Momentum Podcast: 562

Part 3: Business Building Secrets

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

In this episode, we get into part three of my presentation over Business Building Secrets. The conversation is continued with a few of our members over the communication structure we teach, the Charfen Cadence. Listen in as they share how they are now able to leverage the most precious resource of all…time. 

If you are just catching this four-part series, make sure to go back and listen to parts one and two. Part three is so critical to this sequence because there’s a reason why so few entrepreneurial CEOs are successful – they don’t understand how to leverage time. Tune in as our guests talk about how they’ve been able to overcome this challenge by using our processes and frameworks. They share with you what life looks like for them now, how they’ve been able to get their time back, and more. If you’re a CEO, this is an episode you don’t want to miss! 

Full Audio Transcript

Alex Charfen: This is the Momentum Podcast.

Jeremy Bergeron: Hey everybody, this is Jeremy Bergeron, business strategist with Alex Charfen's amazing team. In this episode, Alex continues a conversation with some of our members about the communication structure that we teach. It's called the CHARFEN Cadence. In this episode, you'll hear them talk about how they're able to leverage the most precious resource we all have, time. There's a reason why so few entrepreneurial CEOs are successful. It's because they don't understand how to leverage time. So, listen to some of our members talk about how they've been able to do that, using our framework. I think you're going to love this one.

Alex Charfen: 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.

Awesome. Awesome. Okay, so the second thing I want to talk about, so what we show entrepreneurs how to do is create a strategic plan. We've talked about that. We call that plan a waterfall. Now, one of the biggest issues with having a strategic plan, because there's so many companies that teach, make your plan. The challenge is, if you only have a plan, it's an inert object, it doesn't matter. It's not going to go fix everything on its own. The second part is setting up a structure through which you communicate. And the reason I wanted to have you guys on to communicate this to everybody is because here's what I always tell entrepreneurs. "If you don't have a structure within which you communicate, nobody knows what's going on."

And I think immediately what everybody thinks to themselves is, "That's not right. They know. I tell them. It's okay." And they try to start self-soothing. I can watch it when I say it in groups, the people who get squirmiest I know are the ones who are communicating the poorest. So when it comes to communicating with your team, what has that cadence structure of meetings and targeted interactions done for you? And just so that we can stay in like an out of order, Amanda, I'm going to come right back to you to answer first.

Amanda: Okay. Well, I kind of allude to it a little bit and Alex and I talked many times about me dragging my feet about doing the 101s. Because to me, I started doing them finally and then they were just painful because it was me having them all report to me on their projects instead of turning it into more of a dialogue. And at that summit, we talked about that, to turn it more into a wait, "How can I help you accomplish what you're supposed to accomplish?" And still some of the times, they are quick meetings, and they got what they need. Then yesterday, every one of my weekly interactions was an hour long because we were dealing with some stuff. I feel like I'm a coach now to them instead of a boss that they have to come and report to. So that's changed my interactions with everybody, hugely.

Alex Charfen: Well, I think what you just said is so important Amanda, because what I heard is, you've stepped out of trying to be a manager, which we all are very challenged by and you've stepped into a firm leadership position because whenever somebody says on coaching, what you should hear is I'm leading.

Amanda: Right.

Alex Charfen: So what does that switch from management to leadership been like for you?

Amanda: I think it's helped, well not only me be a better person, but I also see growth within my team. Where they are, like I said, coming up with ideas. Just because it was my idea and how to implement it, doesn't mean it's the best idea.

Alex Charfen: Yeah.

Amanda: I kind of had that perception for awhile too. But once I opened the doors to allow them to talk to me and asked me, "Well can we do it this way and this is why?" I'm like, "Oh that makes perfect sense. You should have come up with the idea to begin with." You know? So the growth of them as people and as employees is amazing and it makes me as happy as the revenue growth does.

Alex Charfen: Yeah. That's so awesome. Congratulations Amanda. It's such a such a massive change from where you were and we can give you the content but unless you implement and are willing to be open to change, then it doesn't matter. The amount of shit, every time I see you, I feel like you've changed a year but I've only seen you like a few months ago. So I just want to acknowledge that that's a massive amount of mental shifts that you've gone through.

Wallace, in a large established company, you already have meetings and stuff set up and everything. So when I told you like, "Hey Wallace, the solution to this is to set up really focused meetings." You looked at me like, "You don't understand man, meetings in my company are terrible." So what has setting up a communication structured done in a situation like that where you have an established business and a lot of people?

Wallace: I hated meetings previously, because just everything we talked about. They were so unproductive, they were so unstructured. Everybody felt like it was a waste of time. So really, not only me when I heard about all the meetings in cadence, but those people on my team where I started talking about, "Hey, we're going to meet every day with this huddle." They ignored us about it. It just looked like so many meetings. Right?

But the incredible thing that happened is that adding that focus where there was actually a clear choreography and predetermined outcomes to what we're trying to do. It changed meetings to something that we really looked forward to, that we got a ton of value out of. The biggest surprise for me was how efficient we were able to be very, very quickly with those meetings. Within a week or two, our meetings were running faster than you had led us to believe.

You kind of gave us predetermined ideas of, it should take about this much time. And I was like, "Oh that's not how much time a year." And we do it way faster than the numbers that you put out, but we get a real usable outcome from every single meeting. And one of the big benefits for me personally, was that I feel better in touch with most of my team. But since there are these defined times where you get to ask for whatever you need in a huddle, if there's a critical issue, you've got your weekly report to communicate with me. We've got weekly one on ones to communicate with whoever your direct supervisor is.

It has almost entirely eliminated all of the got a sec moments where people would poke in and "Hey, quick question for you. I need this, can you do this? Can you do that?" Pretty much all of that is gone. And I had no idea how much time I was spending putting out those little fires all day. It completely changed my ability to move into a strategic, forward-looking role within my company rather than chief firefighter.

Alex Charfen: Oh, that's so awesome, Wallace. So awesome. In that transition from the firefighter to the strategic role... one of the things that I think we don't realize as entrepreneurs, is the physical toll that being in an uncomfortable environment takes on us. And it's not until that discomfort's removed that you go, "Whoa, something was really bad wrong here." Did you feel that transition?

Wallace: Oh, 100%. I don't think I'm unique in this as an entrepreneur, but I hate that stuff. As you said, makes me literally, physically uncomfortable. So I would try to avoid people. I'd know somebody needed to see me and I'd be going around the corner because I didn't want to feel that. But yeah, it's like being able to breathe again. Getting rid of all of that bogging down, lacking momentum, crappy energy of all the got a sec and firefighting.

Alex Charfen: That's awesome. I want to hear from Andrea and Justin as well. So Andrea, let's go to you next. It's interesting because you are in a practice of one person, this is a unique situation. I know there's a lot of people who are going to hear this, that are in that place where, maybe they have a VA, maybe they have an assistant, but they're the major driving force in the business. You brought in a person to help you organize these meetings and then you became a passenger. You let that person run the meetings, but you participated. What did having that structure, having that schedule, having the minimum effective dose amount of interactions, do for you in this transition?

Andrea: I think I'm going to mirror a lot of what Wallace said, where I was so worried about having this person onboarded incorrectly or I didn't know what I was going to have her do or I didn't want her to feel like I was managing her. It almost forced me to take a step back and allow her to completely control the situation. So, so long as I would put in my input here or there, I would basically let her drive all the decisions and I would kind of just say, "Yes, I love this. Let's try it." Or, "You know what? I'm going to challenge you on that. I really don't feel comfortable, let's do this." But for the majority of what I had to learn was, let her set things up the way it makes sense for her because that's why I hired her, is to create all of the project and manage me, which was the person that I had been wanting to attract.

But what I can say to that as well, not only having her on managing, so when I brought in my newest associate, I also had Laura meet Megan. She started to manage Megan and onboard Megan where I didn't have to. Tell Megan like, "This is how things are done. This is the motivation behind our company. These are the numbers that we're trying to achieve." And within that first week Megan was like, "Oh, I can't wait for us to get to 40 patients. And how are we going to make that count?"

So now, on our daily huddles, I can really hear how much, not only is Laura proud of what she's created by running these meetings and managing everything. I'm also hearing how excited Megan is as that associate to be a part of our business. Which proved to me that the model works because I only had a net of one. I was like, "Great. I manage one person and she's cool, but bringing on that second person and how quickly she felt comfortable and rewarded and acknowledged. And also had autonomy, which is a huge thing that everybody is looking for. That was when I was finally like, "Wow, this is working."

Alex Charfen: Oh, that is so awesome. Especially with a new person when they come in. Here's what I often share with people is, if you have a structure where you have clear outcomes, people understand their roles and you have scoreboards that tell them whether they're winning or losing, that they will always engage and get excited about it. You saw that with a new practitioner coming in?

Andrea: Yeah, and I was so nervous. For the whole month I was stressing out about what was that going to look like and that transition going to look like? On that very first day when Megan came in I said, "I'm going to have you and Laura have a meeting." As soon as she ended that meeting and I heard how Laura took over that meeting. The way she was describing our business and the enthusiasm that she had, I was like, "Wow. Laura has completely taken control of her role. She's owning it." I didn't have to do any of that. Literally, the onboarding process wasn't even on me. All Megan has to do is show up to the meetings. Laura runs them. I'm there to hand out the awesome sauce and keep the motivation up. And that's about it. You know?

Alex Charfen: It's so awesome, Andrea. I love this. I remember when you came in. I can't remember where the conversation was, social media or in person or where it was, but I remember distinctly you saying, "Do you really think this is going to work?" Right?

Andrea: Yep.

Alex Charfen: Even for me, I'm different than... it was very similar to the conversation I had with Amanda. And honestly, similar to a conversation I had with Wallace. Wallace was like, "Established company. Do you really think it's going to work?" What we always share with people is, these are universal principles. So it doesn't matter if it's an entry level college intern or an experience physician. When you put the right systems in place, you're going to get the right stuff out of those individuals. So I love your perspective on that.

Andrea: Well your answer to me was, "If you implement it, it will work." So when I finally... because it still took me, I think a week or two before I actually signed up and I wanted to vomit every single day after signing up. Because I haven't shared revenues at all because I'm still a business of one. This has been a huge transformative year. So it's not like we've had massive growth in that way but we've had a massive restructuring that now the growth can build upon.

Alex Charfen: Yeah.

Andrea: I was just like... and I'm in Canada too guys, so it's like $1 million a month for me to be in this program. I was like, "How is this going to work?" Alex Charfen: Yeah. Andrea: I just trusted the process and because you said, "If you implement it, it'll work." I said, "I have to make this work then." I just made sure on day one, I think I am one of the fastest people to get through to the strategy call. I literally, from start to two weeks later, did the strategy call and had-

Alex Charfen: I'm sure you are the fastest.

Andrea: ... I will take that.

Alex Charfen: Yeah. There was a record. We watch that stuff and I'm pretty sure you are still the record holder and we were all blown away when you did it. Because we're like, "The minimum anyone could do it in is this, and no one's ever going to do that." I think you either did it by that or one day more.

Andrea: Yep.

Alex Charfen: So you broke our longstanding. No one will ever try.

Andrea: They haven't met me yet.

Alex Charfen: Right, exactly. So Justin, I'm going to come to you on that same same question. This is funny. I remember distinctively having a conversation with you and I think Brian was in the room.

Justin: Yep.

Alex Charfen: I was telling you guys about, "Guys, you have to schedule these meetings, you have to do them, when they should be." You were like, "Alex, Brian sits right here. We talk all the time. Why do we need to have these meetings, this doesn't make sense?" We had a conversation at the end, you were like, "Okay, I'll try it." Do you remember that conversation of how can this possibly change things?

Justin: Yeah, I do. Actually, because we started doing those meetings, he no longer works next to me. He's just goes to his own house now.

Alex Charfen: Right. It doesn't have to be there.

Justin: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I guess to your point, before I guess, we started the cadence. I don't even have a calendar to put meetings on. I'm not kidding, I did not keep a calendar. I didn't use one until we started the cadence. So it was a lot of changes for us. But I think as a result, we just started moving faster because we had that feedback loop, right?

Every day, our meetings, the critical issues or what's the problem? "Okay, do this, do this, do this, and now they're ready to go." As opposed to everything was just, "You got a minute?" Or, "Hey, I'm having an issue with this." And I'm like, "Okay, I'll stop what I'm doing." And help out Brian or Katie or whoever or vice versa. I get stuck and I have to wait on them to finish something before I can keep going.

Alex Charfen: Yeah.

Justin: So that was definitely, probably the biggest thing. We could just go faster. There was one thing that surprised me though, and this kind of came about over the past couple of months. Since doing the meetings and having the constant feedback from them and them to me. I found out, when I'm not present for those meetings, not physically absent but when I'm not there mentally, that was a sign and you guys help me figure it out. I'm overwhelmed and I have too much going on. And so that was kind of something I didn't expect to happen out of those normal communication calendared events. So I thought that was really neat. Obviously, you know about all of that. And that's something I'm going through right now.

Alex Charfen: Yeah. I want to dig in for a second. Just pause for a second Justin. Because what you just said is very profound and I don't want everybody to miss it.

Justin: Okay.

Alex Charfen: Here's what I just heard was, once there was a normality and a process to the meetings, I now could understand when I wasn't checked in it was me, I was overwhelmed. Because the meeting process was normal, because the meeting process was standardized, if I couldn't pay attention that became engaged for me. That is really profound because for most entrepreneurs, where do you realize that you're overwhelmed? Prior to that, how would you have realized you were overwhelmed?

Justin: I don't think I would have. I don't know.

Alex Charfen: Right. That's the key.

Justin: I just would have been angry.

Alex Charfen: Right.

Justin: Like, "Why is stuff not getting done?"

Alex Charfen: Right. Poor Channing.

Justin: Yeah. I have nothing to gauge it from. I never worked in corporate America. This is my first business, so I have nothing to compare it to. How is it supposed to go? I have no idea. So just having that in place really just, it puts me on the right path.

Alex Charfen: Yeah, for sure. For sure. It's such a game changer when you can start to understand where you are, based on how you're reacting to the systems in your business. It's massive.

Jeremy Bergeron: Hey everybody, this is Jeremy Bergeron. Thank you so much for listening again this week. On behalf of the entire CHARFEN Squad, we send you a ton of love. If you want to know how we're able to help the people we work with grow their business so quickly. I'll tell you why. It's because we give them back tons of their time, their effort, their energy, and their focus and we allow them to get to a point where over 50% of their time is in strategic thinking. It's in strategic activities and that's what's going to explode your business. If you want some help, head over to That's

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