Momentum Podcast: 794
Too Much Pressure Breaks Teams
by Alex Charfen
In my twenties, I am embarrassed to admit that I caused a lot of collateral damage to my team by blowing up, making knee-jerk decisions about redeployment, and not realizing that the mistakes were the result of the pressures of the business.
Now that I have grown businesses over the last three decades, I have come to learn one fundamental truth about growing a team and making the impact that you want as an entrepreneur…
Too much pressure will break your team, and you can make it worse if you're not careful.
In this podcast, I explain how.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast. My systems team has made a couple of mistakes this week and I could feel them beating themselves up. I could feel them starting to get tentative and having trouble moving forward. And so I did the opposite of what I would have done in my twenties, and I did not apply more pressure to my team. 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. As an entrepreneur. I think we've all been there. We've had team members make mistakes, maybe have a team member make a couple of mistakes in a row. And it's frustrating. You know, the the mistakes that I was talking about a little bit earlier were mistakes that actually went out to our membership. We sent a blank email to our membership, and then we sent a text message that didn't include a link to our membership. And over the past few weeks, we've had a lot of transitions in our company. We've changed a few things and we've made some mistakes. And, you know, the 22 year old me, the younger entrepreneur that I used to be, would have gone in, applied a ton of pressure to the systems team. I would have gone and said, you know, hey, you can't have this happening. And I would have been threatening and I would have been angry and I would have had an energetic that was really over the top. You know, I like to to remind myself that if I bring too much energy to a situation to solve a problem, I'd become the problem. So instead this week, I had a calm conversation with my team and with Greg, who leads the team and said, You know, we can't have this happen again. And so we had to put the processes in place, we have to put structure in place, we have to have awareness in place so we don't keep making mistakes like this. Because here is what I want you to understand. I learned as an entrepreneur, after really far too long, leading people probably took me about 15 years to start leading and learning this like mid-thirties. I started learning it and really until my early forties, until I started really understanding how to put it into practice. See, if you put too much pressure on your team, then the pressure becomes the problem because here's what happens if someone on your team, you know, I've got another podcast called Protect Their Team for your from their mistakes, protect your team from their mistakes, which you can listen to that kind of repeats this sentiment because here's what I started seeing not just when I was running my own businesses, because when you're only running your business, you know, you only see the perspective of this one company. That's why I when people share with me the perspective of running their business, you know, I love to hear shares and I love to hear perspective. But I also take it with a grain of salt, because when you're only running one business, you don't see as much as you do when you're coaching. And that's the difference. You know, for me, I've coached hundreds, so I've actually revised how I feel about things more than once, just by watching in the numbers of people that we've coached what's going on. I've actually changed my opinion dramatically on things by working with so many different companies, because when you're inside your own company, it's hard to have perspective. And so here's what I realized working with dozens of companies at a time, sometimes over 100 companies at a time, and thousands of companies throughout my career is that when a team starts making mistakes and mistakes become endemic, they just become part of the process. When an entrepreneur calls me in like, Oh, my team's making so many mistakes and and they just can't stop. And it's been weeks or it's been months and there's so many issues, I think I to just fire everybody and start over. Here's what I now know. Oftentimes not all the time, but oftentimes those mistakes are being made because the entrepreneur is putting far too much pressure on the team because here's what happens. If somebody is working in an entrepreneurial company, I make the assumption they want to do well. If somebody is working in an entrepreneurial company, I make the assumption that they actually want what they're doing to mean something on a day to day basis. Or they could go be a number in a larger company. If somebody is working in an entrepreneurial company. I actually believe in some way or in some part they believe in that entrepreneurial goal. Now, if you ever discover that one of those three things is not true about a team member of yours, they shouldn't be on your team. But I make the assumption that that's why people are on entrepreneurial teams to begin with. And here's what I've found. When mistakes start being made, what often happens and this is what I used to do the entrepreneurs would get upset, concerned, they'd feel constrained, they'd feel frustrated, and then they would start putting more pressure on the team. And here's what happens. You you have somebody on your team is saying, man, I screwed up. Now, I don't want to screw up. And then the entrepreneur puts more pressure on the whole team because something happens. I don't want to screw up something that something happens. I don't want to screw up and something happens. I don't want to screw up. And what happens is there's so much pressure put on the team that the thought process is, I don't want to screw up. And if you know anything about NLP or how psychology works or how the subconscious works, the subconscious doesn't see the don't. You know, the subconscious doesn't read negative terms. The subconscious just hears, I want to screw up. And what happens is the pressure around the original issue. The. Environment is created creates an environment where now things just start cascading downwards. And when I was in my twenties and you know, when I only ran one company, I would prove myself right all the time because here's what happened. Somebody would screw up and I'd get angry. Somebody would screw up a second time and I would think, Oh, I'm going to have to get rid of that person. That would be my assumption right off the bat, I'm going to get rid of that person. And then what would happen is because they had screwed up twice, I would start applying pressure. I would say like, you know, you you you can't screw up again or, you know, things are going to have to happen or there's going to be issues. And I would apply more pressure, you know, and hey, you know, I want to make sure you're doing the right thing. And I'd I'd put them on a performance plan and I dig in and I'd get frustrated and all of that pressure I created. And what do you think happened? They would start screwing up again and then I would fire them and I would go see I was right. I knew that person was going to fail. But what I didn't know until now and when I look back. On my early employment career where I was working with team members and being an employer, not employment employer or career as a career as an employer. I think, man, there's some people that I really an apology to because I don't think I ever gave them a chance. And, you know, I think back on those things, people always say, you know, what would you go back and do differently? And I always say, you know, I don't really want to change a lot about my life because everything that has happened has been a lesson I've learned from it. I've applied those lessons and I move forward and things have gotten better. You know, I believe in divine timing and divine order. The right things happen at the right time. But the one place I would like to have seen some type or like to see some type of adjustment is on the effect that I had on certain people throughout my career. I feel like I had a very negative effect on them. Now, going back to divine timing and divine order, hopefully that effect move them forward or or you know, I was the catalyst for them to do something great or something like that. But that's the one place where I do sometimes find myself thinking about that. And so for you as an entrepreneur, when your team makes a mistake. Let them know that it's going to be okay. Let them know that, you know, you certainly do not want it to happen again. But when you go over the top, when you're screaming, when you're yelling, you know, every once in a while I see a Facebook post from somebody who makes it publicly. An entrepreneur with the team says something like, you know, my team screwed up again today, so I really let them have it. I just, you know, went off the hook. I yelled out of my eye, you know, made sure they knew that they didn't want to make another mistake. And things are really great today. And I always think, man, you don't realize. What a negative equation you're sending up in your company when you do that. Oftentimes, I'll be the one person who posts the comment underneath and says, Hey, you know, this is one of the most detrimental things you can do to your team. And I'll explain why oftentimes that ends the comments on those posts. And so remember that that phrase I shared with you earlier, like maybe use it as an entrepreneurial mantra. When I bring too much energy to a situation to solve a problem, I become the problem. And when your team makes a mistake, the more that you can still support them, still let them know that you care, still let them know that they are a vital team member, that we all make mistakes. It happens to every single one of us, especially in a growing entrepreneurial company where a lot of times you and your team are taking a step off a cliff each day and hoping that the dirt fills in because that's how it is to start something new. That's how it is to grow something from from scratch. That's how it is to take something from 6 to 7 and 7 to 8 figures. And so remember, the more you support your team, the more confident they feel, the more clear they feel, the more committed they will be to your purpose and to your cause, and the better they will do as team members and the more they will put out there as entrepreneurial personality types. I wish I had learned this lesson far earlier because I think I could have saved a lot of challenges with human beings, and I could have helped a lot more people. Not that we're not helping a ton of people now, but I could have helped a lot more people earlier, so I'm glad to share this with you. And if you're an entrepreneur who's going to business and you want to get to those numbers I was talking about, you've got a seven figure business. You ready to take to eight and you want to create some predictability in your business. Go to my company URL simple operations dot com. There's a quick survey there you can fill out to jump on a call with my team and we can show you how to predictably grow your business, get the help that you need, communicate with your team so everyone understands what's going on and they're fully utilized and start growing your company fast. We are one of those few organizations out there that has a laundry list of companies that we've taken from 7 to 8 figures, and we do it consistently and we'd love to be able to help you. Simple operations dot com and we look forward to talking to you. Jump on a call with my team and we'll explain to you how we can help. And remember, when your team makes a mistake, you can be the catalyst to them understanding the lesson behind that mistake, to getting past it, to put in process in place, and to moving forward. When you protect your team from their mistakes, when you don't go over the top, when you help them understand that that happens to everyone, you'll see your team members step up, continue to move forward, take initiative and grow. Check out simple operations dot com, fill out the survey and jump on a quick call with my team. We look forward to hearing from you.