Momentum Podcast: 636
Success Should Be Absolute
by Alex Charfen
When I was younger, I made it very difficult for myself to lead people. I had a hard time creating trust with my team, and I would break it often without realizing just how bad it made things. I would set up meetings, and normally I was late most of the time. I would make commitments and then break them. Sometimes I would miss meetings with my team altogether because something “more important” had come up.
This challenged trust, and made it very difficult for me too lead my team and game consensus. When I look back on it, I had no idea that I was the cause of most of the managerial problems I was experiencing with my team.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum Podcast.
Success should be absolute. In this episode of the Momentum Podcast, Alex gets very vulnerable about his personal history as an entrepreneur and a business owner. In particular, Alex is going to share with you about the hard time he had creating trust with his team and the process that he uses now to build trust, eliminate managerial problems, and get the whole team into momentum. I hope you enjoy.
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.
On some of the podcasts. I do some of these lives that I come and do. I get to get very in touch with my younger self. When I was 20 years old in business. I was 21 when I started in formal business. Prior to that, I had a window washing company, a financial company. I had, had team members before, but in my 20s is when I really think of my formative years leading a team, running a business, and I made so many mistakes. The title of this is, Success Should Be Absolute. And here's what I mean by that. Here's why I said success should be absolute. When you set up time with your team, when you set up time with the people who you work with, that should be the time that you make absolutely every single part, every single time.
And to be very candid, in my 20s I did things the opposite way. Let me describe to you what that looked like. When I was in my 20s, I used to set up meetings with my team, tell them all that I would be there. And then I would be late. I used to routinely set up meetings with my team. I laugh now because I'm embarrassed and I'm shocked that I'm even saying this out loud based on how I run a company now, but I used to set up meetings with my team and then not show up. And I would routinely set up meetings and reschedule them or change them or break trust with my team.
Knowing what I know now about building a team, about leading people, about creating the environment where people are willing to be led, are willing to give you massive clarity or massive commitment to what they're doing and give you time and really give you discretionary efforts. Here's what I know now. When I was in my 20s, I did more to break trust and turn my team off and stop them from working hard, then I did to actually get them engaged and moving forward and creating momentum and making things happen. And the biggest part of that was, that I would routinely break trust with my team because trust is actually very difficult to build, but it's very easy to eliminate and annihilate. Let me explain what I mean, in order to build trust with your team, it really takes three things.
Number one, it takes time. People trust you when they've been around you for a period of time, when they've watched how you behaved, when they understand what you're going to do next. Time is one of the biggest factors in building trust with your team members. So when you hire someone, the clock is running that you are now building trust with them. You are confirming who you are. You're confirming their decision to work with you. You're confirming their decision to spend their future with you as you work with them ongoing, you are building trust. And then the second thing that it takes to build trust with your team, is consistency. This is one of the biggest issues for us as entrepreneurs. It's very hard for us to be consistent, it's hard for us to show up in a consistent way.
In fact, when I talk to entrepreneurs and we talk about our program and I tell them, I have a weekly meeting with my team. I have a monthly meeting. I often have them like gut reaction say, "Oh, I don't want to have a weekly meeting on my calendar. You mean, you show up to the same meeting every week, over and over again." And the answer is absolutely, yes. Here's why, when I'm I was younger in my 20s, I didn't do that. And the amount of interruptions and got a minutes and inquiries and I need to get your help on something. I need an answer from you. That I would get all week was overwhelming. And I now know at 47 years old, having run companies for almost three decades or over three decades, if you count the stuff I did in my teens. I now know that if you have a meeting with your team, you set things up, you build trust with them. You're consistent. You show them that you're showing up for them. You don't get the got a minutes and the interruptions and everything else because you set people up for success. And if you do it the right way, it actually saves you time throughout the week to have that meeting with your team.
And the third way you build trust, so first one is time. You spend time with people, it builds trust. The second one is you make commitments. You keep those commitments at a very high level, that builds trust. And here's the third one, and this is big, consistency. And I don't mean consistently missing meetings with your team or being late. I mean, consistently being the first person there, or at least being one of the first people there and showing up on time and making it important. And showing your team that time with them is important. Here's why this is so important on so many different factors.
So one, if you set up a time with your team and you don't show up, here's what you are communicating to them. They are not important. You're communicating to them ... I just got a phone call. Like if I start to record or I do this in any way, I'm going to get interrupted. I'm now getting used to it. So if you set up time with your team and you don't show up, you're not there. You are showing them, they are unimportant. You are showing them, they don't matter. You're showing them that whatever came up is more important than they are. So unless it's a car accident or an illness or an issue with your kid or family or something, do not miss time with your team. And never casually miss time with your team.
Back then when I would be late, I'd show up, I'd have 10 people waiting for me for a meeting. I'd show up 20 minutes late. I walk in and say, "All right, let's get started." Today, if I'm three minutes late for a meeting, I show up and I say, "Hey, I'm really sorry. This should not have happened. This time's important. I apologize that I'm late." And then I tell them whatever the excuse is. And hopefully these days it's good. Sometimes life gets in the way. And if it does, I never just jump in and start rolling into the meeting. I want my team to know that I'm sorry that I missed. I want them to know that the commitment was important to me. I want them to know that this is not me stepping out of being consistent and giving them time.
Because building trust with your team as you do, here's what any entrepreneur knows, who has figured out this trust equation. If your team trust you and you trust them, you will get far more done in a much shorter period of time than you ever thought possible. Now on the flip side of that coin, if your team lacks trust with you and you lack trust with them, it will take you forever to get stuff done. Let me tell you why. If there's not trust on your team, here's what happens. When they're going to do something, they want verification. They're going to ask you, this is what happened to me. When they're initiating a project or getting something done, they're going to want to verify with you, they're doing the right thing. When you are inconsistent in your communication, when you're inconsistent in how you show up, they are going to be really scared to do anything that is not going to be correct. It's not going to be right, because your inconsistent behavior, they don't want to trigger that or make it worse or make it more challenging.
And so when you create an absolute structure with your team, everything changes. Hey Josh, it's good seeing you, man, excited to have you in the program. Super excited. When you create consistency with your team, when you create an absolute structure and here's what I mean by success should be absolute. If you set up a meeting with your team, you absolutely will be there. If you set up a structure where you have a series of meetings, you're going to have with your team, make those the most important on the calendar. In fact, in our business, for annual planning, for quarterly planning, not only do we tell our team those are the most important meetings on the calendar. We actually blackout days off on those days. Everybody will be in our annual planning. Everybody will be in our quarterly planning. We make our meetings and the time that we spend together so important, we actually mandate that they have to be there and I've had people ask me, can you do that? Of course you can.
Every major public corporation out there has blackout dates on the calendar that says, you can't take time off during this time. You have to be here during this time in order for us to get what we need to get done as a team. So the flip here is, to go from making time with your team not important to making it the most important. And here's what happens, if you're willing to do that, if you're willing to make time with your team, the most important time on your calendar. Number one, you will immediately start seeing your team show up and be more consistent. And it does not feel like a direct response. Like if I show up for meetings, my team's more consistent, but we really need to think about that. If energetically, you model consistently, if physically you model consistency and you show your team that you're going to be there for them. Here's what you get back from your team. They in return are consistent. They in return will show up for you.
And so first things first, when you're modeling what you want, you start to get a lot more of it. And if you go from treating time with your team, as though it's not important to treating it as if it's the most important here's what will happen. And I know why this happens. The reason we treat time with our team as if it's not important, I've been there, is because it feels frustrating. It feels like time that's not really well spent. It feels like we could be doing something else more important. It feels like the thing that just came up, even though I got a meeting with my team, I need to do this, now. Then I'll go to the meeting with my team.
And so what ends up happening is time with your team feels challenging. It feels frustrating. It was like constraint, but here's what happens. And again, this is a hard equation to see unless you've been through it. When you start treating time with your team as though it's more important. When you are more consistent, when you create a higher level of commitment, here's what will happen. Time with your team, are you ready for this? We'll give you momentum. I want you to think about that.
As entrepreneurs, we're so scared of meetings, we're scared of schedules, we're scared of getting tied down. We're scared of having to be in the same room every week. But what if, that one hour a week you spend with your team gave you and your team, massive momentum. These days, my team accomplishes more in a week than ... With the 10 people we have, we accomplish more in any given week. I used to have teams of 20 or 30 people that couldn't accomplish as much as we do right now. Because time with my team gives me momentum. I'm excited to be with them. I'm excited to show up and share with them. I'm excited to set up our productivity with them. And it changes everything, time with your team creates momentum, because I like every entrepreneur had been in a situation, where showing up to a team meeting feels frustrating and challenging. Like the last thing you want to do.
These days, I can honestly, transparently and authentically say, when I see a team meeting coming up these days, when I see a quarterly planning or a monthly or a weekly, or anytime I'm going to be with my team. I'm actually excited it's on the schedule. Here's why, as entrepreneurs I always joke around that we love the movie Iron Man. And by the way, I've checked, this is men and women. Entrepreneurs love the movie Iron Man, because you want to see a human being become boosted at all levels, right? So Iron Man puts on the suit and now he's stronger and he can fly and he can hear, and he can see forever. He can do all this stuff. What do we want as entrepreneurs? We want to be boosted. We want to be able to get more done. We want to be able to get into higher levels of momentum. We want to make more things happen.
Well, here's what know about getting into a meeting with my team. It's like putting the Iron Man suit on. If I'm willing to take that hour once a week, not willing, like these days I'm excited. But if I'm there, if I'm consistent, if I show up in the right way, if I'm supportive to my team, if I'm energetically there. I'm not doing other stuff on my side of the computer. I'm not looking at other things on the computer. I'm actually, they're energetically supportive, verbally supportive, asking questions, coaching, helping them. Here's what I know happens in that one hour. It is exactly like putting on the Iron Man suit for the rest of the week because I give up one hour and then the 10 people on my team, let's just say, they're working 40 hours a week. I know some of them work a lot more. We talk to them about that all the time.
So I go into one hour and I get 400 hours of leverage. Tell me that's not like being an Iron Man. Tell me, that's not like being boosted. Like this is the condition we want as entrepreneurs, but it takes a level of maturity and a level of understanding to say, the trade off of having this weekly meeting on my calendar and committing to it and making it absolute, not messing with it. I will absolutely be there. My team will absolutely be there. The trade off is, I get 400 leveraged hours right now. As my team grows, that grows. When Cadey and I were running the CDP designation, we got up to almost 100 people on my team. So that weekly meeting that I was in with my leadership that went down into weekly meetings with all of the departments, it was one hour for 4,000 hours of productivity or more. That is like being Iron Man on steroids. And we're on our way back there.
And so here's the tactics that you should understand. So number one, create a schedule, a cadence. Tell your team when you're going to meet with them and why. In our business, that's what we show entrepreneurs how to do. To go from spending about half to 75% of their time, managing the team, making sure the train runs on time, making sure everybody has their questions answered, which for the average entrepreneur is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,200 hours a year. Yeah, more than full time. Just doing those things, not being productive. We take it from that, to doing it in about 300 hours a year before you have a leadership team. And then once you have departments and the leadership team, it's about 450 hours a year.
And so when you look at that, that is a huge reduction in time savings, but it also is a massive increase in effectiveness because when you have a schedule, a cadence that you've spelled out, that your team knows you're going to be there, that increases trust. When you show up and you're consistent. Consistency actually is one of the massive major factors in building and maintaining and improving trust. And then the third thing is, when you keep commitments, you will get increased commitment from your team. You know what? This might be the easiest way to say this, if you are consistent with your team, if you treat them like they are absolutely the most important, they will do the same back for you. So you'll get more productivity out of the team that you already have.
You are already making an investment in that team. Do you want more productivity out of the team that you already have? This will help you get there. So be more like me in my 40s, than me in my 20s, because looking back on it now, I'm a 100% certain. I probably was late or modified or changed the schedule on my team. probably more than half of the time. No wonder I had a hard time building trust and consistency in that business. No wonder, I had a hard time with consistent growth in that business until about six or seven years in. It was because I was inconsistent. I wasn't building trust. I wasn't getting the commitment out of my people, but if you show up and you keep your schedule, you show up and you're consistent. You keep the commitments. You will not only get increased commitment from your team. You will find that time with your team will give you momentum. And for us as entrepreneurs, let's get real, momentum is what it's all about. Thanks for being here. And if you'd like to understand how to actually do this, how to do this in a clear way, how to do this in a structured way, how to set up a communications cadence. Create a strategic plan, communicate it to your team, so everyone knows what's going on and you can move forward with momentum. Don't hesitate to reach out to us. You don't have to do this by yourself. We have hundreds of companies and coaching memberships that create a community where we are helping each other. We are moving forward and we are helping business owners understand exactly how to create maximum momentum with the minimal amount of effort. Showing up for a team meeting will give you leverage with your team. It will show them that you're consistent. It's going to make them have an increased commitment to you.
So if you'd like some help, go to Predictablebusinesssolutions.com, Predictablebusinesssolutions.com. Answer a few questions for my team. Jump on a call with one of us and let us show you how to increase your team's commitment. Get more productivity out of every team member, build trust and get it to where a time with your team feels like momentum. It's one of the most amazing feelings you can have as an entrepreneur. I'd love for you to have it. Reach out to us, Predictablebusinesssolutions.com.