Momentum Podcast: 580

Survive Q4 With a Team

by Alex Charfen

Introduction

Building a team, growing a business, getting people to work together is not easy. And we when we are thrown any curve ball, it can make it infinitely more difficult. That's why I like to anticipate as many of the challenges, many of the speed bumps, as many of the things that are coming up as possible. What's interesting is, the fourth quarter is one of the biggest curve balls we get thrown every single year, but so many of us don't anticipate it, don't expect it, and we don't even prepare for it. 

Episode Description

Growing a business, building a team, and getting people to work together isn’t easy. While these things are hard enough on their own, they are infinitely more difficult when you get thrown a curveball. In my experience, the biggest challenges and speed bumps come around the fourth quarter. In fact, the fourth quarter of every year is like a minefield for entrepreneurs. 

If you have a team and you don’t anticipate or prepare for this time of year, you’re going to start seeing behaviors on your team that don't really make sense. You will notice some team members missing things, breaking down, becoming more reactive, and withdrawing. This episode is all about understanding where these behaviors come from, and how you can not only survive, but stay in momentum during the fourth quarter with your team.      

Full Audio Transcript

Alex Charfen: This is the Momentum Podcast. Building a team, growing a business, getting people to work together is not easy. And we when we are thrown any curve ball, it can make it infinitely more difficult. That's why I like to anticipate as many of the challenges, many of the speed bumps, as many of the things that are coming up as possible. What's interesting is, the fourth quarter is one of the biggest curve balls we get thrown every single year, but so many of us don't anticipate it, don't expect it, and we don't even prepare for it.

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 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.

The reason I titled this podcast Surviving Q4 With a Team is that the fourth quarter of every year is like a landmine or a landfill or minefield for entrepreneurs. Every fourth quarter we are thrown this massive curve ball in the form of time off and vacation requests and the holidays and everything else that we have to adjust to, but the fourth quarter is so much more challenging than that.

In fact, for over 25 years I've been running businesses myself and I've been coaching entrepreneurs for a lot of that time, and I've been working in and out of multiple businesses for most of my career. So for a short period of time I worked with one business, but we still coached others. Actually, that's not true. In every business I've ever worked with, we've worked and effected other businesses. So I see this multiplier effect of the fourth quarter.

Here's what happens. In the fourth quarter, we don't anticipate this as entrepreneurs by the way. It happens every year. It's predictable. We know it's coming, but we don't actually anticipate it and start preparing for it because here's what happens every year in Q4 especially if you have a team. You start seeing behaviors on your team that don't really make sense. People start doing things that they wouldn't do otherwise. We're hearing this from our clients right now. People are missing things, they're breaking down, they're having challenges in meetings. You see people start to get more reactive. People cut each other off meaning your team might be a little bit aggressive with each other, or you might see people completely withdrawal.

Those who normally are active in your daily huddle, or in your targeted interactions or the meetings that you have. They are now are not active. Maybe they're quiet or you start feeling the stress, the emotions of what happens every fourth quarter. And this is repeatable. And I have a theory. Here's my theory on the fourth quarter of the year for human beings, and especially for entrepreneurs. We have this history of the fourth quarter that it's supposed to be this great time. Let's be honest, in November and December as supposed to be this celebratory time, getting together with family, all this anticipation is supposed to be magical. So there's this expectation that the fourth quarter is magical, that there's magic that happens, that it feels incredible, that we're all happy that we're together. And the reality of the fourth quarter, let's be real. Just isn't that. Like what really happens during the holidays?

For most people the holidays are a time of anxiety, and frustration, and difficulty. And historically, let's slow this down a little bit, and talk about what every person in your team, on your team and you probably have dealt with historically. If we're real about the holidays, yes, there are some positives and there's some good that happens, but also whether you're a kid or an adult, they are insanely stressful. And that sometimes I think that holidays are far more stressful on children than they are for adults, but they are a stressful on all of us. And those people working in your business, and you included where kid once, and the holiday spirit, and the holiday pressure, and being happy during the holidays and everything else that goes along with it is incredibly difficult because whether it's today in present time or sometime in your team's history, here's the reality of the holidays.

It's supposed to be magical, but what is it really? It's a time of year where our time gets used up doing things that we don't normally have to do. So everyone's routine is completely thrown off. By the way, I don't want to sound like a Grinch during this podcast because now I'm talking about it and I'm like, "Wow, I'm really beating up the holidays." I want you to understand what I'm doing here. I'm not saying I don't like Christmas or holidays. I'm not saying that they're bad. I'm not saying any. There's really not an opinion as to, well, that's not true. If I could eliminate all the days off, I probably would, but I was going to say there's really not an opinion as to whether I'm saying the holidays are good or bad, but I'm saying it just is. This is reality.

The holidays are a time when in anybody's life, historically time was at a loss and there was pressure and stress due to time. When you look at the holidays, financial pressure in most families is over the top. I remember when I was a kid, my family didn't have a lot of money, but I still felt my parents' financial pressure during the holidays. And I remember being a kid, and thinking the holidays were supposed to be magical, and then having the comparison to the kids around us, and wondering why we didn't get what they did. And I remember that being a really confusing and anxious time for me. I'm realistic about that. I think that a lot of adults put a veneer on their entire childhood and say, "Oh, I loved the holidays. Christmas was great." Was it really?" Consider that because we have a lot of history that affects us in the present, where activity and emotions and stress behaviors are usually something from the past coming into the present.

If we're real about the holidays, they're also a time where your effort, your energy, your focus are all taxed on a scale of 1 to 10 probably a 15 because people are trying to do more and people are trying to get more done. They're shopping, they're preparings, a lot of people are traveling. There is a ton of pressure and noise during the holidays just because it's here. And on top of time pressure, financial pressure, giving a ton of effort that you don't normally give, using energy that you don't normally have to use, focusing on things you don't normally have to focus on, on top of that, there's also during the holidays people tend to indulge. So there's food and alcohol. The weather actually gets to the point where it challenges almost everyone in our country, physiologically. A lot of people around the world, in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, it's the summer.

But the food, the weather, the alcohol, the stress, all together combined to create this massively pressure filled environment in the present. But let's get real. That pressure filled environment existed every fourth quarter for you and for your team in the past. And so a lot of times we're dealing with pressure that people are dealing within the president. A lot of times we're dealing with emotions and reactivity and pressure that is reaching up from the past. And here's what so many people do in their businesses and in their lives during the fourth quarter. They actually back out of momentum. I have a podcast. You have to go to the archive. It's number 95 and it's Don't Join the Crowd in Q4. And it's all about why so many entrepreneurs have a hard time in the fourth quarter. We get depressed, we get frustrated, we lose our momentum, we lose our motivation. We start feeling really challenged because we back out of momentum.

It's actually habitual for most people to stop doing as much in the fourth quarter. In fact, on most teams, they start really pulling back in the fourth quarter. We take an opposite approach on our team. We talk about how we're going to crush the fourth quarter. We talk about how everyone else out there isn't doing what they need to do. We also talk about how you should not be working extra hours, and you can take your wellness days, and you should celebrate the holidays, but when we're working, we're going to work, and we're going to crush it, we're going to create outcomes, we're going to stay in momentum as a team. And staying in momentum as a team is one of the biggest ways to counteract the holidays, and to counteract the challenges that you will have on your team.

Here's what's amazing. On our team this year, and every year that I've ever been in business, the holidays have created massive pressure and noise, reactivity and frustration and confusion and anxiety. But on our team this year, we really dialed in clear outcomes. And accountability, and measurement. So everyone knows where they're going, what their responsibility is, and what we're measuring to see if we're successful. And we have the systems in place that protect our team from leadership, that protect our team from the wrong types of judgment. And this fourth quarter, we're not just surviving Q4. Our team is absolutely crushing it. Like every month on our strategic plan, we've completed over 80% of what we're supposed to get done. In fact, 80% is our goal. If you just complete 80% month after month, you're going to crush it. We actually been completing over 95% for the last couple months in the fourth quarter.

Right now on my team, everyone on my team is absolutely motivated, and connected, and excited and pushing forward. And the way that we survive Q4 as entrepreneurs is we stay in momentum. And here's what I want you to know. If you're an entrepreneur running a team, the people working for you are most likely near 100% certain entrepreneurial personality types. They're just not so far up the spectrum of EPT, that they're ready to run a business themselves. But if they're working in small business, if they're working for you, if you're running a small business, EPTs are the ones that go to small businesses. They're the ones who want to grow. They're the ones who want to see their work recognized. They're the ones who want to be able to actually be in something and not just be a number. And for entrepreneurial personality types, the most important thing in the world is for us to stay momentum. And to stay away from constraint.

And so in the fourth quarter, the way that you survive Q4 with a team because let's get real. Everything I talked about earlier, you know is real. The time, the money, the effort, the energy, the focus, the food, the weather, the alcohol, distress, I mean, geez, the whole world around us has changes. Just the visual simulation of the fourth quarter actually increases pressure and noise. Even if you love seeing the change in the decorations, if you love all the difference of how the world looks, it absolutely is still a change. And change up to an organism is pressure. And pressure slows us down. It takes away our focus. It makes it so that it's challenging for us. And so to counteract all of that in the fourth quarter, make sure that you are actually pushing forward. You don't unplug, don't join the crowd in Q4.

I think one of the biggest issues for entrepreneurs every year, and you know what? As you listen to this, be honest. Have you felt some disconnections, some dissolution, some disorientation, frustration in the past couple of months? Have you felt some of that feeling of constraint because the world around you wants to stop and change everything for the fourth quarter? And you just want to keep going towards your goals? Well, I want you to consider, have you actually backed it down? Now, I'm not saying put in a hundred hours a week during the fourth quarter, but what I'm saying is the rest of the world's pretty much checked out. And as entrepreneurs staying in momentum is like breathing for us to the rest of the world. Like when sharks needs to swim, entrepreneurs need to be a momentum. And in the fourth quarter, while everyone else slows down, the way that you crush it yourself and with a team is you create incredibly clear outcomes.

So everyone knows what they're aiming on. They can focus and they can win. While the rest of the world gets noisy and it changes and shifts, your team can stay momentum with you and win. Give them clear accountability. Let everybody know what they're responsible for. Spell it out as clearly as you can all the time, but even more in the fourth quarter because this is a time of confusion and frustration and extra stuff that your team has to do. And everyone who is on your team is working on other things during the fourth quarter because that's just how it works. They have to go get ready for parties, and family, and gifts and everything else. And the last thing during the fourth quarter is you make sure you have scoreboards that give you and your team perspective so you know that the company's moving forward, departments are moving forward, people are moving forward, projects are moving forward. When you can see those things with clear scoreboards, here's what happens.

You will cognitively stay in momentum. You will stay in momentum through seeing those things. Physiologically that will put you in that momentum. And then chemically you will get in momentum and stay there. When we feel the chemical effects of constraint, it makes us feel slow. It makes us feel deflated. It makes us feel the chemical effects just like depression and frustration and confusion and all of those things. So the way that you absolutely crush it in the fourth quarter is you don't join the crowd. You avoid what the rest of the world does. You admit that this is real, and then you dig in,, and you make sure that you are clear with your team and then support them. Make sure that you're watching for people who might be having a challenge, make sure you're talking about it as a team.

In our company, we started dialogue about the fourth quarter, and about taking care of yourself, and about self care, and about how difficult this is in October because we want everyone to know that this is coming. And the way that you make this so that next year it doesn't derail you is you anticipate it, you talk about it, you plan for it and you make sure that you are digging in and pushing your business forward in Q4. I look at the end of every year as a massive opportunity to make huge forward progress, while the rest of the world is looking side to side, you should too. And not only will it grow your business, help you create massive progress, but what you also might find is if you do this, the next fourth quarter you go through might be the best one you've ever had.

If you're ready to start growing your business, and grow a team and give them clear outcomes, accountability and transparency, have an entire system in your business that ensures the business, every person, every department, every project has the things that I talked about. Then reach out to us. You do not have to do this all yourself. We have a proven system for growing and scaling businesses that entrepreneurs around the world are using right now to change their lives. If you go to a predictablebusinesssolutions.com, predictablebusinesssolutions.com, and answer a few questions for my team, you can set up a call with one of our team members and understand what programs we have available that might help you.

So if you have been growing a business, if you're ready to build a team or grow the team that you have, if you're ready to scale, and you know the opportunity you have is bigger than what you're currently delivering, and you know you could be doing more, making a bigger impact, helping more people. And let's get real, making a bigger income, go to predictablebusinesssolutions.com, sign up for a call with my team, and let us show you how we can change your business for the better, help you grow, scale and build your empire. predictablebusinesssolutions.com.

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With gratitude,

Alex

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