Momentum Podcast: 77
Lead Anyone Successfully
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, we learn more through leading a team than anywhere else. Unfortunately, the vast majority of entrepreneurs will never try to lead a team. Growing a business is overwhelming and many don't get past the stage where they can see that it would be easier with more than just themselves.
Getting a business off the ground and creating some level of profitability is so hard it often feels impossible. From profitability to hiring people and adding them to a team the difficulty only goes up and for most entrepreneurs, the gap seems insurmountable. There are strategies that will allow you to easily lead anyone successfully.
I know, I am socially awkward and have a difficult time around people. Speaking to 3000 people from a stage is easy for me, talking to the group of people at the foot of the stage after the event provokes anxiety attacks. If there was anyone who shouldn't be able to lead a team, you're listening to him. I had to find strategies that would allow me to work with anyone and get a result, even when I didn't know how.
I learned many by watching some of the most successful people in the world build massive organizations. This is one strategy that will permanently change how you lead people and next financially increase your chances of success.
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, and 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.
Welcome to the Momentum Podcast. This is titled Lead Anyone Successfully. And just the title of this podcast, this concept, is so critically important to all of us as entrepreneurial personality types. As evolutionary hunters. Because here's what I want you to understand. We, as a personality type, as a group, we learn very little standing still, and almost nothing when we're alone. You can, you can create some momentum on your own, but when have you really done it on your own? You always have had some type of mentorship there. A book, even if you were like me, and somewhat introverted, you've always been getting help from someone, and for us, as entrepreneurs, we have this dilemma where we know that in order to reach our full potential, we need more help than most. But the problem is, we also know that any request for help makes us feel vulnerable and exposed. And so we spend forever not building a team.
And getting a business off the ground is traumatic. Elon Musk said it was something like chewing glass, or something like that, and it is. It's terrifying. And the challenge is that most entrepreneurs go through so much, just to get the business off the ground, that hiring a team, bringing in people, getting contractors, getting any kind of help, feels almost un-doable. It's like they can't see past the gap. And you might be in this situation. And I want you to know, every one of us has been there, where we can't see past a gap. There's been times where I couldn't see that I could use a team to help me. There's been times where I've missed in a business, and I haven't seen my next step. And so many of us are in the place where we can't see how to get help.
Or maybe you've already built the team, or you're building the team, and you have people around you, and you're thinking, why aren't they doing more? Why can't they get more? Or why can't they get more done? Why aren't they helping me more? Why doesn't it feel easier than it is? And every one of us, who's had a team, has felt that way. And here's the challenge, is that all of us feel like we need to solve everything, then bring in people who can use our solutions.
We feel like we need to get the business to the point where we can hire someone. In fact, I ask people all the time, "When are you gonna hire help?" And they'll tell me. "Well, I need to get the business to the place where somebody can come in and help. Right now they wouldn't know what to do." And I immediately cringe. Because anyone, anyone can hire people, lead successfully, and build a team around them. And you don't have to get the business to where you can hire people. You hire people to help you fortify the business. To build the foundation of the business. To make the business real.
There is a huge failure rate in small business. Most of us don't even get off the ground. And there's a reason. When you look at just the numbers of businesses in the United States, there's about 29 million. And 22 million of them make less than $100,000 a year. So a lot of people don't even have the opportunity to hire a full-time person. But still, maybe by bringing in a contractor, they'd be able to move forward, and get some momentum.
Well I want you to know that any one of you can do this. Because I'll personally tell you, I had to learn very quickly how to hire and lead people, because the business that I started when I was 21, consulting, got overwhelming almost immediately. Almost the first day that I got my first contract, I was overwhelmed, and I needed tons of help. And so I had to watch the people around me, and try and figure out like, how do you lead people? And I watched some of the wealthiest, and most strategically brilliant people in the world do this. And by watching them, I was able to figure out some keystone habits in leading people.
Like what are the things that you can do with people that will work almost all of the time? What are the things you can do with people that, if you do them consistently, people improve, and people get better at their jobs, and your life gets easier? What are those habits? And it was incredible how often I watched the same things happening at different companies, where there was net worth of nine or ten figures. And they were consistent, and glaring, and they were so different than how I was leading, that I had huge contrast, because I, like many of you, led in this way that's being encouraged in far too many books. Like I'm not a big fan of the E-Myth, because that book gets entrepreneurs all possessed and obsessed around perfecting the system. And guys, there's no such thing.
And it also doesn't tell you, anywhere in there, how you ... here's how you really do it. Because anyone ... I've saved some people from that E-Myth thinking, because you get to this place where, in order to comply with the E-Myth, or the E-Myth Revisited, or whatever that second book is, you have to shut your company down for a year to get it all done. And it's not how business works. People coming into the business should immediately lower pressure and noise for you, here's how you do it. You have the team own the process, as you bring them in. Even if they're contractors. Let me tell you what I mean by this.
If you want anyone to be responsible, give them responsibility. I'm gonna say that again. If you want anyone to be responsible, give them responsibility. Here's what most business owners do. And here's maybe what you've done, is rather than giving someone responsibility, you give them tasks, and then you expect them to be responsible. Good luck. Good luck. See, give them responsibility. So instead of trying to solve everything in your business, identify the key issues that you have. The bigger challenges that you have. And then go out and find people who know how to create solutions, and ask them how they would do it, so the big shortcut here, the way to lead anyone successfully, is have that person own the process. And ask them how they would get it done. Ask them what they think they should do. Ask them how they would do it. And then listen to them, and think like, is this a logical way to do this? Does this make sense? Give advice where you feel you need to, and hire really smart people that can figure things out, and then let them create the process for you.
I'll give you an example of this. So Cadey, my wife, has always run our businesses. She's very operational. I'm more the content and visionary side of the business, and she's more like making sure it happens. Like I tell people, our businesses never would have done what they've done, or be able to do what they do today without her. And in our events business, at one point we were doing 300 live events a year with two major conferences a year, and I was speaking at about 30 or 40 events a year, and we had events where we went and displayed, or put up products, maybe another 30 or 40 times a year. So my wife was handling 400 some odd live events per year. It was crazy. And what she did was she brought in people, because there was no way to do this by herself. She brought in people, asked them how they would solve things, had them go and do those things, and then create process for her. And it was incredible.
Like today, Cadey owns and fully documented, she has a whole file on our drive full of every process you could ever need, to run a live event. When we run a live event today, she just pulls out that folder, and goes to one of her processes. There are so many ... it's like everything in a live event is covered, but here's how she did it. The person who was running the front door, she would say, "Hey, figure out how you run this front door. Tell me how you think you should do it. And what do you think?" And they would tell her, they're gonna separate the name badges, and they're gonna have people come up in a certain way, and then they would test the process, and document it, and do it again, and document it, and they ended up with, I'm telling you, Cadey has the best live event files anywhere on the market. And she used this process.
See if you're gonna do this, you have to make it real. So find somebody come in, and there's four ways that you make it real. You have them own the process, but one, you have to have them document the process as they own it, as they create it. Cadey was always adamant about this. And I hear from entrepreneurs all the time, "Oh, my team just won't document process. They're not writers," or "they're not good at that," or "They're not process people." You know what? Don't settle for that. You're selling yourself and your team out. Because what you're saying is, you haven't hired anyone who can build a process? We've gotten process documents from people in all levels of our organization, in all different positions.
This is how you build a company. This is how you build it faster than you can on your own. The tragedy, in most of entrepreneurship, is that every entrepreneur tries to figure all this out and then hand it off. That's where people, they literally get handed a whole set of processes. By the way, if you create the process, you own it. The team member doesn't own it. If you create the process, you own the mistakes. The team member doesn't own them, they're just gonna point back at your process. So this is a massive shortcut in leading people.
And again, for me, leading people has never been easy. I have a really easy time speaking from stage, speaking to 3,000 people, but I have to meet the crowd at the end of the stage, I get anxiety, I get sweaty, I mean, it's embarrassing to talk about, you know? I'm incredibly socially awkward. I have a difficult time conveying ... you know, I often get mistaken for being aggressive, or I've made team members cry, without trying to. And I had to get past all of that, and learn what is it that you do to make people successful? And again, it's you have the team own the process. Because here's another thing that happens. If you go to a team member, and you dictate what they should do, you start being seen as a dictator. And for most entrepreneurs, we already have strong personalities, and a lot of presence, and people see you as somewhat intimidating.
Whether you're willing to admit it or not, a person who's able to pull a trigger on a business is intimidating, the same way that the guy who gets in the boxing ring is intimidating. Because most people wouldn't box. Most people wouldn't pull the trigger on a business. So you know you have some level of intimidation for most of the people around you, as it is. And so if you can lead in a way where you don't be seen as a dictator, everything changes. Because instead, what you're doing here is, again, you give them responsibility. So have them give you an idea of where they're going. You give them a clear outcome of what you want. Like "Hey, here's the result I want."
One, super clear outcome, they have to see it. Two, then have them tell you what they're going to do, and you coach success, and then three, you get leverage results, because you aren't building the process, you're getting more that you want, and it changes everything. Because now you're getting really clear on what they're doing, how they're doing it, and you make it real. So step two is, or step one is have them document it. Step two, have them follow that documented process over and over again, and make constant and consistent updates to it, where they share it with you. This is how you actually manage what people are doing. You have them document the process, and then they follow it repeatedly, and they share it with you, as they're making updates.
And then three, you have them improve it over time, because every process is broken, when it's created. Let's remember, there's no such thing as a perfect company. I want you to just launch processes off into the wilderness, and then make them work. You've gotta corral in some mistakes every once in a while. You've gotta fix things every once in a while. But when you're doing it this way, you can do that. And then step four is you have to consistently review and make sure two things are happening. One, they're updating the process, and they can walk you through the updates. They can walk you through what they're doing. And two, that they're actually following the process by using a checklist and checking it off.
And in most of our organizations, we've always required paper checklists, which drives people crazy, because they think it's so much easier when you just do it in a system, but really, when you have a smaller team, paper checklists are so much more effective. And Cadey would have three-ring binders for each one of the team members, and they had a paper checklist that got improved over time. And 'cause here's why that's so much easier. With paper, you can just write notes, and then change it. And the next day, you can have an entirely new process. You just print new pages. And while you're in the updating process, you just keep doing that over and over again, and the difference is, when you do it in an automated system, it goes from just writing on a sheet to going to the system, changing the process, adding something. That doesn't sound like a lot of complication, but for most people, it will stop them from changing it.
And so if you do this, have them document it, follow it repeatedly, improve it over time, and then you're reviewing it to make sure that they're actually improving it and following it, you can lead anyone successfully, because that's how you actually create process in a company. And by letting someone else do the experimentation, and move through it, and figure it out, you're using their intellect. You're using the entire person that you hired. You're giving them the opportunity to make stuff happen, and you are letting them co-create in a dynamic way. And remember, people will support what you ask them to. You're a CEO. They know that's they're job. Even if they don't really like you, it's gonna be their job. Be careful with that, then you don't want to have them there. But they will passionately support anything that you allow them to co-create. And co-creation's easier for you, because it removes the burden of solving everything.
So this is not only just how you can lead anyone successfully. This is how you can grow any company successfully. Because when you bring in a contractor, and right now, in your business, I want you to think. Where could you use help? Where could you offload some of the pressure on yourself? What are the things that keep getting carried over on your to-do list? What are those things that you wish you could find the person, or put something in place where you didn't have to do it all, and then I want you to start thinking about going out and finding the person who could solve it, not the person who can run the process you're gonna create.
Going out to find the person where you tell them, and we do this with contractors all the time, we explain to them, "Hey," we have a contractor right now, Lindsey, who works with us, and she came in to help Cadey and I, and we basically told her, we need someone to come in and help us resolve the issues in our organization, because it's growing really quick, and we need someone who can problem solve, who understands how to look at different systems, who can help us with social media, who can also fill in as an assistant, every once in a while, and we brought her in. And literally, she is creating the process, day-by-day, as we go. And she's creating results that we haven't had in years. Because we're in a much better place, as a company now, and because she's driving her outcome. She's driving her level of success.
She's excited to get on our daily huddle, because every day, she has something to share about how well things are going. And don't think for a second you're in a business where this wouldn't work, or a process that ... don't talk yourself out of this. I have some clients, Adam and Jennifer Soule, that are just incredible. Adam's a doctor, and Jennifer, they run a practice together. It's called the Swan Center, and they help people with non invasive cosmetic surgeries where they help people feel better about themselves, and get over insecurities that they have. And Jennifer has this way of describing aesthetic surgery, where, man, she literally is helping people get their lives back, and get confidence back, and get over things that are just really bothering them. And they're an inspiration.
And we started working together a few months ago, and Jennifer, who implements like crazy, and is just brilliant, started just taking some of the initial content that we have in our private clients courses, and started talking to one of their receptionists. And just by following some of the principles, and letting that person build the process, the receptionist started selling for them. So actually getting on the phone and closing packages where people came in. And that happened in a matter of days. And it's all because, when you let someone else build the process, and you tell them the outcome you want, and they're motivated to get there, they're going to figure it out so much faster than you would. Here's why. That's all they're doing in the business.
You've got responsibility for everything. You are the most vulnerable person in the room. But you bring in a contractor, an employee, that's all they're doing in the business, and it's gonna get done in a fraction of the time you could. Don't talk yourself into that craziness that nobody can do it as well as you. That's your ego talking. Don't let your ego get in the way of your contribution.
Start looking for the places where you can actually get some help, and bring people in. Give them responsibility and you will build a team faster than most people out there ever do. You won't ever feel the burden of trying to feel like you have to be a deity who knows it all, which so many entrepreneurs are stuck in that place. And you will grow and scale your business at an exponential rate, compared to those around you, because you're not doing it all yourself.
I want you to just take a step back, and think of someone that I think every entrepreneur has just insane amounts of respect for. Elon Musk. The more I read about how he things, and how he has created things, and how Tesla is run, and every time I read a press release, I'm so impressed with him. And his radical transparency, with the world. And when you think about what Tesla was able to do, and Space X was able to do, there is no possible way that Musk could have done all of it. The engineering, the mathematics, the expertise level needed. He couldn't have. And there's no way he built the processes. Like that whole E-Myth thing, that wouldn't ever work in a business that's actually trying to do something huge. You have to let the team build the process.
And so I know you can do this. I know this will change your business. I know this will change how you look at your life. Because once you do it here, you can do it in your personal life, you can get help at home, you can figure out how to offload the things that make you uncomfortable, and these days, more than any other time in the history of entrepreneurship, any level of help you need, at any level of convenience to you, is available literally all you have to do is type in the name of the website, and dot com. Because there are more freelancing, and outsourcing, and short term help, and expert help, and the amount of help available online for entrepreneurs today, at a fraction of the cost that it ever has been before in history, is overwhelming.
But far too many of us have talked ourselves out of it, cause we think we have to solve it all, before we get help. I want you to know, the way you solve it all, is you get help. Thanks for being here for this episode, Lead Anyone Successfully. If you haven't yet, subscribe to this podcast, and do me a favor, we have been at 99 reviews for like two weeks now. I keep wanting to break 100, so I can tell my team we broke 100. So do me a favor, if you have a minute, leave a review for us on iTunes. Let us know what you think of the podcast. I would really appreciate it. And if you haven't yet, download my book at FreeMomentumBook.com.