Momentum Podcast: 263
Everyone Carries Boxes
by Alex Charfen
While we have specific roles, everyone can and should do what is necessary. The question your team members should ask is ‘What else can I do to help?' Expect to carry boxes.
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.
Alex Charfen: 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.
Alex Charfen: Everyone carries boxes. There's a book called Everybody Wins that was written about RE/MAX, Dave Liniger's company, and Dave and I became pretty good friends right after around 2007. When the market collapsed, Katie and I wrote the CDPE designation, and RE/MAX was one of the companies that really got behind our product and helped us get it out there. We did tens of millions of dollars in partnerships with them, trained over 10,000 RE/MAX agents. Dave jumped on his private jet and flew all over the country promoting our product for us. So, needless to say, I got very close to Dave and developed a high level of respect and admiration for just what an incredible leader he is, and the business that he built in RE/MAX.
Alex Charfen: There's an interested book written about RE/MAX. It's called Everybody Wins, and the authors of the book were actually going out and looking at research around fast growth companies and investigating fast growth companies internationally, and then they happened upon RE/MAX and decided to write a book about RE/MAX's culture because in the comparison with all of the other companies that they were looking at, RE/MAX just stood out like crazy, and it was so fast growing and such an intense culture and such an incredible company that they just wrote the book about RE/MAX alone, and it's called Everybody Wins.
Alex Charfen: In that book, there's a description of how every role at RE/MAX says at the bottom, "And other," so it doesn't matter what you do at RE/MAX. There's always the description, on your job description it says, "And other," or, "Other as necessary," and here's why. Dave Liniger created at RE/MAX a culture where everybody carries boxes, and here's what that means. That means that if there's something that needs to get done, if there's an event, if there is something happening for the company, if there's not enough resources there, if there's not enough people there, it doesn't matter what your title is, who you are, what you do for the organization. Everyone carries boxes.
Alex Charfen: There's actually a story in the book of an executive early on, that there was a party thrown and Dave was there, his wife was there, a bunch of people were there, and the executive left without helping clean up. Dave, his wife, the other people stayed there, and Dave actually fired him. He got rehired, but he fired him for leaving the party and not helping everybody else clean up, because RE/MAX was an atmosphere where everyone carries boxes.
Alex Charfen: In my companies, I want the exact same thing. Now, let me very clear about something. This doesn't mean it's a free-for-all where everybody in the company does everything. That doesn't make sense. That's silly. That's just one of those organizations where people are gonna run into each other, and it's not fun to work in a company like that, but here's what I do mean about everyone carries boxes, is that while we have the specialization of roles, no one is special, not even more. In fact, we have very clear, for our documents, for everyone on our team, we have spelled out the role, responsibilities, requirements and results, exactly what we expect from you, so what your responsibilities are, what results you're driving. Every single person on our team has that documented.
Alex Charfen: However, at the bottom of every role in our organization, it says, "And anything else as required by the growth of the organization," and here's why. In a fast growth company, you never know when you're gonna need all hands on deck to get things done. In a fast growth company, you do what you have to do. Everyone should do what's necessary, and that includes up to carrying boxes, and in our company, that's been demonstrated over and over and over again. In fact, just a couple weeks ago it happened.
Alex Charfen: We were having an event here in town. My team was in from all over the world. We just started this company in July of last year, so we're just one year old today. The processes, the procedures, the systems that I'm used to having in an organization are all being developed. They're not there yet, and we had this event where my team was here, and we were getting ready for an event at my house, and we all were carrying boxes. Some of us were literally carrying boxes in and out of the house, and I sat down with a few of my team members, and I actually sat and helped cut out the name tags for the event, and we stuffed the name badges into the little holders, and we made sure that the area downstairs where we had the reception was ready, and that everything was there like we wanted it to be.
Alex Charfen: We were making certain that when our guests got there, everything was exactly as we wanted it, and everything was like we expected, and here's what was great about it. Everybody on my team carried boxes. Not one person on the team complained that it wasn't their job, wasn't their role. Nobody said, "Hey, I don't think this is what I'm supposed to be doing." Everybody just did what we needed to do in order to get to the destination for the entire team, and no one asked questions. In fact, the question I heard most often when my team was all working together was, "What else can I do to help?"
Alex Charfen: If you go out and you recruit a team where you're looking for people who are conscientious and they want to win, and they want to be part of a team, and they want to grow together, what you'll find is that you often also find people who have no problem carrying boxes, and I actually say this overtly in our interviews to everybody who's ever joined our company. I tell them, "I want you to understand something. Your job description in our organization is very clear, and it will give you exactly your specialization until you're not anymore, because every person in our organization is expected to carry boxes when we need them moved, and it doesn't matter who you are or what level you are or how much you get paid or how much you earned last year or what you did in your previous position. In our company, we all do what needs to be done."
Alex Charfen: I love Dave Liniger for giving me the inspiration and giving me the permission to run my organization this way because I think what so many CEOs do and what you might have done already, and you can undo, is that we put people into these positions where they are are a insert whatever it is. So, this is a customer service rep, and this is a salesperson, and this is our designer, and this is ... The roles are so myopic and so focused that those people don't feel like they have to do anything else to help us, and what often happens is when somebody's a designer, they don't want to do anything else for the company. When somebody's a salesperson, they don't want to do anything else for the company.
Alex Charfen: What happens in organizations like that, especially small, fast growing businesses, like the one I hope you're running, is that you can't possibly be magical enough and prepared enough and perfect enough to hire exactly the right mix of people and contractors at the right time so that everything in the company is getting done by somebody who is specialized in that thing. It will almost never happen.
Alex Charfen: So, as a result, what happens in my organization and in every small organization from time to time, we ask people to take on parts of a role that they weren't even hired for. In fact, I have an incredible team member named Justin Hester on my team. Justin's been in customer service his entire career. He's run customer service departments. He runs our customer service department. He was actually a police officer at one point, which he considers just customer service in a different uniform, and he's an incredible individual.
Alex Charfen: The one thing that Justin has never done in his entire life is any type of sales. Well, we recently had a scenario where we needed somebody to make the first sales call. Not to make the closing call, but to get on and do qualifying calls with people who are applying to work with our organization, and we asked Justin Hester to do it, and he did. Not only has he adjusted to doing it, he adjusted to doing it, and within a few weeks, he started selling people by accident on the initial discovery call. He literally closed someone because he talked so passionately about our company, and this is someone who's never been in sales in his life.
Alex Charfen: Why? Because he's willing to carry boxes. That call was just another call. That was just something he was asked to do for the organization. He didn't ask, "How long am I gonna have to do this?" He didn't ask, "Why do I have to do this?" He didn't ask, "How quick can we get somebody else to do this?" He asked, "How do I do it as well as I possibly can, because if that's what the team needs, that's what I'm gonna do," and that's what I look for in every person that works for me. I want someone who's not embarrassed about carrying boxes, because when we have an event, when we have growth, when we have a promotion that goes over the top, we will almost always end up with a deficit somewhere.
Alex Charfen: Here's what happens in most entrepreneurial organizations when deficit arises. The entrepreneur jumps in. The person who's running the entire business, the person who's responsible for everybody's income, the person who has the highest level of responsibility, and the highest level of what they need to be doing, jumps in and starts doing whatever is missing, because as the entrepreneur in charge, we see it as the only option there is, and if you've been doing this, if you've been covering the deficits for your team, if you've been the one who's jumping in and carrying all the boxes, if you haven't been getting help from your team, then this podcast is exclusively for one thing for you.
Alex Charfen: It is to help you get permission to have your team carry boxes, change every description in your entire building to, and anything else needed and dictated by the growth of the company. Make sure that everyone in your organization knows that you have a team first and individual position second, and like I said, 100% of the people on my team day-to-day are specialized, but when we need something done, no one is special. Everyone carries boxes.
Alex Charfen: I've found that this type of a culture on my team avoids any type of entitlement, eliminates the feelings of superiority or inferiority that people have in different positions, and rallies an entire team around the cause, because from my experience, when a team of executives comes in and rolls their sleeves up and carries boxes with the rest of the team, when you have a CMO and a chief products officers and a chief marketing officer stuffing name badges for an event, when you have the person who's running your HR running around and making sure that everything's ready for the people who are showing up at your house, which are all things that happened during our last event, you know that you have the right people on your team, and that they're committed to the cause, and that they don't really care what they're doing as long as they're moving the organization forward.
Alex Charfen: Now, longterm, I wouldn't leave any of those people in those positions. It would be silly. They're way better at what they do than doing administrative tasks like name tags and moving boxes around, but for the day of our event and the fact that we didn't have everything we needed there, the reality is that my team had to jump in, and at that point, it doesn't matter what your title is. The only person that matters to us is the client and that they get everything they expect, and so everyone jumps in and makes it happen.
Alex Charfen: If you're creating a company culture for your team, consider creating a structure, creating an environment, creating a place where no one is immune from bending over and picking up a box. If you're growing your team and growing your revenues and growing your income, then I want you to do something else. Grow your net worth. As an entrepreneur, you will not recognize who you are today when you have a significant net worth backing you up. When people like you and I have a financial backstop, when we know that we have room, when we know that we have money in the bank, when we know that we have a rescue if we need it, we show up different in the world, and when we increase our net work, get out of debt and start actually having the money that we want, everything changes for us.
Alex Charfen: You can't possibly understand what it's like to live debt-free with having money in the bank until you do it, but here's what I can tell you. I've coached hundreds of entrepreneurs, maybe thousands, into this position, to the place where there is no debt, to the place where net work is going up and increasing, to the place where they're in the top percentiles of money in the bank, and here's what I can tell you about those entrepreneurs. They have a disproportionate amount of success when compared to all the other entrepreneurs I work with. I want the same for you.
Alex Charfen: So, download our net worth growth hack. It's a simple framework to show you how to radically and indelibly hack your net worth and increase it today. All you have to do is go to charfen.com, or sorry, go to billionairecode.com/networth. Again, billionairecode.com/networth, download our three-step net worth hack, and you'll never look at net worth the same way again, and hopefully yours will start going up immediately. Billionairecode.com/networth.