Momentum Podcast: 170
Three Conditions For Team Success
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.
Building a team isn’t easy, it can be frustrating and challenging. Because it involves people, it can be completely unpredictable at times. But as a CEO there is a way that you can make certain that every person on your team can be successful. There are 3 conditions for success…
Make sure you watch this episode to find out what these are and how they will help you as a CEO. They will help you eliminate the factors that create frustration such as hiring people that are not committed and don’t care as much as you. I have heard it many times before from Entrepreneurs that they are better off doing it all themselves but I can assure you there is a way to create a team that is on the same page as you are.
As a passionate Entrepreneur these conditions will dramatically increase your success rate in building a team that is in full momentum.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, 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're 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.
Three conditions for team success. Building a team isn't easy, I'll put it out there, I watch entrepreneurs build a team or build teams every day and in a lot of ways it's frustrating and challenging and there's a lot of random variables and because it involves people, it's completely and totally unpredictable sometimes. But there's a way as a CEO that you can make certain that every person on your team is in a position where they can be successful and I always have three conditions. When I talk to CEOs about their teams, when I coach my clients, I want you to have three conditions for success.
So number one, everyone on your team should be a true believer. This is a big one. Number two is you have to be confident that they are in the right position and that you have a high level of confidence they will be successful. And the third one is, they have to be utilized at about 105 percent. I know that's mathematically impossible and a silly thing to say, but I'll explain in just a second I'm gonna go through all three of these.
So first, let's start with true believer. I often share with entrepreneurs, if you hire true believers you will never have to motivate them, if you hire anyone else you will never be able to motivate them enough. Here's why. The most common complaint we have about the people that we hire is they're just not into it like I am, they just don't work as hard as I am, they're not as committed as I am, they're not as excited as I am about what we're doing and here's why.
Whenever I hear that, my first question to the CEO is, "well, do you hire true believers?" And if they ask, "what is that," then I know exactly what the issue is. Because if you're not hiring people who believe fully, and here's what a true believer is, I'm going to give you three ways to know that you have a true believer. It's funny I'm doing the three conditions podcast and here's three ways for true believer but it works.
First, a true believer believes in you and who you are. Second, your company and what you produce. And third, your clients and what they do and who they are. So if you find someone who believes in you, your company and your clients, somebody who's committed to the cause like you are, that is a true believer. And here's why we want to go out and hire them, because they will be committed to the cause, they're committed to what you're doing, they want the company to succeed. True believers will find ways to overcome obstacles, they'll figure things out, they'll make things happen. I know, I watch this every single day. My team blows me away with what they figure out.
They impress me all the time with how much they accomplish and achieve in a short period of time. And that's what happens when you hire true believers, they will impress you with the level of motivation they bring to the table. You won't have to motivate them.
The second condition that is truly, critically important is that you as a CEO have to be confident in every person on your team, that they're in the right position and they have a high likelihood of success. I want you to go through the mental math right now, think of the people on your team. Are they in the right position and in what they're doing do you feel like there is a high likelihood that they will be successful? Because here's what I want you to know, if you've admitted this to yourself or not you are betting on them being successful in order for you to be successful. Let that sink in.
So, if you don't think they're going to succeed in their position then you are moving forward in a condition where you are preconditioned to fail, and I can't tell you how often I talk to a CEO with five or six members of a team, and I'll ask, "are you confident that 100 percent of them are in the right position and will succeed?" And they'll say no. Well, if that's an issue in your company, that's a place to go focus on right now. Because if you have someone in your organization that you're not confident that they will succeed, I want you to understand something. If you have someone who's not succeeding and you don't do something about it, there's this little concept called sanctioned incompetence that will crush your entire company and this is one of the concepts we teach.
Sanctioned incompetence is when there's someone on your team who's not filling their position, who's not contributing like everyone else, who's not living up to the company standard, who's not living up to your core values, to how you run your culture in any way, and you don't do anything about it because here's what happens. When you have someone on your team who's not showing up like the rest of your team, and you don't do anything about it, you sanction that incompetence which in other words it means you're saying that that's okay. And what will happen is your team, that whole chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Here's why. You sanction incompetence, it will bring your entire team down because they'll look over and say, "oh, okay, well that's okay, I guess what I'm doing is okay, and if what that person's doing is acceptable, then I don't have to work as hard."
And if you sanction incompetence, you will infuriate true believers. Because remember they're there for the cause not necessarily just for you, they're there for the greater good, they're there for your outcome, they're there for the client centric mission that you have that's going to change the world, and when there's someone on the team who's not pulling their weight or doing everything they need to do or showing up in a way that makes them achieve like the way the rest of the team does, true believers will go bananas. They get driven crazy, they get frustrated and they act irritated. That one person can make your entire team look broken. So you have to pass the litmus test that everyone on your team is in a position where you have a very high level of confidence that they will succeed.
And then the third condition, and this is a big one, the third condition for team success is that everyone on your team is fully utilized, and I usually tell entrepreneurs that I want them to think about full utilization as about 105 percent of capacity because 100 percent capacity, we're never gonna just nail that, and here's what I've realized with working with top producing A players my whole career. And learning now in retrospect, how did a top producing A player act, how did they interact, how did they show up, how did they behave? Well here's what I can tell you about A players. If they're not 105 percent utilized, if they don't have everything that they need and then just a little bit more to stretch them, they will get uncomfortable.
A players actually get anxious when they're not 105 percent utilized. A players get, they feel like something's wrong when they're not 105 percent utilized. And so, on our teams, we're only going to hire A players, so let's make sure everyone is 105 percent utilized. Here's why. The underutilized team member is the most dangerous person on your team. Think that whole idle hands thing is absolutely true.
I had a mason, or a mason ... I had a consultant named Mason Ludlow, and I've mentioned his name before, just an incredible consultant, taught me so much, I quote him all the time because he's one of the smartest business people I've ever met. And Mason used to tell me, "if someone's not underutilized, they're the biggest liability on your team." And I watched it over and over again.
At one point when Cadey and I were growing a large coaching organization, we had multiple coaches and we would have to hire coaches before we had the clients because we'd have to hire a coach, onboard them to our systems, then they would learn our systems and then be able to coach our clients. And here's what would happen during that period of onboarding a coach. There was significant under utilization. We were training them and we were trying to keep them busy, but if we didn't bring on clients fast enough, oftentimes those coaches ended up where they didn't have a lot to do and I'll tell you something. I love coaches, I'm a coach myself, but when there's a coach walking around your business or walking around your company trying to do random acts of coaching it can get real tiring real fast.
I had team members come in and tell me, "hey, can you get the coaches to stop trying to talk to us about coaching? We're just trying to do our jobs." Those underutilized coaches were the most frustrating people in our building because they wanted something to do, they needed something, somewhere to put their time. And it's crucial that everyone on your team is at 105 percent capacity.
A place where a lot of entrepreneurs have this challenge, and I'm telling you this because I don't want you to walk yourself into this problem, is as a business starts growing they hire a controller or a CFO or a bookkeeper, somebody to just do the finances. Why? Well because most entrepreneurs are confused by finances, we don't really understand it, we don't really want to do it, we know it's something we don't really want to do it, that's an understatement. We know it's something we don't want to have to do ourselves and so we bring in somebody to do it. But the challenges in a growing company, once the books are up to date, there's not a lot of work there so you end up with an underutilized money person or finance person and there's usually not a lot more for them to do. And an underutilized finance person, Mason Ludlow, he used to tell me, "be careful with underutilized finance people, those are the most dangerous," he said. And I said, "why, Mason?" And he said, "well, he who counts beans all day and doesn't have a lot to distract him gets hungry."
And it's so funny, because in my career there's been a few times where I had somebody in that position cracking the finance and accounting dilemma in a company. How to cover finance and accounting was one of the hardest things I've ever done and I finally outsourced it. But I can't tell you how many times in my career we had somebody in that position, I think there's three or four, where we had someone in that position and they became underutilized but I didn't really realize it. And they'd come in and ask me for some insane raise or massive number because they were sitting around all day thinking that they had won the lottery because they were underutilized and felt like they had done such an incredible job they didn't really have a lot to do. And over and over again, I had people in an accounting and finance function sit in front of me and ask for massive salaries and sometimes even percentages of my company to stay in their position.
I laugh now because those weren't the most pleasant meetings back then. And I remember politely dismissing them each and finding another person who could fill what I see as a very tactical and until you're a much larger corporation, not a very strategic role. And I will allow that in some companies, in some smaller organizations there's somebody who's doing the finance role and the operations role, or the finance role and multiple other roles. That's different. That's 105 percent utilization. But when you bring in someone in a small company to just do finance, that can be one of the most dangerous people to have in the building because a finance person that has time on their hands is just walking around confusing things. Unless, like I said, you can give them other things to do.
And so, if you have a team right now, one of the easiest ways you can identify where you have challenges today or will soon have challenges, is to run through these three conditions for team success. The first one is, is everyone a true believer? The second one is, are you confident that each person is in a position where they will be successful. And the third one is, is everyone utilized at 105 percent? If you say no to any of these for any team members, that is a high priority item for you to take care of, and you will see your entire team move forward with a much higher level of momentum.
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