Momentum Podcast: 131
Don’t Tell People Their Job Is Easy
by Alex Charfen
When you tell someone that their job is easy, you invalidate their contribution before they even get started. A couple years ago we were in a partnership with someone who consistently and constantly told everyone on our team that what they were doing was easy.
He would say crazy things like,”we need this entire website updated in the next two weeks but if we all pulled together and put in some extra effort it should be easy.”
Everyone listening to him and knew it wouldn't be easy but everyone listening was also afraid to contradict him. Instead the team did their best to deliver and he was always disappointed. The problem was so dramatic that we decided to stop working with him.
I don't know how to grow the company without a team, and every person in my organization makes a valuable contribution. I also do not believe that anyone's job is “easy”. In fact plot of the people that work for me do things that I can't and wouldn't know how to do.
Instead of invalidating your teams contributions, make certain that everyone knows that what they are doing to grow your business matters.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, 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 re-write 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.
Don't tell people that their job is easy. This is a bad habit that a lot of entrepreneurs have, it's a bad habit, it's a tic, it's a way of communicating with people around us that destroys teams, makes people feel insignificant, and makes people feel completely and totally undervalued. And the irony is that the people who do this, often think they're helping, they're creating momentum, they're helping people see things in a different way. And here's the habit that is just so damaging. It's telling people, “Hey can you do this for me, it'll be really easy, this is all I need you to do” or “Hey I need help with this, it'll be really easy, this is what it needs, what needs to happen”. When you tell someone that what you're asking them to do is easy, or when you tell someone that their job is easy, you invalidate their contribution, and make it less significant before they even start. And if it was easy, you would probably be doing it. The fact is, that regardless of what you're asking somebody to do, that is their job.
And as entrepreneurs, our goal in life, our mission in life, is to figure out what we are extraordinarily good at that no one else can do it, and then hire, and get help, and find support around everything else. And when I say everything else, I mean it. There is no wiggle room here. If you want to reach your greatest contribution as an entrepreneur, if you want to make the impact that you are capable of making, if you want to create the level of wealth, the level of income, the level profitability, that you've always dreamed of, then you don't have a choice but to focus on what you're good at, and find people to support you everywhere else. And this is one of the hardest transitions that entrepreneurs make. And one of the biggest issues we have is that we don't value the work of the people around us.
In fact, here's what happens to a lot of us because I've worked with some really intelligent, really motivational, really loving, caring, contributory entrepreneurs who have this habit where they say, “Hey can you check my email and make sure you organize it this way and do this for me, and let me know what's happened, and it'll be really easy, it's not a big deal.” I think that as I've talked to them, and said, “Hey, why do you say that, why do you express it that way?” They say, “Well I'm trying to encourage the person, I don't want them to be discouraged, I want them to know that it's easy, I've done it before, I've seen how it's done, and it's not that big a deal.” Well here's the challenge: if you're consistently telling the people around you that their contribution is easy, that it isn't that big of a deal, that you could do it, that somebody else could do it, it just beats them down and makes them feel like they don't matter.
I've been in and out of hundreds of entrepreneurial organizations, I've worked with hundreds of CEOs of companies that are building teams, but the most significant work ... or not work, the most significant data collection I've ever done, the most significant information I've ever put together is when we were interviewing teams who worked under entrepreneurs, and interviewing teams who worked for hard charging, grow and scale entrepreneurs that were out making companies exist at a higher level. Growing businesses multiple percentages a year, putting companies on the Inc. 500 and when you talk to individuals in those organizations, one of the complaints that you get most often is that they don't feel like the work that they do is valued. And here's how easy it is to make somebody feel like they don't matter. Tell them that their job is easy. Tell them it's simple. Tell them it's not a big deal. Tell them you would do it if you had the time, but you can't. The reality is, is that everybody's work has value and as an entrepreneur, the sooner we recognize that this is a fact of building businesses, that the people around us have value, the people around us are adding value, and regardless of how insignificant their contribution or their work may seem, calling it easy, makes them feel insignificant before they can even prove it to you.
A few years ago, in one of the companies that Cadey and I owned, we were in a partnership with somebody who had this habit. In fact, he was overly enthusiastic and had a hard time really just telling people what was going on and instead constantly had to talk as a motivational speaker to people and it was really frustrating for me because I never felt like he really connected with people, and one of the incredibly damaging habits that he had was regardless of what he was telling somebody to do, it was really easy. In fact, one day, I watched him get three team members on a Zoom call and we were going to be completely redesigning, redeveloping a funnel, and a marketing sequence, and an email sequence, and all of the assets that that took, all of the intelligence around it, all of the strategy behind it, and in about a fifteen minute phone call, he said, “Hey guys, this'll be easy.” Or “This is going to be easy”, or “It's not a big deal”, or something that invalidated the people he was talking to, at least fifteen times. More than once a minute, he told everybody on the phone they were insignificant, their contribution didn't matter, what they were doing was not that big a deal, it was really easy. And as we sat on that Zoom call, I could watch the non-verbals of the three people that we were talking to and at the beginning of the call, they all looked motivated and connected and like they really wanted to do what we were doing, and by the end of the call, one of them was biting their lip, another one was looking away from the screen, another one was just looking down, because they had consistently and constantly throughout the call been overtly told, “Hey, you don't really matter that much.”
And I think that entrepreneurs who have this habit, don't understand that that's really what they're doing. They don't understand that that's really what they're telling their team. You don't matter and you're not that significant. Cadey and I ended up baking out of that partnership, not just for that reason but for a lot of reasons. I think that was one of the symptoms of the fact that we were working with someone that didn't really value their team and that saw people as process and that didn't really see the fact that when we make people feel more significant, when we show them how important they are, when we show them how much they're doing for us, that's when they'll check in and do more.
I have a person on my team right now, her name's Lindsey Hester, and she has to be one of the most talented assistants we've ever had. She does the range of things that she does and the speed with which she does them and the accuracy and intelligence with which she gets things done for us, is incredible. And she's one of those people that if I say, “Hey Lindsey, can you do this a different way next time?” She'll apologize for doing it the way she did it the first time, even though it was right, even though it worked, I might just have a preference, she apologizes to me. And I consistently and constantly tell her how significant what she's doing is, because she does things for me that I'm terrible at. Are they easy? Sure, you know what? There's some people who might call scheduling easy, or managing a calendar easy, or managing email easy, or managing the hundreds of inquiries that come in to me on a monthly basis and stacking up the appointments that we have so that we maximize my time, people would say those are all tactical things that are relatively easy, but you know what? They're not. They completely and totally overwhelm me. When I open up a calendar, and I look at all the days and the dates and I start trying to schedule, I am instantly overwhelmed. I feel accelerated, and I want to shut down whatever program it is I'm in, I want to walk away. And the way that Lindsey handles things without ever getting overwhelmed, without getting flustered, without ever seeming like she has forgotten anything or missed anything, and she really doesn't, is absolutely amazing to me. And I can't imagine ever telling her that her job is easy. In fact, at least three, I hope four or five times, and maybe more times a week, I let her know, "Lindsey, it's amazing how much easier things are with you here. And it's amazing how quickly and how accurately you schedule, and you line people up, and I'm blown away by how you always have everyone lined up, or you always have the people who need to be on the phone with me at the right times, in the right times." She confirms every appointment. She really is extraordinary.
Now, if I was telling her how easy it was every day, and if I was telling her how what she did was something anyone could do, and if I was telling her that, “Hey, it's not that big of a deal.” I know that it would invalidate her, and she's amazing, so my goal is just the opposite. I want to validate everything that my team does. When they help me move forward in whatever way it is, no matter how insignificant it may seem to the average entrepreneur, here's what I know, and I've learned, over time of being an entrepreneur, and the faster you learn this, the faster you will grow your team, grow your revenues, increase your profitability, and get to where you want to go. It's learning the fact that you can not do it all by yourself. And the more you try, the slower you will go.
And if you want to end entrepreneurial anxiety and feel the momentum of constantly moving forward, surround yourself with a team that produces for you at a rate faster than you can do it on your own. Surround yourself with a team that will protect and support you so that you can operate at your absolute best every single day and surround yourself with a team of true believers who care about what you do and see their contribution as a part of the movement you're creating in the world. That's exactly how Lindsey looks at what she does for us every day. I know because we get emails and communication from her and we know that she's working, I think it's seven days a week, I occasionally tell her she doesn't need to check in on the weekends, and I'll let her know it's okay not to get up at 4:30 in the morning and first thing, dive in and start working, and I've encouraged her to do a morning routine so that she's not pushing so hard because here's what happens: when you hire true believers, you validate their contribution, you let them know just how valuable they are to you and how much they're doing for you, you don't have to ask them to work. You'll find yourself asking them to stop.
Now, start telling people that their job is easy, and they'll treat it that way. They'll start blowing it off and procrastinate and if it's so easy, maybe they can just leave it til the last minute and if you think it's easy, and they know it's not, maybe they'll just see if you can do it. And at the end of the day, the last thing we want to do is invalidate anybody working with us. Instead, we want to validate exactly who they are, what they do, and the contribution they make.
So, when you're communicating with your team, or anyone around you for that matter, listen to what you're saying and if you find your dialogue indicating that something will be easy, or it's simple, or it's no big deal, or they can do it in just a few minutes, take a step back and remember that everyone's contribution has a value and if you let them know that it's easy, if you tell them that it's no big deal, you invalidate that contribution before they begin and that will cause you a tremendous amount of challenges in leading, motivating, managing your company, and growing the output that you have. It doesn't matter how easy someone's job appears, if there's a member of your team that is helping the greater organization move forward, then even the person who comes in and answers the phone or even the person who comes in and cleans up, even the most entry level person on your team, has value, and should validated.
If you're ready to start growing your team, if you're ready to grow your team to the next level, to understand how to build the protection and support around you, so that you can make your greatest contribution, if you're ready to grow to the business that you have to the place where you know it's possible, get in touch with us. We can help. We help entrepreneurs grow incredible teams that build massive contribution-making companies. And I want to help you go out and build your empire.
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