Momentum Podcast: 302
Utilize Your Team, Or Else
by Alex Charfen
The most dangerous person in your organization is the person who is not fully utilized. I obsessively review my organizational chart, I review my team's roles and I ask myself is this person fully utilized? If they're not I have to make a change immediately. If you have someone on your team who is not fully utilized they will go looking for things to do to justify their position, this may be things you don't necessarily want them to be doing and it can be frustrating and challenging for everyone in your company. Know what your team members are doing and think about what you need from them to move your business forward.
Full Audio Transcript
Utilize your team or else. The most dangerous person in your organization is someone who is working with you and they're not fully utilized. If they're full time, that means they're utilized for full time plus a little bit more. If they are a 20 hour a week contractor, that means they have 20 hours of work to do plus a little bit more. If there's somebody in your organization who doesn't have a full position, doesn't have full utilization, it is one of the most dangerous conditions to have on a team.
Here's why. When somebody is not fully utilized, when they don't have enough to do, they will find stuff to do and most of that will be distracting, disruptive, and frustrating. That includes things like going around and randomly chatting with people, checking in with people, ping ponging around trying to look productive, creating activities to do so that they can fill time and space and that will challenge your business in a way that you don't understand until you had someone that isn't fully utilized in the company.
I have been there and it's happened. It happens to me and it still happens to me all the time. I obsessively review my organizational chart with my four R documents, so our org chart, a traditional org chart so I can see who's reporting to who and who has what tools available to them and what people available to them. Then I look at four R documents, each person on the team has a document that clarifies their role, responsibility, results, and requirements, and then I ask myself is this person fully utilized and if they're not, I have to make a change immediately because here's the issue. It doesn't matter what department they're in. If somebody is not fully utilized, they're going to try and be busy and if you haven't planned for them to do something, if you don't have clarity around what they're doing, you don't know the activities they're doing are something you want, they're going to do, or something you want them to do and this is where it's happened to me.
There's a lot of different places where it occurs, but for me it's usually in positions like sales. Sales is an easy one. If you hire a full time salesperson and you don't have enough leads, you're in trouble. Salespeople like to communicate, they like to talk. They like to see what's going on. They like to interact with people. If you have a team of people, whether you're working in person or virtually and you have an underutilized salesperson, they're going to find something to do. They're going to call people in the company, ask about sales, ask about leads. They're going to be bouncing around and ping ponging around the organization causing questions and distraction and frustration.
Another place I've seen this over and over again is in accounting and finance. There's a reason I advise most entrepreneurs, the vast majority that I've ever worked with to outsource accounting and finance because you want the bean counters out of the building. I have an outsourced accounting and finance company that I work with. Yesterday I had my monthly financial review. It took 30 minutes. We went through everything we needed to go through in 30 minutes. At a company my size a lot of quote on quote consultants out there would tell you you need a controller or a bookkeeper or somebody in finance full time. To that I say absolutely no way. I don't want somebody and no offense to people in accounting, but my consultant used, Mason Ludlow used to say, if someone counts beans all day, they get hungry and I don't want a bean counter in my business just hanging out and bouncing around. Accounting and finance people, they're not good at most things in a business other than accounting and finance.
There are rare exceptions, but I haven't found a lot of them and I don't want someone in our organization trying to be productive once all the accounting and bookkeeping is done. And let's be honest, that's a finite amount of work. There's not endless things for your accounting to finance and finance person to do and most of the time they have a hard time picking up other stuff. Here's another place. In a lot of smaller organizations because managing and dealing with people and hiring is so hard. CEO's will bring on somebody in an HR capacity and here's the issue. If you're not consistently hiring and interviewing and bringing people on, you run out of things for an HR person to do. Now granted, they can set up hiring systems. They can set up your employee handbooks, they can set up the details of what you should do in order to hire people. Those are all one time activities that need minimal updating and then they'll help you hire people, but then what do they do after that? If you're not hiring and you have an HR person who doesn't have anything to do or isn't fully utilized and then a little bit more, they can become a massive distraction. You don't want an HR person going around and talking to people, figuring out what they're doing, trying to determine what the roles are, because that person's manager should be. You should look at the org chart for that. Who Do they report to? That person should be doing those things. An under utilized HR person can be a nightmare and I've been in this situation.
I remember a few years ago actually having to let an HR person go because we were growing like crazy as a company. We hit a lull in activity. We didn't have a lot to do and the HR person well ended up going around and talking to people and I know it sounds a little dramatic, but they caused like challenges and they had weird conversations with people where they asked all kinds of questions about their role and their responsibilities and the HR person was trying to find efficiencies in the organization and because they didn't directly manage the people it's like having a third party come in and tell you what people are doing and because they ask so many questions, people got uncomfortable. It actually got weird and I ended up asking them to stop doing it. They kept doing it. I had to let them go. Get them out of the organization because literally on a daily basis I was getting inquiries and weird looks and uncomfortable situations with people who worked with us because they felt like they were going through an inquisition because my HR person had to find something to do, had to justify their role.
So if you're not fully utilizing your team, this can become a major challenge and if you're in a position where you feel uncomfortable with someone on your team, if you're in a position where you don't feel like somebody is productive on your team, if you have been in a position where you just have that intuition that something's not going quite right, I want you to ask yourself a simple question that as entrepreneurs we overlook. Are they fully utilized? And this is important because this is a place we always overlook. You know why? Because you as an entrepreneur, since the day you declared you were going to start a business, chances are you have never been under utilized.
Can you remember the last day you got up and you said, I have nothing to do. I mean, you might have had a day where you said, I don't know what to do because you were so overwhelmed, but can you remember the last day that you said I don't have enough to do because we are constantly in a condition of wanting to do more, wanting to create more, wanting to have higher productivity, wanting to have higher effectiveness, efficiency. We don't assume that the challenge we're having with somebody is that they're not fully utilized, but when we ask that question, you may see that you're in a position where you have somebody on the team that you don't really need full time.
Now there's solutions. If you have someone who's been a productive team member and you're in a position where you don't need them fully utilized possibly you can take them to a contract position or part time position or start paying them hourly. If you're in a situation where you have a position that isn't full time, see if other people on the team, if you can break it up, and then eliminate that position. I know it sounds ruthless, but sometimes you have to to maintain full utilization on your team and use the tools that will show you what's really going on.
You have to document what's happening in your company. Have clear four R documents that are updated for each person that show the role, the responsibility, and the result that each person has. Make sure that you know what they're doing. Look at the org chart and ask yourself, compare that org chart to the strategic plan that you have and say given this strategic plan of where we're going, what do I need to make the business move forward and if that person doesn't have the skills or abilities you need, if they can't move into a role where they're going to be fully utilized, you have to make a what most would call a very difficult, but I would say is a rather easy decision.
It's the decision to let them go be fully utilized somewhere else and not let them be under utilizing your organization. Because when you don't give someone enough to do, you take away their momentum. A person who's not fully utilized will not be a momentum. They will feel that lack of energy, that lull in the day. They will feel that lack of responsibility. They won't feel that they're generating results, and it's interesting how when somebody is not fully utilized, they typically can become one of the most challenging people on your team. When people don't have enough to do, they will find something to do, and as entrepreneurs I can tell you most of the time you're not going to want them doing what they do because you haven't telegraphed it, you haven't requested it, and if they start doing the right thing, let's be honest. It's only because they got lucky.
So if you've been feeling some challenges on your team, if you've been feeling some operational drag ask the question so few entrepreneurs instinctively asked, is everyone fully utilized. Go through an analysis of your org chart. Look at the documentation for each position. Ask yourself, do I need each one of these people? Is each one of them producing or does each one of them have enough going on that they're utilized one hundred percent and then some, and if your answer is no in any situation, you have to move to correct it immediately.
Growing a business and building a team is hard and having a strategic plan and keeping it updated. Understanding a communications cadence where you know whether everyone on your team is utilized, knowing how to build the infrastructure around you is something that as entrepreneurs we do not instinctively do. In fact, in my twenties, it was one of the hardest things that I did and it almost killed me.
I've spent my career creating the systems and frameworks that allow entrepreneurs to create strategic plans, build the infrastructure around them, and communicate with their team in an organized cadence that makes things happen. If you're ready to change your business, to take advantage of the opportunity you've created to build a world class game changing team come to our billionaire code summit. Meet our clients from around the world that are growing multimillion dollar businesses faster than you'd ever think. The qualifier is $300,000 a year in business and you can get in the room to our most exclusive mastermind.
Go to billionaire code.com forward slash summit. We have a promotion right now where we're discounting tickets for our September event, 75 percent, but it's only available if it's your first time attending. Billionaire code.com forward slash summit. Let me show you exactly how to fully utilize every member of your team so they create massive productivity, efficiency, and help you build your company.
And let's also discuss how when someone's not fully utilized, you recognize it, and you make a change fast so you continue to grow. Billionaire Code Dot com, forward slash summit.