Momentum Podcast: 139
Know Your Team, Or Else
by Alex Charfen
Last week, I was teaching one of our events and I had the question from a CEO, “How personally involved should you be in your team? How much should you know about your team members?” And he said, “You know, for me, I just kind of try and stay out of their personal lives. I don't really want to know a lot about what's going on.” And I had to pause for a second so that I would answer the question in the right way. And I said, “On your executive team, you want to know what's going on with people, you personally as a CEO. Those who are most proximal to you, you want to know what's happening with them, what's going on in their lives, what do they want, what are they achieving, where are their struggles, because you have the same exposure they do. If there's something wrong in their lives, then your business is going to experience that.”
Most entrepreneurs avoid trying to understand what is going on in their team’s lives. It seems easier if we just don't get involved and the less we know the better. After all if we find out something is going on, won't they want us to help? Expect special treatment?
If we don't know what is going on in our teams lives, we are constantly exposed. I have always understood every executive I have had on a personal basis. And someone has understood where everyone in my organization is on a personal basis.
This way when someone had something going on, we were aware of it. We could plan around it. Sit down with them them and help them with perspectives. And make sure that they didn't miss in a way that effected our clients.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum podcast. Made for empire-builders, game-changers, trail-blazers, shot-takers, record-breakers, world-makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure we pay attention to their rules but only so that we can bend them, break them, then re-write them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop. And we don't know how.
While the rest of the world thrives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly, the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
Know your team, or else.
Last week, I was teaching one of our events and I had the question from a CEO, "How personally involved should you be in your team? How much should you know about your team members?" And he said, "You know, for me, I just kind of try and stay out of their personal lives. I don't really want to know a lot about what's going on." And I had to pause for a second so that I would answer the question in the right way. And I said, "On your executive team, you want to know what's going on with people, you personally as a CEO. Those who are most proximal to you, you want to know what's happening with them, what's going on in their lives, what do they want, what are they achieving, where are their struggles, because you have the same exposure they do. If there's something wrong in their lives, then your business is going to experience that."
And then I went on to say, "For every person in your company, someone should know what's going on with them." Because when we don't know what's happening with our people, when we don't understand what's happening with our team, we leave ourselves and our company fully exposed.
I'll share with you a story that actually happened to Cadey and I, in the past couple of weeks. We finally decided that we wanted to have a tank-less water heater put into our master bedroom. We have a huge bath and a huge shower that we remodeled years ago, I don't remember how many, three or four years ago. We built this beautiful shower with six shower heads and it's a steam shower so you turn the steam on, it gets all steam ... it's incredible. Then we put in this massive bathtub with jacuzzi jets, just beautiful, such an incredible bathroom; it's a bathroom of my dreams. We remodeled our master bedroom and bathroom and as we were doing it, I had the recognition that my original first condo that I ever had in Irvine, California, would fit in my master bedroom suite. So, it's a nice place.
But it had this fatal flaw. When you turned on all six shower jets or when you tried to fill in the jacuzzi tub, the tub would get about a third of the way full, and then the water would be cold. When you turned on the shower with all six jets, it lasted about three minutes. So we had this incredible shower and incredible tub that you really couldn't use. And so, after years of dealing with it and I know, serious First World problems, right? But, it is what it is. It's about the story, not about me being whiny. After years of putting up with this, we decided we were going to fix it.
So, I brought in, just like I do for everything else, three different plumbing companies. We went with the best estimate. I also went with not the cheapest one. I actually chose the one where I felt like there was the best process, where I felt like there was a higher level of trust in what they told me they were going to do, where I believed what they said they were going to do. The sales process for this company was solid. I mean, it was really good. They told me exactly what was happening. They were much clearer than the other companies. They did a much better job, so I hired them.
Almost immediately, it felt like I made the wrong decision. First they committed to being here at a certain time, they were a couple hours late. They told me the job was going to take one day, maybe two. It took over three. There was four things I wanted done in my house, they only installed the tank-less water heater, didn't do any of the other three things and communicated nothing to me. There was people in and out of my house all day without any warning, any messaging, any scheduling. It was like we were supposed to just be here for as long as they needed us to be here until they were done. And they're still not done, and it was a week ago.
I felt like every time they told me something, they were lying to me. I felt totally taken advantage of as a client. I was telling the guy here, "Hey, what is going on? Why is it taking so long? What's happening?" Until finally, I called him over the weekend and unloaded and said, "Hey, I'm not just frustrated, at this point, I'm angry that you guys aren't doing what you said you were going to do. We paid you over $10,000 and you haven't done the work that you said that you were going to do. You came in, said one thing, did something completely different as far as scheduling and who was going to be in and out of my house. And here I am, a week later, I was supposed to done. The payment's supposed to be over and you haven't done the work you said you were going to do. This is ridiculous."
The person I talked to told me he was going to have a supervisor call me back. This is the guy that I was dealing with through the entire process. So I waited and I finally got a call from a supervisor. The supervisor let me explain what had happened. So, I calmly, probably not so calmly, explained to him very directly, exactly what happened. And he said, "Yeah, well, I just want to let you know, that technician had one of his closest friends die over the weekend." And I was like, "Wha ... ? He had one of his friends die over the weekend? Well, that could explain why he showed up and convinced me to buy from you but didn't follow through."
At that point, I just let the guy finish talking and I'm waiting for them to call me today with a resolution. I know I have leadership involved and they're going to eventually take care of it. But what a colossal mistake!
Here's a company that was aware that someone's closest friend had died over the weekend. And they sent him right back into his position without any backup, without any help, without any adjustment, and kept their fingers crossed that it would work out. And as a result, they've ticked me off big time. They're lucky that I buy their story because I was ready to go on social media and tell everyone to stay the heck away from these guys; they're incredibly frustrating.
Why did that happen? Because no one was watching this kid who is in charge of getting people with multi-million dollar houses to make decisions. They have this issue with me now because instead of saying, "Hey, this guy's best friend just died. Let's put some protection and support around him, let's make sure we're checking in on him, let's sit down and talk with him and make sure he's okay. They did what so many businesses do when something like this happens. Send somebody right back out on the job and cross your fingers. That might work for you but it certainly does not work for me.
When I have someone on my team that's having a personal issue or a challenge or something is frustrating or having a hard time with something, I want to know. I want to be able to help that person. A few months ago, Justin on my team let me know that his son, Owen, had been having repeat ear infections over and over again. He was having challenges and it was bothering him. I was able to help him with some holistic ways to get rid of the ear infections. He hasn't had one since. I want my team telling me when something is going wrong. I want them to feel safe letting us know when they have a personal issue. I want them to let us know when something in their lives changes. It is going to affect their work because it affects all of us.
When I look at sports teams, which I have some limited experience with. I share with everyone I know nothing about sports. But I know about communication so I've done some limited consulting with sports teams. When you look at sports organizations, everybody tells you what's going on. If someone's hurt, if someone has a soreness, a sprain, an issue with how they're feeling, if they didn't get a good night's sleep, if they're sore, they're telling each other because when you go out onto a field like gladiators and line up against another team, you better know what's going on with the people around you.
And it better be clear that if the guy next to you has a hurt wrist or a hurt ankle or he's soft on one side or something's going on, you need to know you're picking up extra slack. And if you don't, your team's going to get annihilated. You're going to go out on the field and get crushed.
Well, what is the difference between a sports team and your team? What is the difference between gladiators on the field and gladiators in business out trying to build your future? To me, there's nothing. I want to know when something is happening to my team because I don't want the exposure of what's happening to them to come back and affect our organization.
And here's the biggest secret to this: every CEO feels like they should hide from what's happening with their people because they feel like it will get overwhelming, everyone's going to need help, it's going to get frustrating, it's not going to work. So instead, we would just rather not know and deal with the consequences. But heres what's so amazing. Most of the time, not some of the time, most of the time, all someone needs is for someone in your organization to hear them, to let them know what's going on for them, to let them know what they're challenged by.
I've had people let us know that they're having relationship issues, issues with their parents, they have to go home for Christmas and they're having a hard time with it. They're having to face something from their childhood and it's been really difficult. They're going into therapy, they're having trouble with their boyfriend, their girlfriend. They found out they were sick. All of those things are an opportunity to listen, provide support, show that you care, and then ask the person what they need as an accommodation. And most of the time, the people that I've had on my team, ask me for nothing.
We've had people that have needed to work out of their homes. Heres what I've found: when I let somebody work out of their house, they do more for us than when they were here. We've accommodated people in their work hours and their work schedules and they've done more for us than when they normally would. And the shocking thing is, it doesn't matter how big of an issue someone has had, rarely do we have to do anything other than listen, acknowledge, and then keep and eye on them. Because just us knowing, makes it easier for them to show up everyday and get what they need to get done.
So if you're building a team and you're growing it fast, and you intend to keep it growing, my sincere advice is to know your team. Understand them. If you're a CEO, you better know your entire executive team closely and what's going on with them, what's happening in their lives. And for everyone in your organization, someone should know what's going on with them because you have two choices. You either know your people, grow your people and take care of them, or you will consistently be exposed to everything that is happening with them.
If you're a CEO and you're trying to grow a business and build a team and are ready to take it to the next level, reach out to us. Our Grow and Scale Mastermind is stacked with dozens of companies that are out to change the world. So, if you are at or approaching a million dollar run rate and ready for more and want to eliminate the pain of building a team, the ambiguity of knowing what to do next, and understand exactly how to forward-plan your future so your team can get out in front of you, reach out to us.If you qualify, we'll jump on a call and see just how we can help you grow and scale your company to the next level.
Don't forget, when it comes to your team, know them, understand them, support them, and they will grow your future for you.