Momentum Podcast: 148
You Must Predict The Future
by Alex Charfen
At first this statement may sound crazy, but I want to qualify it for you what I mean by you must as an entrepreneur predict the future. In fact there comes a time in every entrepreneurs career, and the earlier you can do this the better. But in every one of our careers we have to do the following: Assemble some leverage, a team of some kind 'cause you can't do it all yourself. If you're gonna do something significant, you end up not being able to do it all yourself. And we assemble a team of some kind, provide them with an outcome, like, “Hey, here is what we're going to do.” Then co-creating a plan with them, and then coaching their success along the way, and getting them there. In effect by providing that plan at the beginning, when you get there you have now predicted the future. Does this make sense?
There comes a time in every entrepreneurs career where we must start to predict the future. This is not a metaphor, this is a reality. In order to be a successful entrepreneur you have to assemble a team and give them a clear outcome, provide the resources and plan to get there, and coach their success along on the way. By achieving the outcome you've created, you have now predicted the future. The more you predict the future, the more your team will trust you. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs do the opposite of predicting the future. They instead teach their team how to lose gracefully and challenge trust as a leader. There is an easier way, pull the target closer and predict the future.
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 rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives 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.
You must predict the future. At first this statement may sound crazy, but I want to qualify it for you what I mean by you must as an entrepreneur predict the future. In fact there comes a time in every entrepreneurs career, and the earlier you can do this the better. But in every one of our careers we have to do the following: Assemble some leverage, a team of some kind 'cause you can't do it all yourself. If you're gonna do something significant, you end up not being able to do it all yourself. And we assemble a team of some kind, provide them with an outcome, like, "Hey, here is what we're going to do." Then co-creating a plan with them, and then coaching their success along the way, and getting them there. In effect by providing that plan at the beginning, when you get there you have now predicted the future. Does this make sense?
And here is what happens when a team has a leader that they believe can predict the future. They believe in that leader at a much higher level, and you can start predicting much more intense, and much bigger futures. In fact, you start seeing what your team is really capable of when they're winning consistently. But here is the problem, this is the opposite of what you've been taught, and what you believe, and what almost every entrepreneur I've ever worked with does in practice.
Instead what happens is, entrepreneurs have been told they need to come up with a BHAG, or a vivid vision, or some massive thing that they should tell their team about. And it can be ... Like a lot of the time it's a dream, it's an idea, it's a hope. It's something we want. But the problem is that tendency to chase dreams carries over into our financial predictions, into our goal setting, into our outcomes that we have with our team, and what we constantly do is we ask our team to chase a dream because someone has told us we have to make our goals big enough to scare us.
The problem is the team misses, or misses repeatedly, where you now have to start teaching your team to lose gracefully. You have to come in, and each month that you have .... You know, you're doing a million dollars in a business, and you set a goal that you're gonna do ten million in the subsequent year. I can't tell you how many times I've seen exactly that scenario. Exactly that scenario. One million to ten million, and the number of businesses I've ever seen do it, there has been a couple. There has been a couple. I mean, I've seen hundreds, possibly over a thousand businesses up close and personal, and there has been a couple, and they were freaks of nature.
And so here is what happens when you chase that ... You know, you tell your team you're gonna go from a million to ten million. The first month that you come in, and you don't hit $166,000 in revenue, you have to tell your team, "Hey guys, it's okay. We're gonna get it. We're gonna take one for the team. We're gonna work really hard. We're gonna make it up." And then the second month you have to anniversary two months of $166,000 in revenue, so it's whatever you missed in two months. You're doing ... Telling them again, and what they start to see you as is a graceful loser.
And here is the problem, when you miss or lose gracefully, you actually challenge your trust as a leader. You challenge your teams trust in your leadership, and if you think about it just logically, if you're the leader that continues to make massive predictions that don't really happen, then you're the person who well you can kind of trust, right? You can kind of say, "Well, they kind of were gonna do what they say they were gonna do. We're kind of gonna do what they say we should do. We should kind of work on it." I don't want to be a kind of leader. When my team commits to a set of outcomes, I want them to understand that not only are we committing to them, we're gonna go chase them down, and crush them.
I want my team accustomed to winning, and winning big, and doing it over, and over again. We want to crush the outcomes we set, so that our team learns that as a team the more we win together, the more we can do to win more together. And the more we win together, the better things get as we progress working together, and the more we are honest with each other, and communicate with each other, and tell each other what's really going on, the faster things go. When you come into your team, and you set a ten million goal, the first month you miss it, everyone on that team is hesitant to talk about revenue now. Everyone on that team is hesitant to talk about how much they're selling, how much you're doing because they don't want to bring up an uncomfortable subject.
You've now made revenue the most important driver of the success of your business, or one of the most. You've now made it uncomfortable, so profitability is the most important. But you know you've made revenue now a taboo subject because it's uncomfortable. They don't want to make you uncomfortable. They don't want to make each other comfortable because they're talking about a place where they're losing, and here is the thing for us all to remember as entrepreneurs, we like to fight from the back. We like to come up from behind. We like to overcome, to conquer, to be challenged, but our teams don't ever want to be in a position where they are losing, and when we put them there, we make them uncomfortable.
And so you must start to predict the future, which means you need to relearn how to set outcomes and goals. You need to start looking at, at least on your 30 day outcomes, whatever you're setting for the month, your team better be able to set their outcomes for the month, and crush them, and get everything done, so that you have another month where you can set your outcomes for a month, and do it again. And then as your company matures, you want to move that out to your 90 day targets. You want to do the exact same thing. But in your company, if you've been running your business without clear outcomes, without clear targets just go down to the week.
Start committing as a team, however small it is, what you're going to get done in a week, and everyone ... Have everyone get to where they're doing 90% or more every week, and see how much you can do. And then you can expand to the 30, to the 90. You know in some organizations, the ones that we really respect, the ones that we look at, and the ones that we're in awe of, and change entire industries, and have everyone's attention, it's amazing how far out they plan.
My cousin is a project manager at Apple, Eric Bauer. I mention him often, he's one of the smartest people I know. And he knows what he's going to be doing for the next few years. He already has deadlines that extend three years into the future, and as entrepreneurs we sometimes don't have deadlines anywhere in our business. And so when we start learning how to predict the future, and say where we're going, and have teams actually achieve. In the near term, we set up organizations that instinctively achieve ongoing, and keep going, and keep moving forward, and keep creating momentum.
Start looking at what is realistic for us to get done. What do I feel like we can get done, and get done well? What do I feel like we can get done, and have a small amount of time to test, and go through, and make sure that it was done right? What do I feel like we can get done without killing ourselves this week, so we can actually increase, and dial up the quality? And if we run out of work to do, we can always pull more in. But what do I think we can get done, and have a high confidence level that it will actually happen? Because your job as a CEO is to be able to predict the future, put the right people in the right places, so that the right things get done, with the right resources, so that, that future becomes real. And the more you do, the more your team will believe in you. The more your market will believe in you. The more your clients will believe in you. The more the people around you will believe in you. The easier it will be for you to think about yourself running a larger, and larger organization, and the easier it will be for you to take on the responsibility of leading more, and more people.
The first step is learning how to predict the future. Don't let anyone ever tell you, you can't. Because this is a skill that great companies, and great entrepreneurs have fine tuned to the point where they can predict the day they will launch a sports car off into orbit in a radically different designed rocket then there has ever been, and then land the boosters back like a candle facing the wrong direction. I mean, if you watch the videos it looks like it's not even real, like Elon Musk recently did. See, something like that. The Titan heavy that flew the Tesla Roadster into space, or by the way the Tesla Roadster. Neither of those happened without Musk predicting the future. But imagine how mature his system is. Imagine how far off into the future he is predicting today. As an entrepreneur, I know we have this tendency, this need, this drive to set outrageous, sometimes outlandish, sometimes bigger goals that gotta scare us. But I want you to just stop, and think about what is that really doing to your team?
You can have those goals, but when you go into your team, I want you to start being able to predict what will happen. Start opening that window of prediction, so that it's longer and longer for you. Start being able to hit with more and more accuracy what you're going to be doing in the next week, or the next 30 days, or the next quarter. And see just how much of it you can get done, and just how much or more you can get done. And as you start to predict the future, and your team sees you winning, and they recognize you as a leader that wins, as a leader that predicts the future, as a leader that says what they're going to do, and as a leader that builds trust. You will only see yourself be able to do more, accomplish more, create more, and show up in a way that gives more back to your team, and that's exactly what's going to grow your business.
You have to predict the future first. If you're running a team, if you're an entrepreneur who is on a team, if you're getting involved in business for the first time, or if you've been doing this for a while ... I think you should understand the concepts in my book, the Entrepreneurial Personality Type. Because most of the entrepreneurs I work with are in a tremendous amount of constraint, and pain, and sometimes all it takes is for us to understand a little bit more about ourselves with perspective, so that we can see sometimes the greatest pain we have, may be exactly where we have the most significant opportunity.
Go to FreeMomentumBook.com, and get yourself a copy of the Entrepreneurial Personality Type.