Momentum Podcast: 475
You are constantly outgrowing your team
by Alex Charfen
I call it the entrepreneur's dilemma. Entrepreneurs need far more help in order to get to their full expectation or destination. However, any request we need to make for help or support of any kind, makes us feel vulnerable and exposed.
Now, it's hard to start building a team, so if you have, congratulations. You have to make sure, though, you understand, if you've started to grow a team you are constantly outgrowing them.
I call it the entrepreneurs dilemma — We know that we need more help than the average person to reach our full potential but, any request for help makes us feel vulnerable and exposed.Ask for help and building a team is hard. Then you have to take it to the next level where you are actually helping your team to grow themselves. You have to help your A-players develop so that you don't end up outgrowing your team. Lower the overwhelm your team feels and they will be able to produce their best work for you. Invest in your team and develop them so that they can continue to support you as your company grows. If you help your team grow with you, you're going to be far more successful in the long run. Please take a second if you can to leave a review for the Momentum Podcast. I would love to see what you think and share it with my team. I appreciate you and thank you for being a listener every day.
Full Audio Transcript
Alex Charfen: I call it the entrepreneur's dilemma. Entrepreneurs need far more help in order to get to their full expectation or destination. However, any request we need to make for help or support of any kind, makes us feel vulnerable and exposed.
Now, it's hard to start building a team, so if you have, congratulations. You have to make sure, though, you understand, if you've started to grow a team you are constantly outgrowing them. Automated: 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 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 enter 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. Alex Charfen: If you're one of the entrepreneurs I talked about in the intro that it took forever to build a team and you feel vulnerable and exposed and it's hard for you to ask for help and it's hard to manage people and it's hard to bring people on and it's hard to lead, I get it. I'm one of those entrepreneurs. Building a team for me when I was younger was excruciating. It was the most difficult thing that I could do, or that I did, and maybe it was the most difficult thing I could do.
I was even more awkward than I am today. I had a difficult time communicating, I had a hard time knowing which people to hire when I was younger. I hired almost entirely on skill set and resume. I didn't understand culture so I actually brought people into my business that I felt uncomfortable around, that I didn't really like as people, that I didn't like being around.
Last week I had the experience of traveling with Hayley, we went to a conference together where she was helping me with some of the stuff that we got done there, and it was such a joy to be with somebody who I really enjoy being around, and I didn't understand how to do that when I was younger. Hayley and I hung out, we went out to dinner, Emily Hirsh was also there, so the three of us hung out, we went to downtown Denver, we had a ball. We had so much fun it made the trip, and when I was younger I didn't realize that I could actually hire people that I liked to be around.
Hiring was so foreign to me, getting help was so foreign to me. I would bring people in and I would look for the resume and the skill set and I would literally be interviewing and having body reactions and think, "Oh, my gosh, this guy's so hard to be around," or, "This woman's so difficult to communicate with." And then, because the paperwork was right, because it looked right, I hired them anyway.
I followed the process, the process everyone follows in corporate America. It's like the resume and the background and the this and the that. Even if you don't really, you know, even if the person does.. you don't like the person, you've got to find the person with the right skill set. You know, as entrepreneurs we just can't do that. We have to hire the right people and then we have to realize that even if we hired the best people out there, we are constantly outgrowing the team we have as our business grows.
Remember, success creates deficit and growth creates complexity. As you move forward, things get more difficult so you're constantly making it harder on the people that you have, and here's one of the things that we watch all the time in helping entrepreneurs grow businesses, is that it takes us a long time to get people over the place of like hiring the right people, bringing on enough people, bringing on the people who are going to help them grow the business, but then we watch and they don't continue to grow the team and they don't continue to grow the people on the team.
Those are two things that, when you first start hiring people, it's so overwhelming it's hard to even see that it's necessary because you've just gone through that process of getting over the entrepreneur's dilemma and finally asking for help, finally hiring people. Then, almost immediately, you have to reach one down and say, "Wait, now does this person who I've hired need help?" And we help entrepreneurs grow fast, and everyone of our clients has to have a system to recruit, hire and onboard the right person over and over again.
See, here's my epiphany that I went through when I started to grow a business fast, when I finally started to get scale and I couldn't figure out why my business wasn't growing. This was when I was younger. I had a massive opportunity, and every time I would start to get scale, we would lose a client because we've missed something. Or, every time I would start to really build a solid reputation, my team would screw something up and I would have an ex-client that was upset with me and frustrated with me. And right when we were really crushing it, we would miss something or not cross a t and dot an i, and it took me for ever to realize that it's not about motivation, it wasn't about coaching, it was about my team actually being overwhelmed, and the fastest way for me to help our company grow was to lower the pressure and noise from my team.
And it took me for ever to figure this out, because, I'm ashamed to admit it but this is the way that I used to hire people. Like, I know the thought process I had. I had an absolute scarcity mindset when it came to money when I was younger. I grew up in a family where we would garage sale and everything I ever got was used. My parents talked about not having money a lot, and I didn't have a mindset of abundance when it came to money, so when I hired somebody, I didn't hire the person and say, "I really hope they help me grow so I can hire somebody else." I actually hired someone, and in the back of my mind I was thinking, "I wonder how much I can get out of this person."
Gosh, it's like I get a body reaction even saying that out loud because that's how I used to think. Like, "How can I absolutely stretch every living penny out of what I'm paying this person, out of them? How can I extract every ounce of value out of this person?" And then I would proceed to lose the best people and frustrate my team and have people that were performing at a really high level and then have them start like messing things up.
And here's the issue. It took me for ever to get the right help around this. I finally had a consultant come in and he pointed out, one of the easiest ways to grow your business is to make sure that your team is happy and they're successful and they're doing what they need to do and they're not overwhelmed. I remember him explaining to me, "Hey, do you remember when you were overwhelmed and you got the team, how fast everything got easier and how you felt more confident? Well, now, half of your team is in that situation right now where they either need help or they need things to be adjusted or they need to be rightsize, and that's why so many of your team is completely overwhelmed."
And I remember feeling sick to my stomach almost immediately because I realized that I had hired enough but I hadn't really asked people if they needed help, I hadn't coached around how to ask for help. I was still in that mindset of, "I'm going to get everything I can out of this person." And you know what? Energetically, whether I said it or not, my team knew that's how I was, and it almost crushed my business. It was one of those things where I wasn't getting the help I needed, I wasn't growing like I wanted, I was losing clients, and so I was... if that continued, I was in a place where I was going to lose my reputation.
And then when I finally started thinking about how do I get my team help, here's what I realized. When people are doing too much, performance goes way down so predictability goes down. If you tell somebody you're going to do something, the number of times you're telling the truth is going to go down. It's just part of the deal. And so, I was doing that. It was hurting me.
When I got my team help, that went away. I realized overwhelm causes reactivity, it causes fear, it causes conflict, and more overwhelm can make people accidental mutineers. Here's why. If somebody's overwhelmed, then they're communicating how they really feel, other people will start to feel like they are, and you'll have a mutiny on your hands, because somebody who does it isn't trying to gossip and isn't trying to make everybody else know what's going on, but if somebody says, "Hey, how are you doing?" And they say, "Oh, man, I'm just... I'm exhausted. I've been working late, I've been getting up early, I can't get everything done," other people start thinking, "Hey, why do we have that around here?"
It's an accidental mutineer, it's not even a gossip. And A-players, here's something you need to know about A-players. They will leave unless they are supported and if they are developed to grow. If they're moving up, if they are being developed, if you're getting them education, if you're helping them, if they have a path to a higher level of success, that's where A-players will stay. That's where A-players will give you more than you ever expect from a person. That's where you will start coaching your team not to work too hard.
So here's what you need to know. Number one, get your team help. Like, make sure that you're doing time studies with your team. Have your team do quarterly time studies. We have our whole team do it. You might not want your customer service department to do it because you know where their time is, or your sales department because you know where their time is, but we have our whole team do time studies and then we give them help in two ways. One, we help them get organized and prioritize, and 100% of the time that one of our team members do time studies, do you know what they find? More time.
And then, two, we show them how to offload, and if they need to, ask for help. So we find somebody else who can do part of what that person's doing, if we need to. But here's what happens in a growing company. It is consistently happening all the time. I have people tell me the story all the time about people. "You know, I hired this person, and..." insert whatever the position is, sales, customer service, executive assistant, personal assistant, "And then, about eight months have gone by and they're just not performing like they used, they're just not doing as well."
And I'm like, "Oh, how big was your company eight months ago?" "We were doing about 700,000." "How much are you doing now?" "About 1.4 million." "Well, that's great. So, how much help do they have now compared to when they started, and how much has their job description changed? And how much have you offloaded from them?" And the person will very quickly tell me, "Oh, you know, I don't think we have. I think they're doing everything when they started. I think it's all the same."
Well, here's what you need to know. It doesn't matter what position I named before, that person is now working the same position in a company double the size. I guarantee you there are parts of that job that are overwhelming. Performance is going to go down. Predictability is going to go down. So, that's number one. Get your team help.
Number two. Develop your team. Get them training. We train our team a ton. We give them our training, we buy our teams training, we send them books, we get our team training so that not only do they keep up in the position that they're in, but we're developing them to grow into the position we're going to need them in tomorrow.
I'm developing my team to be the team that we need tomorrow and I know there's growth there. I know we're going up. I know I'm going to need my team to be able to be capable of handling a larger population of clients in a more consistent way and a more scalable way over time, so I need to develop my team in a way that they know what's going on. We spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on training for our team members. Every year. We travel with our team to get training, we take a ton of people to ClickFunnels, we send our team all around the country for whatever training they need. So, develop your team.
And then number three, keep an obsessive watch on your orchard. That is your inventory of the team that you have. That is your inventory of the team that you're outgrowing. Watch the orchard and make sure that if you have a manager that takes on too many people, you get them help or performance is going to go down, predictability is going to go down. You make sure that if you have a department that gets overwhelmed, you shift things and you don't let that happen.
So, keep an obsessive watch on your orchard. Your orchard is the road map of how communication flows in your company and how things are accomplished, and it is a chain of command but it's also a chain of communication and it gives you clarity around how things are getting done.
If you do this, if you get your team help, you develop your team, you keep an obsessive watch on your orchard, your team does the time studies, you make sure that you help them organize and offload, here's what happens. You will have less turnover, and because you have less turnover, just the fact that you have less turnover means that there is more resources available for growth. And it's proven that companies that turn over less people, in the long term are more successful than those that turn over more people. So that whole "hire slow fire fast", that's a good philosophy, but it's also hiring a way, developing a way, grow your team in a way where you don't have to fire at all, so that you can keep the best... not the best people. So you hire the best people, you onboard the best people, and then you keep the best people by making sure that you are doing what you need to do so that you do not outgrow your team, because success creates deficits and growth creates complexity.
As an entrepreneur, you have to make sure that as you build your team, you don't get detached from that understanding of business and that you make sure you continue to reach down and ask your team and understand, maybe even one step beyond your managers, that you have a strategy and a system so that you consistently know if people are overwhelmed, if they're consistently getting what they need to get done, if they are feeling like they are successful and they're in a place where they can win. Because, if your business grows, you're going to outgrow your team. Help them grow with you and you're going to be far more successful.
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