselves. Can you talk more about the personal wellbeing and why that's so important?

Elena: Sure. Well, full disclaimer, I think I've heard, I've hit burnout twice, at least so far, so to, you know, and this is like throughout this journey, even when I was still working full-time, like prior to starting a business, I've kind of hit that wall because I tend to enjoy what I do, but I'm also human. So I sometimes, like my body, it's like, you know, let's just keep going, and eventually it's like, okay, well you enjoy what you're doing, which you're only human. So I don't know if I'm the greatest example in terms of you know, myself, but I do and I think that's just a very real way to put it, because I think there's a lot of people that talk about, you know, oh, you should meditate and you should do this, and that's wonderful and it works for some people, but I think it's about creating a system that works for you. So whatever that looks like, maybe it's a daily practice of X, Y, and Z. Maybe it's a weekly, maybe it's and so although I've hit those burnouts, I haven't, in the last, I don't know, probably three years, I've been really balanced, I've been trying to balance and kind of prioritize, my work and rest and stuff like that. So I've learned a lot of things, um, and, and I think a lot of people struggle with that, but what I'm trying to get at is that you don't really know until you hit that point, and I see this with a lot of entrepreneurs, like a lot of my friends who have business. It's almost like you see the train going, but until you, you kind of have that reality check, it's very difficult to prevent it from happening especially if you're like a high performer yourself and you're just you're just continue, you're just a doer in general, I think it's natural that people get into it. I think it's what you do after you hit that burnout or just kind of that wall you have to reevaluate but you know, again, like I've talked to so many entrepreneurs and seems to be similar stories. So, and we all know it's important, the wellbeing, but sometimes you just don't even see it happening until you're like, oh, so what kind of works for me and some other that I've, I've talked about is creating systems. So for me, personal of course, just the wellbeing piece, so your mental and physical wellbeing, the daily movement, like I work out seven days a week. I love it, it's just, it's just part of my life, it makes me better, it makes me better thinker, etc. I tried meditation, it doesn't really work for me so much. I do it once in a while, but for me, like going for a run is like a form of meditation. So, and some people will argue it's not meditation and et cetera, but anyway, but, nutrition is a big part as well, so just making sure like, you know, you see when you are running a business, you're stressed a lot of times. So you're like, ah, let me have a glass of wine, let me have some snacks, it's emotional eating. So being able to kind of address those things and being an emotional eater, so many people are, I think tapping into that really kind of, is important for all of us. So I think just taking care of, like I always say, audit your habits, your sleep, you're eating, your movement. You know, if you just look at those three things, if you are not operating at your best or performing at your best, the chances are it's those three things before anything else. Because if those three things are aligned, then you're probably gonna be more focused, more first of all rested, of course, you're gonna be more energetic, you're gonna be more clear minded, in better health overall, what we eat and impacts us, very much so in terms of, it can go both ways, right? The whole idea of gut health and the, you know, body mind connection, I really believe all of that. So I think, remembering that piece as an entrepreneur is probably gonna add more success to your business than anything else, than sales and et cetera, like long term especially.

Jim: And to that point, I feel like a lot of times you hear, you know, individuals, whether entrepreneurs are not saying that they don't have time, but in all reality, and to your point, when you set the time to do these things for yourself, and you set the time to actually like go back and reflect and look at is it working or is it not, a lot of times that frees up more time to do the things, exercise, you might be able to work faster, you have more energy and you don't need coffee to get all that energy because you're getting it through. Working out doing those things, I think adds so much more value to your business, as you said, but we have to get over that roadblock that oh, it, I don't have the time.

Elena: Yeah, a lot of people say that you're right, and I think it just comes down to priorities because I don't, and I see this all the time, whether when I'm working, with clients or you know, leadership and they'll say, well, we don't have time for this, well, it's about priorities. So I think just asking yourself the question of, what is it that you're trying to do and what does that look like in action, right? So if you're, if you're somebody who's, I don't know, trying to accomplish, I don't know, you wanna feel better, you wanna feel more energetic, well prioritize your sleep, eating and nutrition and exercise. I think it's just prioritizing things that are going to add value to what you're doing. And you know, I mean, I'm not a scientist or a doctor, but there's a lot of research out there about the benefits of these three things kind of being balanced, and how much it adds to everything that you do, essentially. So I think it's just about prioritizing and ultimately we have a set of habits we've created as, you know, humans, right? And adjusting those habits in a way that is helping you be better every day, and that's also your job as a leader. So if you are a leader who projects, you know, unhealthy lifestyle, and I don't mean that everyone needs to like, it's about being looking great, I'm talking like true health, I'm not even talking about the looks aspect, I'm just talking health, like, how do you feel? Because if you are stressed out, if you are not getting sleep, I promise you you're not, you're not as creative as productive, you might be once in a while, you might get away with a few hours of sleep, but if you are consistently not getting enough sleep, whatever that enough is for everybody, right? I think it's like different hours for different people. It will reflect on the way you lead, you'll be, you know, it will reflect on the decisions you make, the decision making, you're only human, and I think we forget that there's whole biology to us as humans that we just can't get away with. We're only human and we're not meant to be operating 14, 16 hours a day staring at a computer screen, it's just not how we're made, we're meant to be out there, we're meant to kind of, you know, keep moving and not be stationary in front of our computers, and a final point I'll mention here is, it doesn't have to be extreme. It can be like 30 minutes every day, it can be every hour, step away, set a little alarm, reminder, step away, I don't know, do five sit ups, 10 pushups, go for a quick walk, whatever may be, right, stretch a little bit. It can be, it's so, it doesn't have to be extreme. And I think that's what people misunderstand is like, oh, they have to sign up for a membership and they have to go to this hour gym, you don't have to, you can just go for a walk, stretch. It's, you know, do breathing, exercise, whatever it may be. So it doesn't really, it's not really that much. And I bet you if people audit their timings and what they spend time on, everybody can find that time or create that space in their day.

Jim: I agree with you so much. For me personally, the last couple months, it started early December, but I met with a nutritionist and right away I started changing some of the things I ate, and then, I added to that with cutting a lot of that alcohol back and getting up early. And so my routine the last few months has been to get up between four and five to go to bed at around 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock latest, and at some point in the morning, I get on an exercise bike, or I do like a 15 minute little, you know, hit workout, it's not much. And that was to your point, like it doesn't have to be going to the gym or whatever else, like it can be very small. It's just getting that energy going and I feel so much better, and I still try to take the time in the morning too by getting up that early and starting my day that early, I have time to see the kids off to school and help with breakfast and everything else, which to me, that work-life balance, I feel like that's such an important part of being, you know, owning my own business and doing what I'm doing is being able to kind of set that own schedule for myself. And the other part to something you had mentioned that I really want to hit on is, you know, for me, I can't, I have a hard time meditating as well, but what I've found works for me is getting on my mountain bike and going for hours in the mountains and just riding my bike, and if for Remote Start Nation, if you've listened to some of the episodes earlier, I traveled for two years on the road with my family and that was my getaway, that was my escape. And anywhere we were, I would get on my mountain bike and I would ride and I would, you know, relieve that stress, and, you know, come up with new ideas for my business and, you know, it was such a big part of my life. So, to your point, I think that mental and physical wellbeing is such an important part of leadership and also just owning your own business and being successful in what you're doing every day.

Elena: Absolutely. And it's just giving yourself that little time, and this is what I'm trying to get better at, honestly, these days, is having time to think. Just like five to 10 minutes every day with not reading, not doing, not just sit and think, and that's hard, that's why meditation's hard for me because I'm always like, I'm a doer, I'm like, okay, I need to, you know, and I'm very structured in my day, so I'm like, every hour is like planned out, unless it's Saturday. Saturday's the only unplanned day, so where I just do nothing and I can binge watch shows if I want to, like, I allow myself that space. But, so I'm trying to get better at that. And I think it's important because it's, again, as a business owner, this is when you, nobody's gonna create these ideas or thoughts for you, you have to ultimately kind of lead on a lot of these things, right? And another thing is when people say they don't have time, and again, I can relate to it, because when you're starting a business, like for us, for my business partner and I, when we started Bessern, we were doing everything ourselves, like we were learning how to, you know, we didn't have capital, we didn't have like, I mean like we had some small investments here and there, but we didn't have, like, we couldn't hire a team of these brilliant people that are just gonna do things for us, it's the reality is like, that's just not how it goes, so we build everything from scratch, which required us to learn a lot of things. So whenever we weren't selling, we were like learning, we were taking courses to be like, how do you do this? And, you know, how do you increase, you know, the SEO, and marketing, and just all these different things, trying to figure out how to operate as a business because we were obviously, I mean, he's a very technical guy and I'm more on like that sales marketing piece, but we are still missing skills. So I think it's like, it's easy to get to get into it and say, I don't have time. I have to do all these things, and with entrepreneurship and starting your business is being very trendy right now, and everybody's kind of like, well, you have to, you have to like, do all these things, but you know, I'm not, you know, I mean, I still work today, like 10 hours a day, maybe not every day, but I enjoy it but I know where to kind of cut myself off but just kind of being mindful that you can't do everything. So just, you know, find the balance, find a system that works for you. And sometimes it just takes experimenting and what I've learned is, you don't really know until you start doing it, and I think the biggest advice I can give to people, not of an advice, like a tip is just keep in the back of your mind, make sure you're not getting into the hole, like try to stop yourself before you get deep into the hole of like doing, doing, doing, ‘cause you get there so quickly and it's like all downhill and then you, that's when you hit, you're like, oh, like how did I get here? So I think just keeping that in the back of your mind and like, do what you need to do, right? Because we don't know what we don't know, and everybody's different, but also just be mindful, like when you feel like you're like, okay, maybe I'm overdoing it or a chicken with yourself, like, I don't know, once every, I know like once uh, every week or two weeks, whatever makes sense and be like, okay, do I need to adjust myself a little bit sooner than later or not. So that self-management piece I think is important.

Jim: That's such an important topic and I thank you for sharing that. Let's switch it a minute to go into leading others and I'd love to hear your input on leading others and some of the value you can give on that aspect and some of the, like getting feedback and, you know, expectations of your team and you know, going down that.

Elena: Sure. Something I've learned myself and also, just working with other leaders in my role as kind of the talent development, is that recently, especially with kind of new generations coming in, there's been a big shift in the way we operate business in general, and there's just, you know, you have to be mindful, number one about generational differences because it will change the way you lead, so that's just the most recent kind of lesson, because I started to realize that less and less I relate to the new generations coming in and I have to learn how to relate to them. And to recognize that what they want is very different from how I operate, how my business partner operates, how leadership, companies I work with operate. And I think that's a very important, kind of awareness because, when you're just managing people, it's very difficult, and it's not for everybody, it's difficult. I mean, you have to deal with so many different things and you have to understand everybody's kind of individual goals and et cetera. But at the same time, you have to care about your business and you have to push. So it's like how much do you push? How much you lenient? So it's to try to find that balance. And the best way to find that balance is to get to know your people, to meet, to get to know the people that you're working with, and spending that time with them and for them to get to know you, I think the best thing you can do as a leader, is find out what is, what drives that person and how can you align their personal goals that they care about with your, business goals and marry them together. I actually learned a lot from, an ex-boss of mine who was just a great leader. And what I loved about her is that she was, and I like, literally, like I try, I aspire to find that balance and it's very difficult. She was very able to have this relationship with everybody in the company where she, you felt like she's your friend, but also she reminded you, she's your boss in a very respectful way, and she was able to help you grow within the company, but also gave you space to do what you wanna do. And she was able to balance it like 95% of the time, and there was 5% of the time where she was just like, you know, she was just the boss and she had to be the boss. But 95% of the time, she was really able to balance both, and I admire that. And as I kind of went through my own experiences, it's not easy. So I think that's, you know, finding that balance, but if you were to have like a steps number one is, understanding who's working for you, get to know them on that personal level. Nobody's saying you need to be friends with people, but understanding what drives them, because what drives one person is not necessarily what drives the other person. And also a lot of people don't really know, especially if you're working with a lot of younger generations, they don't really know what they're good at, and it's your job as a manager to help them figure that out and to feed that and to be very patient because they need time to experiment. I don't have kids right now, somebody told me that it's like parenting. It's almost like, let's say if you, as a parent of those of you listening that are parents, you know, as a parent, if your child doesn't succeed in some something, you are going to try everything you possibly can to help them or try something else, you're gonna keep trying different things. And what I've seen with businesses is oftentimes we just kind of disconnect with the person if they're if they failed or if they didn't perform at the level. But if you just look at it as kind of like, you know, a parent and say, okay, well this didn't work with this person, right, but let me try to help, let me try other things that can help them. So not giving up too quickly, and I kind of like that approach, it's like, well that kind of makes sense. I mean, you are a parent, so may, maybe you can tell me if that makes sense, you know?

Jim: Totally makes sense.

Elena: But just to not let them, you know, even if they fail, like it's not like you're gonna write off your kid. So same thing with your employees, right? Like, you know, that's your team, so you have to take care of them as well, and they'll ultimately, and that's how you earn trust and respect and, and et cetera. So anyway, so I'll, I'll pause here, but that's kind of a, I would say starting with that, get to know people on an individual level, understand their values, like what keeps them up at night and also what wakes them up excited in the morning.

Jim: I love that and it, you know, it goes back to a lot of what I teach on and try to help businesses with is branding. And I feel like if you can have a very good understanding of your own personal identity going into starting your brand, and then you can have a very good understanding of your brand identity and who you want to be as a brand and your values, and you can bring the people into your organization that fit that, then it's about finding that mix of the person that fits within your organization. And to your point, once you get to know them and truly understand their strengths and weaknesses, putting them in that right position to succeed.

Elena: Yeah, absolutely. And also there's also a nice balance of pushing people. So, I've had this conversation recently actually, so there's been a lot of, talk about, you know, engagement and the companies and all those things. And I think you have to be very clear about expectations as well. So that's another thing is having, not assuming that people know. So having expectations and keeping people accountable for their own sake. And this is where that little push and encouragement comes in, where you help them get out of a comfort zone in a way that makes sense for them. And that goes back to my conversation of you need to get to know them and know which person to push more versus another. So you're gonna quickly recognize which person is just like, comfortable where they are, and maybe all they need from you is to do X, Y, and Z. But then there's gonna be those high performers and how do you engage those? And setting expectations, and they're gonna be different from for each one. And you're gonna keep everybody accountable. I think being very clear, I think a lot of times it's not clear like, what do we want? What are the results we want? And I think it's important. I think that we, we've kind of gotten a little softer on that. in organizations, it's almost like, well, you know, just do your best, no, no, like, this is what I would like, this is or this is the project, get your team together, how do you guys see this playing out? So almost getting them to buy into the project first, making sure they take ownership and keeping them accountable for that. So letting them come up with those ideas, et cetera. But then there's gonna be times where you, it's not the place to come up with ideas. There's sometimes you just need to execute. So also having that balance is important. And again, keeping them accountable, clear deadlines, clear expectations, and at the same time, providing them support and resources they may need to, to achieve that particular goal. So your job as a manager is to remove obstacles, you know, open doors, create opportunities, et cetera. Like that's your job as a manager. So I always say like, if your team has failed, and it's not even my thought, actually, I heard this some somewhere many years ago, but they say if your team has failed you, you failed, it's not the team, it's not the, it's not the employee. Somewhere you probably could have done better as their people manager. And I think that self-awareness, that keeping it real with yourself is very important as well, for effectiveness for business growth meant just many things in general.

Jim: I love that. And you know something too, I'd love to hear from your input is, is the feedback part, like you, you know, you have the one-on-ones, you are helping them, but what about as leaders, we need to hear what we're doing too. And, so I'd love to hear you talk on that for a little.

Elena: Sure, so something we've done in the past, so I was, one of my roles, I was kind of running this young talent program and it was a three month program, with a cohort. And the first month, you know, we give this survey, so I'll talk a little bit about kind of this informal survey, but we, did like an anonymous survey, you know, and they would give feedback, so they, they feel comfortable giving feedback about the program, about, about the structure and myself, and it was great, and then, three, they were just emailing feedback, oh, you could do this better, you could do this, and they would just directly tell me like, you know, I think this is better or maybe, you know, et cetera. And the point I'm trying to make is that I've built a relationship with this cohort along with a technical mentor that was on part of this, that together, him and I built this relationship with this cohort where they were open to giving us feedback. And that came from us having check-ins with them, individual check-ins, giving, asking them for feedback continuously as well as giving them feedback and being very honest and building that trust throughout this three months program to where by the end of the program they were willing to, they're putting their names and they were happy to give us the good, the bad, and the ugly, you know, and I think that's important in terms of creating that safe space where people can truly, give that feedback. And the way you do it, if you wanna put it practically, is having that transparent communication. So if things are bad at the company or if you're not sure what's gonna be transparent with people. I think the worst thing is when you start like hiding things, and I get it depends on the size of your organization and et cetera, like I understand, there's certain things you might wanna protect your people from, but they feel it. So, you know, like you have to be transparent, like tell them the reality of like what's happening, I think that's important. I think if people know that you care, again, having those check-ins and showing that you care, like actions that show that you care, values that you preach, that you are actually practicing, I think that matters. The fact that, you know, people don't feel like they're just a number that matters, creating that flexible work environment matters, right? So again, also keeping them mind generations like with new generations, that's what they want. They want to be part of it, they want to be involved. So I lost my track of thought, another point. But I think, yeah, so feedback is essential. I think also having, I always say having external coaches even is also helpful for you as a leader being open to that. So you get it internal feedback, but sometimes we don't know what to do with that feedback. So I think having, working with a mentor or an external coach who can then help you do something with that feedback because we don't know what we don't know, and I think just realizing that you don't have to have the answers, but having like a little board of advisors in your own personal life, like your professional life and business life to kind of help you.

Jim: And that's something I recently, I've started to get into is, you know, masterclass and groups of other CEOs and owners and, you know, talking about problems and you are 100% correct that getting feedback from your peers on situations that are going on, I think is such an important part of being a leader.

Elena: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's just, I always say, and I say this all the time with anybody who's working with us or any program that I'm running is feedback is of privilege, and I truly take it, it's a privilege, that's that you when I speak to them, like you give me feedback, you know? And of course another thing is once you receive that feedback, applying it and taking, course correction where, where it makes sense. I think it's essential to say, okay, I heard you and this is what I'm doing, and actually showing that. And that's how you build trust, that's how you build that relationship, and I think that's all it is, I think feedback is just about trust. So if people know that they're not gonna be scolded for it and et cetera, and if they get to know you on that, slightly personal level, I think that's where the magic is at. At least that's what worked, in my case and many other peoples that I've spoken or spoken with.

Jim: So a reoccurring theme here to our, this episode. I keep hearing you say, like, as leaders, we need to put in the time to personally know and understand everybody that comes through our organization.

Elena: Right. And again, if somebody's listening to say, well, I don't have time for that , I have X number of people, right? So depending what kind of the structure of your organization, you know, obviously, if you are pr let's, even if you're a large organization, and if you have, I don't know, hundreds of people, you still have kind of direct reports and managers. And it's your job to project that, those values from the top down, because then they will do to their people. And then, so it's kind of goes all the way. So it's not like you need to meet everybody in the company. It's just like people that are directly working with you because they're the most impacted by you and they're learning from you. So they're looking at you at how you lead, and then they're gonna be projecting that down in most cases. But anyway, so it depends on the structure of your company. I think it, and again, it doesn't have to, I always, I want people to think of like micro, like what is a one small thing I can do every week to connect with my team, right? Or something that we've done in one of the companies, for example, is they have, check-ins. So every couple of weeks they have these informal check-ins with like, each manager will have informal check-ins with their team, and just to, just to touch base, right? And it's not magic, it's not gonna, it's not like all of a sudden you, once you do once or twice, people are just gonna be vulnerable with you, and they're gonna open up and they're gonna be all, no, it takes time. It takes time, it takes, it depends on how often you do this and the relationships that existed before, et cetera. It takes time, but it does work having regular check-ins. So the question is like, how can you create those regular check-ins or having just five minutes in the beginning of each call, like that's a big practice right now, like just as simple as five minutes in the beginning of a team call to talk about something aside from work, like to just give people a mental break and you can be the lead on this and say, you know, like, gosh, this is what I did this weekend. And it doesn't have to be, you know, just something fun. Again, like depending on your team and environment, et cetera. But, find micro actions, you can do that work for your team, there's definitely something there's definitely something you can do.

Jim: I actually love it, absolutely, love it. Unfortunately, I think you and I could talk about this all day and I'd love to hear more, unfortunately, the time is coming to an end. So, before we go though, I have two questions and number one or two things I wanna talk about. Number one, I want, if you can let everybody know where they can find you. I'd like to, for people to be able to follow up with you and communicate after this show.

Elena: Sure. So LinkedIn is the best platform. LinkedIn has all my links on my website, so I keep it simple. If you don't have LinkedIn, you can just put my name into Google and it's probably gonna pop up a few websites from the beginning. So, you know, I'm pretty easy to find, I don't know if it's good or bad these days, but, so just p plug in my name and you'll probably, I'm the only Elena Agaragimova that I know of in most of the world. So it's a unique last name, luckily.

Jim: Awesome. And I'll have links in the show notes as well. So, Remote Start Nation, you'll be able to find her that way. The last question I wanna ask, and you know, we've talked about a lot of very important information that I think can help today with if we put into action. But what's one thing, what's the one takeaway that if someone's listening to this episode right now, that you want them to know about leadership and what's so important about it?

Elena: I'll go back to Audit your habits. Audit your Sleeping, eating, and movement, that's the base. I recently wrote an article about this. I said, going back to basics, we spent so much time trying to figure out how we can do X, Y, and Z and usually these like drastic things that we think is going to completely transform our lives. I think that going back to basics and checking that and from my experience, a lot of people could do better in these three areas or one of these areas, or all three, et cetera. So I think just checking on your energy level, you know, like you, you're sleeping, your fitness and what you're putting into your body. And it doesn't have to be expensive, it can be, you know, that's another misconception that people have, they think eating healthy is expensive or you have to sign up for this fancy gym. There's plenty of YouTube videos, you can just do your own thing at home. So it doesn't have to be extreme. So auditing your habits, that's a base, your health is the base of everything that you do as an entrepreneur, and then if that's checked, then next one is, where can I create space to get to know my team in micro levels at my company.

Jim: I love it. Elena, thank you so much for joining us today.

Elena: Thank you, it's been great.

Jim: Well, Remote Start Nation, I hope you learned as much as I did today and can put some of the value that Elena shared with us to work for you from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for joining me on this journey as I help you to start your business, grow your brand, and create your desired lifestyle.

So remember, leave a comment, subscribe and share this episode with your community who you think can learn from what you heard today. Until next time, go start something, start today and go build the lifestyle you desire by taking action.

Jim DoyonProfile Photo

Jim Doyon


My name is Jim Doyon. I'm a father to three awesome kids, husband to an incredible wife and the oldest sibling to a large split family.I'm currently on a mission and I can't wait to share with you. We sold our house back in 2020, and we've been traveling this beautiful country in a 42-foot Travel trailer ever since. We visited 34 states, and are about to embark on our second loop around the country, stopping at some of our favorite spots again, but also getting to see new areas that the US has to offer.We are trying to experience this life to its fullest spending quality time together. I'm running a business and building brands along the road. We've been fortunate enough on this journey to meet new friends, catch up with old friends and family on many of our stops. We love exploring each City from downtown's to the natural resources it has to offer. I'm passionate about mountain biking and it's not only in my way to get out and explore but to exercise, clear my head, think, and strategize.

Elena AgaragimovaProfile Photo

Elena Agaragimova

Talent Development

I am very passionate about one thing: Talent.

I started my career in higher education, having worked across various institutions, departments and regions. After a few years I decided to expand my reach to adult learners & decided to shift towards corporations - working with them to create learning journeys, build effective talent acquisition pipelines, and develop talent development programs.

In my current role, I am working with a tech consulting firm where I lead on talent acquisition for one of the practices, design and implement a learning and development strategy to help bring on board tech talent, as well as design career paths and growth opportunities for their employees.

I have a strong interest in how we can use science - particular behavioral and neurosciences - to help people learn effectively, expand their mindset and overall grow personally and professionally. I am currently studying in a Cognitive Neuroscience Graduate Program to further develop in this field.

As an entrepreneur – I co-founded a tech education platform that prepares youth for the future – Bloom Youth and Bessern – tech solution for productivity and well-being in organizations.

When I am not leading talent transformation, I volunteer my time to help young students with their career development goals, as well as military veterans looking to make career transition to corporate jobs.