How Luc Levesque Leads TravelPod & TripAdvisor to Focus on Being the Best

Transparent communication is a theme running through Luc Levesque’s career, from his 1997 founding of Travelpod, the first travel blogging website where people could share their adventures, to his current practice of handing new employees a boss blueprint.  Luc is currently a General Manager at TripAdvisor, responsible for its global SEO efforts and TravelPod’s business unit. We talked with Luc about how he communicates with his team and how frequent feedback is vital to great performance.

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Though his team is distributed in Boston and Calgary, Luc heard about iDoneThis from his friend Tobi Lütke, co-founder of Shopify, right across the street in Ottawa. “iDoneThis certainly helps with the fact that we’re remote. Getting those updates daily, I can quickly scan through and see what’s going on day-to-day,” describes Luc. “What I really like is that it avoids the inevitable ‘hey, what are you working on?’ and having to go by everyone’s desk constantly. Actually, with remote teams I can’t do that, but I don’t feel like I need to because I just see their work.”

The ease of using iDoneThis is key for Luc and his employees. “Being able to click reply on the email and send off a few bullet points is the most important part.” He adds, “The other value is in the self-reflective nature of it, that you’re sitting back and thinking, ‘okay, what did I do today, and did it drive towards our goals?’ It’s a really nice piece of the way we do things, and I would definitely recommend it to others.”

Even with transparency as a priority, iDoneThis gives Luc a new communication channel, allowing information to permeate effortlessly. “If I want to share something with the team,” he explains, “and it’s not really worth an email or phone call or a meeting, I can put it in my update so that they can passively absorb what’s going on and be closer in tune with some of the changes that happen quite often.”

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Keeping in touch using iDoneThis suits Luc’s management style of facilitating progress while giving his team breathing room to operate. “I frankly give people more freedom in terms of not having to talk to me everyday,” he says. “They can run their things and execute towards their goals. If I see there’s something that’s not being worked on, we can sync up better.”

Recently Luc instituted a new feedback process, an informal but structured monthly review that folds into TripAdvisor’s formal mid-year and yearly reviews. Every month, Luc sits down with individuals to go over goals they have shared in a Google document. “iDoneThis fits in well, where we have it as the daily touch-base. The monthly is the rollup, and that rolls up into the midyear and the end-of-year. It’s a nice progression [and] then the midyear and end-of-year are extremely easy because they have basically already been written.”

The monthly review idea was something that Luc’s business coach had been suggesting for years, but as with any habit change or new management process, required some thought and impetus to implement. After chatting with an employee who was disappointed after his mid-year because he felt he hadn’t been able to capture all his achievements, Luc decided to try monthly reviews to help people track their work better. “It gives people the opportunity to capture specific things they did against their goals,” he explains, including amazing accomplishments that people forget to record.

Monthly check-ins also take the anxiety and ceremony out of formal reviews. It’s easier to give more frequent feedback and have real conversations, especially about things that didn’t go well, without the fuss and drama. “I don’t ever want to run a team differently ever again because it’s what we should be doing as leaders anyways,” Luc declares.

We should be talking on a regular basis with teams, but we’re busy. But when you have that monthly, and it’s structured, you’re literally walking through the goals. It forces you through the process, and it’s very lightweight. Sometimes it’ll take five, ten minutes. It’s not a ‘hey, how you doing?’ random chat. It’s focused on being the best.”

Luc’s team has consistently garnered the highest ratings within Expedia and TripAdvisor. We’re so excited to be helping Luc and his team continue to focus on being the best!