Momentum Podcast: 769
Avoid Sabotaging Your Operator (And Set Them up for Success)!
by Alex Charfen
It's incredible how often I hear the story of an entrepreneur hiring an operator, usually an executive assistant, personal assistant, or a virtual assistant, where everything was going great until it wasn't.
Maybe you can relate if you ever hired someone into an operator position and then had it go wrong.
Here's what an entrepreneur typically tells me…
For the first weeks and months of having the operator in their position, they felt a ton of relief, and things were going well. They felt like it was going to work out, and they were finally going to get The help they needed.
But then things start to shift…
The operator stopped taking the initiative, they were no longer stepping up, and they weren't as much help. They started missing stuff and affecting The company and its customers. The entrepreneur begins to lose confidence in the operator and starts thinking, and they may need to get rid of them.
It is counter-intuitive, but when I hear this scenario, I almost always know that it's a mistake the entrepreneur is making and onboarding and working with their operator. This video explains how to stop sabotaging your operator and set them up for long-term success.
Your business has the potential to change the world, and the only way to see that potential become a reality is to implement a strategic plan. If you're ready to learn more, go to predictableplanningsystem.com to get started.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast. Welcome. This is all about the entrepreneur and the operator relationship, and I'm excited to be sharing this because it's such a critical issue for an entrepreneur. So let me just start with a bit of a summary. So as a company, what we do is we help entrepreneurs predictably grow and scale their businesses. We help them simplify their operations. We have visionaries get the help they need, so they don't have to do everything themselves, and they can go out and make the dance that they want to make in the universe. And one of the crucial roles that we see for every visionary is having an operator personality type that works with them. And here's what I mean by an operator personality type. Typically, the titles are something like E.A., our executive assistant, personal assistant, virtual assistant operations manager, project manager. Usually I want him to be a little more than project manager. But then as the company grows, it becomes senior operations manager, director of Operations, Senior Director of Operations, VP of operations, maybe even chief operating officer. All of those are positions that we refer to as an operator, and the operator is that person who tactically helps the entrepreneur grow the business. And here's what we see all the time we see this issue with. Let's see here. We see this issue with with operators or sorry entrepreneurs who hire an operator. They love them. They're working with them. Things are going well, working with them, they're having a good time. And then all of a sudden they're not. And here's the story I typically hear from entrepreneurs. So, hey, Alex, you know, I hired this. Let's just call it an executive assistant. And for the first few months, it was awesome. She was getting things off my plate. She was getting things done. She was stepping up. She was taking initiative. She was making things happen. It was really just a fantastic relationship. It was great. I felt like, you know, things will work this way forever. And then it's been a few months now and sometimes it's, you know, three months, sometimes it's six, sometimes it's nine months. And then they say something like and things have changed. He or she's just not taking the initiative anymore. They're not stepping up. They're missing stuff. Things in the company are getting missed. We're actually had some issues where they didn't take care of things, and I really assumed that they would. And I'm thinking of of having to move on. I'm thinking of redeploying them and finding somebody else. And you know, I've been doing this for a long time. Ages ago, when I used to get this description for an entrepreneur from an entrepreneur, I would think, Man, this is this is challenging. You probably need a new person. But now it's been decades that I've worked with visionary entrepreneurs in finding the person is going to help them or the people that are going to help them grow the business. And one of the most crucial roles is that operator role. And here's what I know about operators when we have that story. They were great and they were doing things and things were going well. And then all of the sudden they were no longer going well. Most of the time that means and I know this is tough to hear the entrepreneurs sabotaging that operator. 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. Should 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. Here's what I mean by sabotaging the operator, the operator, personality type. So one of the things to remember was an operator is that solving is not serving. Here's what happens to the operator entrepreneur relationship over time. In most cases now, is there the occasional case where the operator just has too much going on personally checks out and doesn't care anymore, doesn't want to be in the company decides they want to do something else? Absolutely. But more often than not, if an operator starts out well and then starts to decline over time, it's due to the behaviors of the entrepreneur that are making it happen. And let me share with you what those behaviors are. So the the thought that I want you to have or the theme for this video is solving is not serving. And here's why this is so important with the operator personality type. You know, at our events as a company and when we do live events, one of the things that I love to do is have an operator panel and operators are the behind the scenes people that it. People who want to work on the tactics are the people who want to set things up. They think in checklists, they think in process is they dream about complete checklists and processes. We've heard this on the panels. And so when you look at this personality type. One of the most important things for them is autonomy is being able to get things done on their own, being able to ask for help when they need it. Being able to get input when needed. But here's the challenge for an operator. If we could look in inside the mind of an operator, what we would see is all of these processes in their mind. All these routines structure in their mind. Where they're building out the process is the structure of the routine in the business, and they're doing it. They're carrying all of these things around in their head. Operators often talk about having all these balls floating around and making sure that none of them drop. And here's what happens in a lot of entrepreneur operator relationships. This is how the entrepreneur starts to sabotage the operator at the beginning. They give them a lot of leeway, they give them a lot of autonomy, they give them a lot of control over what they're doing. But then what we do as entrepreneurs, as visionaries, and I know I'm one myself and I've done this to operators that I've hired is that we start to step into much. We start to make it more and more than suggestions. We start to tell the operator how to do things. We get uncomfortable with something they're doing instead of talking to them. We say, Hey, you need to do it this way. We see them building a process and we say, Hey, you're doing it this way. I want it done this way, and it's totally different. And instead of focusing on the outcome they're getting, we start focusing on how they're doing things. We start focusing on the steps that they're taking. We start overcorrecting over steering and solving for the operator. And here's what happens to the operator personality type. When you look at those processes, they're building in their head, that structure they're building in their head, they're turning it all around. They've got all the balls floating around. But when we step in and change something, we break all those processes that they're building. When we step in and demand they do something in a certain way, we actually challenge their ability to carry all that stuff around in their head. And what happens is the more we do it, the more they will show up challenged to actually make things work. Here's why. The operator personality needs autonomy. They need space. They need to be able to make decisions, or they need to be in a discussion where a decision is made. But when decisions are made for them, it breaks the process they're building when decisions are made for them. It takes them out of their strength of understanding how to do things, how to get them done, creating efficiency, creating effectiveness, creating processes when we airstrike in in the middle and say, Hey, here's how you have to do this. We literally disable a big part of that operators ability to help us because we're doing too much. We're stepping in too much. We're over steering. We're overcorrecting. We're micromanaging. And when that happens to an operator, here's what happens. They get nervous. They get anxious. They stop doing as much. By the way, if you're an operator, police confirmed for me. This is this is how you feel. Let us know because when an operator gets too much traction, when they're oversteer, when they micromanage, they getting nervous about everything because they're no longer sending it up. You are. Every time you tell an operator, here's how we have to do this. You actually take ownership for that decision. Every time you oversteer an operator and tell them, this is how I want it done. You are actually taking ownership for that decision. So what happens is they're carrying around all this stuff in their head and then you have all these points of ownership that they're trying to please you and get the outcome you want. For me, working with entrepreneurs, my coaching is always the same. Let's focus on the outcome, not how your operator is doing something. Let's focus on what's happening, what's what's, what's actually coming through the business. And so when an operator comes to an entrepreneur and says, How do I do this? The reply that I always want us to use is, how should we do this? And instead of solving for your operator telling them what to do, you discuss things with your operator so that they understand how you're feeling. You coach your operator by saying, Here's how I have done it. Here's how maybe we could do it. You share experience with your operator. Here's how I did in the past, and it didn't really work. And then you help them answer how to do something, but you don't answer it yourself. See, as an entrepreneur, here's what we need to understand whenever we take ownership for something operational, for a decision, for a process, for a way that something is going to be done, we are sabotaging our operator success when we run our last event on the panel. And one of the operators actually said when? When an entrepreneur comes in and tells them how to do something, it makes them scared everywhere else because now it's like, Wait, now I have a liability, there's this thing I don't really understand. I need to do it this way. It's not how I was thinking of doing it, and it actually makes them retreat. Operators will lose confidence. The more you solve for them, the more you come in and say, Here's how you have to do it, the more they feel like they're doing something wrong. And so if an operator starts out really strong and then declines over time, it's often because we're solving more. We're over steering more. We're interjecting more and we're not letting them make decisions. So as an entrepreneur, here's the mantra solving is not serving. And what do I really want to? I want the process to look like. I've always done it. Or do I want to get the outcome that we're aiming for? Do I want to get the help? I need to grow this business without doing it all myself? Do I want to be able to offload when I'm uncomfortable and have an operator actually help me do that? And for me, it's all of those things. In fact, I've been doing this a long time. I'm forty nine years old. I've run tons of multimillion dollar businesses. I coached hundreds of multimillion dollar businesses. And for me, it's all about the outcome. In fact, I often tell my team, I don't care how we get there, as long as it's repeatable, as long as it's documented, as long as somebody else can pick it up and do it. But for me, what's most important is the outcome. And with the experience I have, here's what I now know when I solve something for my team, I own it. They don't own it anymore. I can't hold them responsible for the outcome when I solve it because I step in oversteer over directed and micromanage. And if you do that too often your operator, you will literally disable their ability to help you in the business, and they will start to look like they're less engaged, like they care less like they're less talented. Which, again, nine out of 10 times are absolutely not true. They're just oversteer so much they don't know how to do it themselves. And so as a company, we work with entrepreneurs and then we also work with operators in our in our programs. Most of the time, we have an entrepreneur and an operating in the program, and that's who we work with. We work with two people in each business, and our organization focus is just as much on the operator as the entrepreneur, because that relationship is how you really grow a business. And if you want to grow a business without doing it all yourself, this is the critical relationship for you. And if you already have an EEA or a an executive assistant or a personal assistant, virtual assistant manager, an operator or operations manager, anybody who's helping you operate your business, take this to heart. Don't solve for them. Help them solve. Don't tell them what to do. Help them discover what to do. Don't take over their processes. Have them explain their processes to you. Discuss them. And then have them come up with the solution. The more you give the operator control over the solution, the more you coach them, the more you discuss with them without solving and taking ownership. The more talented that operator is going to look. And if you have an operator where maybe you've already started over steering, micromanaging, doing too much, sit down and have a conversation with them, in fact. Watch this video together and say, Let's fix this. I'm sorry that I over shared I'm sorry that I was too controlling. I'm sorry. I had too much too many times that I solved for you, and I now understand why it makes it so hard for you to stay the high standard of excellence you had when you started here. And if you have an operator right now where you have an oversteer, just remember solving is not serving. The more you let that operator make the decisions, the more talented they're going to appear. The more they're going to step up, the more they're going to support you. And the more you're going to get, the help you need so you can grow the business you want. Thanks for being here with me for this, this and this video because for this, this episode, because as you can tell, I'm passionate about the entrepreneur operator relationship. What I've seen in my career is that when an entrepreneur gets the right operator in their corner and then they start to work with them in a way that's constructive and congruent, and they support them. That operator supports the entrepreneur back, and that's when businesses absolutely explode. If you'd like to learn more about the entrepreneur operator relationship, if you like to learn more about how we help companies grow like crazy and how we hope that we can actually help you on board your operator and get even more value out of them than you're getting right now and train the two of you to work together. Reach out to us. You can go to billionaire code dot com. Billionaire code is one of our most popular downloads. It is the nine levels you go through this from startup to entrepreneurial success. And if you go to billionaire Echo Dot Com, you can download that matrix, which will show you a ton about your business and you can also set up a call with a member of my team. We love to walk you through how we may be able to help you and remember if you have an operator, solving is not serving, support that person and making the decisions have discussions with them on as little as you can, and you will see that operator thrive. Help you offload where you.