Momentum Podcast: 144
Tell Your Team First
by Alex Charfen
In order to successfully build a business, you must do everything. Successfully building a business conditions to you to do everything.
When you build a team, you no longer are going to do everything, so you must change behavior. Unless your team knows where you are going, they will always be behind you. When you're team is always behind you, you will be the permanent bottleneck in your organization.
When you tell your team what is happening first, they can get out in front of you and support you. When you don't, you challenge your ability to lead, challenge your teams ability to trust you, and create insecurity and your organization.
There is a better way.
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, 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.
Tell your team first.
Here's what I think every entrepreneur's real dream looks like: I think it looks like having a business where you can call your shots; you can tell people what you and your team are going to be able to accomplish; you can put your ideas into existence faster than the person who's competing with you; you can create the outcomes that you want at a rate that you just haven't yet; and you can consistently and predictably get the results you want with a team that you trust and you like being around.
See, I think that really is Nirvana for entrepreneurs. If you wanted to say, "What would heaven be for an entrepreneur?" Throw all that stuff together. That's really what we want. See, entrepreneurs are driven to contribute at this higher level, and until we have that team around us where we feel the leverage of people around us moving everything forward, we just don't feel like we're going fast enough.
Now, here's the challenge, though. For so many of us, when we get that early leverage, when we hire those initial team members, what happens is, it feels like it's even more work. It feels like everyday we're coming into the office and trying to carry this group of people forward, and everyday we're just strapping the business on and pulling it forward and checking on what everyone's doing and wondering what they're doing and trying to understand why you're not making more progress and not seeing the results you want. And then, you have this team that you have to face everyday and be in front of and talk to understand that you're not getting the results you want, and here's what happens to people like us:
If it's happened to you, I wanna let you off the hook. It doesn't matter how nice of a person you are, if you're in this situation, you will start to develop animosity towards your team. You will start to get frustrated with them. It doesn't even matter if things are going well. You'll start to get frustrated with them, you'll start to get irritated with them. You'll start to think that they're not working hard enough, and again, it doesn't matter if things are going well because if you get into the place where your team isn't doing what you think they should, you will have a really hard time just being there. Telling your team first is the most important transition you have to make in order to create the momentum you want moving forward when it comes to what you do in the market.
Here's the challenge: for entrepreneurs, especially those of us who have built our business by doing the Facebook videos, by recording the podcasts, by creating the landing page videos, by writing the sales copy, by talking to people, by selling. Those of us who have been involved in the process the whole way through, we take a tremendous amount of ownership and pride in it, and it's also a lot of fun for us.
Once you figure things out, it's fun to hit the button on a promotion. Once you figure things out, that Facebook live button is the tease. Once you figure things out, sitting down and writing an email to your list you know is gonna convert and make you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars or more is ... that's a lot of fun. Adding a product feature, putting a benefit out there that makes even more people bite, how much fun is that? Putting the right bonuses in place? This is stuff that becomes semi-addictive for any of us who have built our business from the ground-up. I know, from the entire time I've owned any business I've ever had, I always have my hand in sales and marketing and how we're presenting and how we're selling, and I usually end up selling more than anybody in the company because we build systems around me so that I can sell more on webinars or in events or on my broadcasts or however we have in the past.
But the transition that you have to make in sales and marketing when you build a team is you have to tell your team first about every promotion, every product update or change, and every anticipated shift that you're going to make. Even operationally, you should tell your team about every anticipated operational shift because in every single team, there's different types of people. A lot of most entrepreneurs are the driver types, the person who wants to get things done and wanna make them happen, but a team needs all types of people. You're gonna have that population of people who like to take care of other people, the people who have more of an instinct towards keeping things the same, towards being stable, and you have to have those people. Here's the challenge: every change that's made scares them, so you have to let them know it's coming first.
There comes a time, right around the time where you build a team, that, if you're not telling them first about every promotion, every product, every shift that you're going to make, what happens is they're playing catch-up and your customers know first. Here's the most difficult thing in the world for people like us to do is to slow down enough that our team hears it first. To slow down enough that, once the promotion's done, our team hears it first. To schedule enough time that our team sees the webinar first. To put together enough of a schedule so that our team sees exactly what we're going to be promoting and understands exactly how we're gonna be selling it and understands exactly how it's going to be out there so they can react, they can build the systems on your side, they can understand what's coming in.
Here's what happens once you've built a team: if you keep marketing the way you always have without telling them where you're going first, they will always be behind you, and if your entire team is behind you, you will always be the greatest bottleneck. It's just math. If they're behind you, they literally can't get out in front. So how do you help them get out there? How do you help them anticipate what's coming? How do you help them make sure that they aren't behind you, that they're not following, that they're out in front, paving the way?
This is how real entrepreneurs get there: you start telling your team first. You make sure the team knows about everything that's coming. You make sure that you're showing every promotion to the team. You make sure you're showing every product change to team, that they can change the systems that they have. They can understand what's going to happen .they can look and see if they have capacity. They can adjust. And then what happens is everything starts going smoother, and the business starts moving in the direction you want. And the challenge will be that it's gonna feel like your team is pushing back on success if you do this. There will be misinterpretations and it will be frustrating and it will be hard for you to hear what they say, but the problem is if you are going out and promoting or changing your product or putting out enhancements or any of those things to the public first and not your team, it will always throw them off. If they don't have an understanding of what's coming, they must follow you.
As an entrepreneur, we like to fight from behind. We don't understand how much the rest of the world, including everyone on our team or almost everyone on our team, doesn't like to fight from behind. Because, see, here's what happens for us: we can see the future. We know what's coming. We know we're about to hit live. We know we're about to change something. For us, it's not a shock. It's not a surprise. It's not weird. It's not different.
But when our team finds out that we're promoting something or selling something or changing something and they're not the first ones to know? They feel like they're getting set up. Entrepreneurs like to fight from behind. We don't even mind if we don't go first. As long as we have a shot, we're in. But our teams, when they're fighting from behind, when they feel like they're catching up, when they feel like they were the second to know and they feel like it could've been avoided when there's any type of a hiccup? Here's what they're thinking: I'm already giving you all I can. What do you want me to do with this?
If you're running a business, like I suspect you are, every person in the business is fully utilized. I don't think any entrepreneur listening to my podcast has people just standing around looking at each other. The fact is, everyone on your team has a full-time job, and so anytime you communicate something to the market first and to them second, you've now taken everything they're doing full-time and moved it aside for them and reprioritized everything because now they're reacting to you going out to the market, promoting, changing a product, adding a feature, giving another bonus item.
Guys, here's how I know how destructive this is: I've done it all. I've announced new products on live broadcasts with thousands of people. I've changed on a five-day trip with five different promotional events, I've changed the features and benefits at each one and my team was caught reacting. I've promoted things from stage that we've never sold before. I mean, we had all of the assets, we could put them together. We delivered. We delivered at a very high level. We've never had a return issue with any of our products, but my team was always playing catch-up, and when I finally figured out how destructive it was that I was doing these things ... when I finally figured out how much it violated their trust, and when I finally figured out how much, for some of them, it caused real feelings of anxiety and panic every time I did it.
I was really lucky; I had some team members who were willing to sit down with me and tell me what it really did to them and how it made them feel, and it forever changed my opinion of how I communicate sales and marketing to my team. My team knows when something's coming, and we let them know we're making a price change or I'm thinking about it before I make it. When we're gonna promote something, they know way ahead of time. I want them to be able to anticipate what we're going to need, what kind of clients are going to show up, and what we're going to need to be able to do to operate at the highest level.
What I really want is I wanna make it as easy as possible for them because every person on my team is working a full-time job. I have a team of true believers, fanatics, and I'm not kidding. I really do. Every one of them gets in early and stays late and checks in on the weekends and does a ton, and I never, ever wanna be causing them constraint when it's avoidable. And if the difference between them feeling overwhelmed and anxious and real feelings of anxiety is me slowing down enough to communicate any change to them first, give them a chance to get used to it, understand what's going on, and then announce it do the rest of the world? That is a small price to pay to keep my team in full momentum, to build trust, to get them excited about working with me or to keep them excited about working with me and to deliver to our clients at the absolute highest level with the team we have.
When you tell your team first, they get out in front and that's when people produce at the very highest level. When people understand the rules and they can anticipate what's coming next, they tend to win all the time. When it comes to sales and marketing and your product and any shifts you make in your organization, they key is to tell your team first. Let them anticipate what's coming and help you get there. When you make this shift, you can run any size company you want because a business is made up of a culture of duplicating decision making.
When you tell your team where you're going and you let them anticipate what's coming next and they understand any change and any adjustment before the market does, you build a culture where duplication of decision-making is easier and clearer and less ambiguous than a culture where the team is constantly trying to catch up. When you build a culture where the team is trying to catch up and constantly behind and the market knows first and promotions are affecting them, it's hard to build a culture of predictability; it's hard to build a culture a of performance; it's hard to build a culture of trust. When you tell your team first, you will build a culture where all of those things are a reality because you're leading by example and showing them that they have a safe place to work where they can anticipate what's coming.
I know the addictive feeling of wanting to push the button, but I also know how rewarding it is to have a team that will consistently succeed, to watch people transform in their positions, and to have bigger and bigger promotions as a company grows and scales that continue to succeed at an even greater level because everyone on the team is helping us get there.
If you're growing or scaling a business and ready to take yours to the next level, get in touch with us. I'd love to have a conversation with you. If you have a million-plus dollar business or you've had a month where your business hit an $83,000 or about a $1 million a year run rate, reach out to us. We have a group where entrepreneurs are growing and scaling their business far faster than they ever thought they could, and they're doing it without the pain of building a team. In fact, when you build a team the right way, time with your team will give you momentum, I guarantee it.