Momentum Podcast: 158
People As Process Will Stop You
by Alex Charfen
Last week, I had massive, overwhelming anxiety. Here's why, I was sick. I was actually sick from before the 1st of July, until about Saturday or Sunday, so over seven days.
As entrepreneurs, when we start our business the vast majority of us have to do everything. Let's be honest, we are the only ones there and if we don't do it it won't get done. As we move forward and grow our business, we may soon find people who can take tasks off our hands.
We contract people to take small parts of our process and do them for us. This offloading of tasks and items will help you grow your business and scale… to a point. When you grow enough, having people do things for you won't be enough.
Eventually you will need other people on your team who are capable of chasing down outcomes and getting results. Far too many entrepreneurs today are trying to build businesses with people as process, this is why so many of them are failing to grow.
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 lose 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.
People as process will stop you. For most entrepreneurs, we started our business by ourselves. Most of us started our businesses by ourselves. We started doing something, we started working at something, and did everything. We did every single part of the business to move it forward and if you didn't start by yourself, maybe you started with your husband or your wife or you had a partner or someone who was working with you, you still did most everything in the business and so what we do, from doing everything, in order to grow that business, we have to start figuring out how to offload pieces of what we do. One of the things I actually coach people to do, tell people to do, is to rather than start trying to hire people, when you're at the point where your business is growing to where you've gotten that initial momentum going, and now you need some help, you don't have enough time, you could be doing more, you could be making more, you start outsourcing pieces of what you do to people or to companies or to whatever you can.
Maybe you need to get the right type of software to make you more efficient, or maybe you need to find a outsource executive assistant, or you need someone to come in and help you lead generate or build funnels or what is it that your business needs next, and you can find people to work and give you those things. In fact, you can even build a business to where you can cover the things that you need by using people as part of your process, right? You put them in. You can get a contractor for a couple of hours a month to do different things, different contractors, and you can build an entire company that way, but here's a challenge for every one of us. There is a limit to the growth of people exclusively as process. There is a limit to how big your company will get. There is a limit to how much you can do. There's a limit to where you will actually end up because when you're using people exclusively as process, when you don't have people who are fully bought in and members of your team, you are the only one who is driving that business forward. Everyone else is just doing what you told them to do, and so you can't make the shift from transactional management to transformational leadership because you have literally built a business where all you're doing is transactional management.
At the beginning, this is okay, but one of the challenges I've ran into a lot lately is that there's a lot of entrepreneurs out there who have built a decent company, something that's bigger than most, so somewhere 200, 300, 400 thousand. Some have even gotten close to a million, or even a little bit over a million. I've even met a couple that have gotten to two, two and a half, and they think they can keep going without hiring a team, and I'm not saying you have to hire hundreds of people. I've met people that have ten million dollar companies with only four or five people on a team, but they at least have the four or five people on the team and then the rest of them are [inaudible 00:04:23] and again, here's why.
If you don't have anyone else on the team who is working with you, you can't shift into transformational leadership, which is giving someone else a clear outcome, coaching their success along the way, and then getting a leverage result. So you go from the three steps of transactional management, which is telling someone what to do, checking it was done, and telling them what to do again which is when you use people as process, that's exactly what you're doing. You transition to giving people on the team, the ones who are committed to, the true believers that you hire, the people who want to help your business, who want to help your clients, who want the outcomes you want, you're going to give them clear outcomes, and tell them what you want. Show them what is it, that forward looking plan, and tell them what it is in the business you want and what is the outcome. Then you're going to personally, leadership is a contact sport, you're going to coach their success along the way.
If you do it within a system and a framework there's not pain, it feels like momentum, and then you get leverage results. And that is when your business can go to multiple millions. Because if you don't have anyone else around you who is helping you, you're going to get stuck in place.
Now, are there exceptions? Yes. There are. There are, and they are very well-known, and they do incredibly well and they don't have teams, and there's some people out there like, Mike Dillard's a friend of mine. Mike was making seven, eight, somewhere around that, million dollars a year with one hundred percent contracted help, but Mike is like, Mike Dillard. You're not going to probably be Mike Dillard. There's one of him, I know him well, and he's one of the most unique, genius people I've ever met and the last time I was hanging out with him he was in the process of building a team because he realized he was butting up against even his ceiling.
Because here's the difference between every business out there that builds a team and the ones, those of you who are resistant to going out and hiring people, and to learning how to lead them, and to learning how to get them to help go in the direction is that every other business that has a team, that can give their team outcomes is ahead of you.
Because it's you against multiple people, and you know what? I know you're good, but I don't care who you are, I'll beat you with a team. It doesn't matter who I'm competing against. If that person is resistant to building a team, I know we will roll right over them.
Cadey and I were in the real estate industry and we sold a product that showed real estate agents how to help homeowners in foreclosure. When we first released that product, we had about 60 competitors, I know, because I had them all in a matrix, I wanted to understand what I was dealing with. Two years later, when we had sold about 18 thousand of that product, we had about 30 competitors. When everything was said and done we sold 50,000 units of our product, where most, if you took every one of our competitors and combined their memberships, or combined their sales, they probably wouldn't have reached ours, and what is the real difference? The real difference is, I built a team. We had an entire tribe of people in Austin who were driving our product forward, who were helping us sell a product, who were finding opportunities for it, who were helping us build relationships, who were chasing down other opportunities, because you know what? In every single business I've ever seen, there's more than one person worth of opportunity and until you have more than you chasing that opportunity, you are the biggest limitation your business has.
If you're gonna carry around a limitation about building a team and you are committed to using people exclusively as process, I want you to understand something. You may be able to do better than most, you may be able to even get into the crazy land like Mike Dillard. Like what he did is extraordinary. It just shows you how amazing Mike is to get to the numbers he did without a team. Totally independent. You might be able to get there but even then, you're going to bump into a ceiling.
Here's an even more important reason why people as process will stop you. As entrepreneurs, there are nine base level questions that drive our growth. It starts with how do I stop pressure and noise. You can go back to the episode that I did on these questions so you can go through them, and I'll go through them in detail. It starts with how do I stop pressure and noise. People like us experience more. We feel more pressure and noise. When we are smaller, it's probably preverbal the first time you thought this. Then we move onto what is wrong with me. Most of us come to the realization we're different than the rest of the world very young. We ask, "What's wrong with me? Why am I so different?" Then that difference drives us to ask the question how do I get ahead. Then we even ask how do I get further ahead and it's in that time where so many entrepreneurs have kind of a shaky background.
I know a lot of people who don't deny their how do I get ahead period but don't want their kids to find out about it. If you drive far enough into how do I get ahead and if you start as an entrepreneur and you're asking that question, you naturally have to ask the question how does my team get me ahead. When you use people as process, that's exactly what you're doing. You're saying, how do you help me get ahead.
There's this elegant transition that happens in the life of an entrepreneur when we build a team and we go past this question which usually happens right around a million dollars. We start asking the question, not how does my team get me ahead, but how does my team get ahead? Because we recognize that no longer are we limited by our own success. We now have the opportunity to experience the benefits of multiple people's success and we ask this question how does my team get ahead and it drives us to become transformational leaders, to learn how to communicate better with people, to show up in a different way, to be more consistent, to be the type of person that is worthy of running the company that you know you should have.
It happens from taking the focus off yourself and learning how to help the people most proximal to you succeed. Because then you can switch to the question, how does my team get further ahead and you learn how to lead at an even higher transformational level and you'll understand how to build a second tier of leadership and you'll see that what you've always known you are capable of is coming alive before your very eyes due to the efforts of those around you who you have brought in, who believe in you, who believe in your clients, who believe in what you do. That experience changes entrepreneurs so dramatically that we can look at the lives of entrepreneurs throughout history and when they ask that question how does my team get even further ahead, the next natural question, because we've been reflected so much back by our teams, and they've shown us what we are capable of, and they've reflected back to us where our strengths and our challenges are, that we feel like we need to turn around and start helping everyone and the next question is, how do we help others get ahead and the ninth question is how do we help everyone?
If you look at wildly successful entrepreneurs throughout history, they went through those questions. Bill Gates was not a popular kid in school. He was Bill Gates. The challenges he had in managing and leading people are legendary. He yelled and screamed. Gates was the CEO of Microsoft. He started the company when he was in his teens. He had a ridiculous temper, he was mean to people. At one point he was being sued by all around the world by 30 states in the United States and by attorney generals all around the world and Gates was like public enemy number one and he went through these transitions. He was one of those people who did way more than you should be capable of without ever asking how does my team get ahead, but then there was finally a time at Microsoft where it hit a groan. He started coaching the executives around him, working with people who might replace him as CEO, realizing that he was making a massive transition. The growth of the company exploded when he started actually working at a different level with the people around him and he asked that question, how does my team get ahead? Then he started really leaning into his team and the people around him and the executives and how he was coaching and mentoring people and leaving behind directions on how to run his organization because he was asking how does my team get even further ahead?
Then he started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the question, how do we help others get ahead and when you look at what their goals are, it's pretty much to eradicate poverty, eradicate illiteracy and help people around the world get ahead. No one ever would have thought in Gates' early career while he was being sued for antitrust and corruption and monopolies and all kinds of other things that he would ever end up being the benefactor going out and trying to save the world but he is. I believe he got there because he didn't stop at people as process. He created enough of an opportunity that he had to build a team. If you believe in what you're doing and you believe in where you're going, use people as process to get yourself to the level where you can start hiring that team around you, that you can lead transformationally because I tell entrepreneurs this all the time, when you learn to lead your team transformationally, you will transform the lives of the people around you, but the person who will grow the most will be you.
Don't stop at people as process because it will hold you in place. If you're an entrepreneur who's ready to build a team or you've started to and your business is approaching a million dollar run rate which is $83,000.00 a month, reach out to us. If you're ready to build the infrastructure and the world-class team around you that will help you take advantage of the opportunity you've created, you and I should talk because I know you're tired of leaving money on the table, knowing you could do more, letting the clients that you aren't serving down and knowing that there's more people out there you could be helping. Let me help you fix that.