Momentum Podcast: 364
Earn Discretionary Effort
by Alex Charfen
I feel sorry for entrepreneurs who say things like, “I can't get my team to work hard enough,” or, “They're just not putting in the effort,” or, “I just don't feel like they're trying.”
I never feel that way with my team, and neither do most of my clients. There's a reason. We earn their discretionary effort, and they are just as passionate as we are.
As the leader of your company, you have this incredible opportunity to help the people around you transform, grow, and become better people.
When you put people in an environment that is positive and nourishing and gives them momentum, that momentum bleeds out into all other parts of their lives. It's exciting to be an entrepreneur and it's incredible to build a team. Helping people thrive will reward you now and for the rest of your career.
Full Audio Transcript
Alex Charfen: I feel sorry for entrepreneurs who say things like, "I can't get my team to work hard enough," or, "They're just not putting in the effort," or, "I just don't feel like they're trying." I never feel that way with my team, and neither do most of my clients. There's a reason. We earn their discretionary effort, and they are just as passionate as we are.
As entrepreneurs, it's almost a requirement that the people around us are just as passionate and as excited, and dedicated to our business as we are. Now, will they ever be 100% as dedicated as the entrepreneur? Maybe not. I would argue that in some cases they are, but we want to feel like they are. We want them to have the same passion, and excitement, and commitment to the business we have, or we feel like something's wrong. I would present to you that if you have someone on your team that you don't feel like has that passion, that commitment, that dedication to the business, something is wrong. You are not earning their discretionary effort. Here's what I mean by that: discretionary effort is the time that people have to themselves where they can think about whatever they want. So I'll ask you, when you're driving, or when you're showering, or when you're working out, what are you thinking about?
If you're the typical entrepreneur, you're thinking about your business, your clients, the contribution you're making, the difference you're making, the next live you're going to do, what you're going to do to change the business, the problem you've been working on in the business. That's just how we are hardwired. We can't turn it off. Now, what is your team thinking about when they're driving, or showering, or working out? Well if you do things right, you can get people dedicated to your business, excited about working with you every day, you can transform who they are as individuals, and you will get way more out of your team when you dedicate yourself to earning their discretionary effort. Their discretionary time. Now, here's how you do this. One, you have to follow, first you have to follow a lot of the advice that I've given before. You want to go out and hire true believers, and make sure you're putting the right people on the team, and make sure you're qualifying them be in the right seats, but once you do, here's what you can do as the leader of your company to consistently, and constantly earn your team's discretionary effort.
Get them passionate, and excited, and dedicated to your company. I can tell you, one thing I never worry about is whether my team's working or not. In fact, honestly, and 100% candidly, the coaching I give my team most of the time is, you need to take some time off. You need to slow down. You need to take some time to your kids. You need to go workout. I want you to take some time away from work, and I literally have to coach my team out of working too hard, because all of them are so passionate, so dedicated, and so excited about what we do as a company. Here's why, there's three areas that will make it so that your team gives you their discretionary effort. The first one is, you have to step into transformational leadership. If you give people clear outcomes, and get out of their way, you're not transactional. You don't tell them what to do, check that it got done, and tell them what to do again, but if you give people clear outcomes and get out of their way, here's what happens when a human being has an outcome that they're excited about.
When it's clear to them. When they know they can win. When they know they can go knock down that outcome, they will start to use discretionary effort. They will get excited about it. See, your team doesn't like checking boxes just as much as you don't like checking boxes, but if you give them a destination, and you coach their success along the way, that transformational leadership will earn their discretionary effort. The second thing is, and this is a big one, especially for entrepreneurs. You have to put your team in a position to win. Far too often, as entrepreneurs, we are the only people out there who play a game where we make up all the rules, but we make up rules that we're going to lose, and you know what I'm talking about.
This is when we overestimate what we can get done. When we put way too big of goals up on the board. When we have a million dollar company, and then we say the next year we're going to do 10 million without even a real plan to get there. The way that you earn your team's discretionary effort is you pull the target closer, and put every person in the business in a position to win. You predict the future consistently. You make sure you're creating a strategic plan and you're executing it as a team. As a team you're predicting the future. When you consistently predict the future, you will earn more of your team's discretionary effort. The third thing, so there's transformational leadership, giving them wins and letting them predict the future, and then consistently predicting the future, and then the third thing is making sure everyone on your team has clarity. Clarity as to their role. Clarity as to the role they play in the company.
Clarity as to what they're supposed to be doing, and if they have clarity, they will have confidence. That confidence will increase their commitment. When you have clarity, confidence, and commitment, you will buy people's discretionary effort. Here's why, they're going to be more excited about the business than just about anything else in their lives. Because if you provide this environment, with transformational leadership. With wins where you're giving your team members a place to win, where you're predicting the future, where you're winning together, you're achieving together, and then you're giving them a situation where they have clarity, confidence, and commitment, work is going to be the best part of their lives.
Work is going to be, the work that they're doing with you is going to be the most inspiring part of their lives, and I don't take anything away from people having families, and people going to church, and having volunteer stuff that they do, and all kinds of other things. But what will happen is, when you give your team the gift of these three things: transformational leadership, wins and the ability to predict the future, and clarity, confidence, and commitment, work, where most people suffer through. They call Wednesday hump day because you're getting over the hump, then they drink so much on Friday night, that by the time they get to work on Monday, they don't remember a lot of it, it transforms. It goes from being work, to being where people grow. To being where people discover who they are. To being where people discover what they're capable of.
What they can do, and that is how you earn discretionary effort. See, you as an entrepreneur, as a leader, as the person whose leading your company, you have this incredible opportunity to be able to help the people around you transform, and grow, and become better people. When you give them these three things, the transformational leadership, the wins and the ability to predict the future, and clarity, confidence, and commitment, here's what you'll see. I've watched this my whole career. Your team will get better at what they do outside of work. They will live better lives. They will be better parents. They will be better spouses. They'll have more fun. They'll get more done. They'll be healthier. They'll be more committed to themselves. They'll take better care of themselves, because when a human being has the opportunity to be in an environment that is positive, and nourishing, and encouraging, and moves them in a direction, and gives them momentum, that momentum bleeds out into all other parts of their lives.
So you don't just have the opportunity to give somebody the ability to work, and to give them a position, you have the opportunity to transform every one of your team member's lives by earning their discretionary effort, having them do even more for your company, while at the same time giving them an environment where they can thrive. It's exciting to be an entrepreneur. It's incredible to build a team, and when you look at it the right way, it will give to you now and forever. Building a team is one of the most transformational things you can do as a human being, not just as an entrepreneur, but building a team where you earn discretionary effort, and you help people become better people. It will reward you from now, and for the rest of your career. If you're ready to start building a game changing team, and you're ready to earn your team's discretionary effort, or you already have a team and you want to get that team even better.
Get into even greater levels of momentum, accomplish more, and achieve more together, go to a simple URL. Billionairecode.com/apply. Fill out our simple application. If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to check it out. Billionairecode.com/apply.
Once you've filled out the application, one of my team members will personally review it and then get back to you with next steps. Billionairecode.com/apply, and if you are building a team, if you have built a team, if you're working on growing the team that you have, think about wins, transformational leadership, and clarity, confidence, and commitment, you will earn your team's discretionary effort. You will be more excited about working with them, and you will watch the people around you transform, and grow in ways you never thought possible.