Momentum Podcast: 815
Work Less To Grow Faster Part 1
by Alex Charfen
If you're one of those entrepreneurs who loves to work, do not skip this episode because of the title. Even if you want to continue working a ton, this episode will make you more effective and efficient and likely grow your top-line revenue and profitability.
If you're an entrepreneur who's tired of being the biggest bottleneck and does not want to be working all the time, this episode is for you. I know it's counterintuitive, but one of the fastest ways to grow a business once you have a team is to work Less.
In this episode, I detail how you can work less solving the problems in your business and why this will help you avoid plateaus, grow your team, and have the business and life you want.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast. If you're one of those entrepreneurs who loves working, do not skip this episode just because of the title. And if you're an entrepreneur who feels like you're the biggest bottleneck, you were starting to build a team where you.
Have a team and youfeel like you are hitting a plateau. You don't have the growth you want and you don't have the time and freedom you want. Then this podcast is for you.
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.
Today, I want to talk about a concept that is completely and totally counterintuitive in the entrepreneurial world. You know, in a world where we talk about hustle and grind and working 100 hour weeks. And not taking days off and having to do all the things. I have a totally differen opinion.
Now. Let me make it clear who this podcast is for. If you are just starting out as an entrepreneur. You don't have a team, you have an idea. I have news for you. There is going to be hustle. There's going to be grind. You're going to work long hours. You're going to put in a lot of time. There might be some sacrifices. But the problem with a lot of entrepreneurs today, especially a lot that are in the public eye, especially a lot that are actually coaching other entrepreneurs, is that they've carried over these habits of hustle and grind and doing everything and being involved in everything into a team and a business or a business and a team that is now scaling. And when you do this, you actually can create an artificial plateau of growth. And you might. see that plateau of growth in a number of different places. You might see it in your revenue. You know, you might not your revenue might be continue growing. You might see it in the amount of time you have to spend in the business. You you grow. But you hit this plateau where you just can't get less time in the business. You're still doing everything. You're still involved in everything. Or you might see the plateau in feeling like you're the biggest bottleneck. Like you can't get out of that bottleneck. Feeling that you've plateaued at a level that you're not comfortable with and you want to shift and change.
And so this this concept is what will help you get past those plateaus. The concept is working less to grow faster. And I know this is completely counterintuitive, but it counter-intuitive, but it's part of what we coach because we work with a lot of entrepreneurs who have been through the startup grind. Maybe they've done it a few times. They're finally at the point where they're able to start building a team or they have a team, and it's hard to let go of the habit of doing everything and being involved in everything and working the, you know, 40, 60, 80 hour weeks that we get accustomed to. That conditioning is hard to let go of. And the problem is the conditioning gets in the way of the growth of the business. Let me explain to you why.
If you, as the entrepreneur, are solving all the problems or most of them involved in all the projects or most of them and talking to all the team members all the time or most of them, you create an environment where you are the biggest liability to the company. In fact you create an environment where you will be thebottleneck in the company, and that is going to cause one of the plateaus we talked about earlier, especially the bottleneck plateau, obviously. And so this is a different way to look at the problem. This is a different way to solve the problem than a lot of what I've heard in the public domain. I don't think you can hire the problem away. I don't think that you can just get up one day and change all your behaviors and it's just going to work in the business. I don't think there's a shortcut to doing this, but here's the mindset that will help you get past those plateaus and will help you grow past where you are right now. And if you apply this correctly, it will actually help you get past the growth plateau, the bottleneck plateau, the involvement in everything plateau, or feeling like you have to be involved in everything that kind of causes a bottleneck. But I feel like those are two different things. People do different problems because people express them differently and. Working less actually will completely shift this. And here's why and how this works.
See, once you start building a team, if you are involved in everything, if you're doing everything, if you're looking at everything, if you're doing all of the problem solving, let's just use problem solving for this podcast. In fact, I might do another one on process development and explaining how you don't have to do all that do. But problem solving. You know, when when something comes up in the business and I'm just going to use this example. And someone says, hey, we have this problem for the average entrepreneur. And by the way, including me early in my career, we start trying to solve that problem before they're done explaining it. In fact, if you take a deep breath right now and you reflect on yourself, you might admit to yourself, like I have, that there was a long portion of my career where I felt like solving problems was not only my job, it was my value, it's what I needed to do. And I would jump in sometimes without even really fully understanding the problem to solve a problem. If I give if I'm honest and I really give you the perspective that I've realized now after over three decades of running a business, is when I look back, I guarantee you I solved problems I didn't understand and they weren't really solved. I felt like I was. And so instead of jumping in and solving a problem, this is one way to work less when your team brings a problem to you. Remember, solving is not serving. When we solve something for someone, we take away their chance, their ability, their experimentation to solve it themselves. And so if somebody comes to you and says, Hey, how do I solve this problem? My response and I think what your response should be is, what would you do? And then just wait and let them explain it to you. You know, if you don't fully understand the problem, then ask some probing questions on the problem. If somebody says, hey, we need this problem with lead generation, well, what is the issue with lead generation? How many are we get? You know, how many leads are we getting now? What are we shooting for? What is the issue that we're experiencing? Have numbers gone down? What you know, what challenges there? And then, you ask, what would you do so that you understand the problem and you can have perspective as to the answer that your team will give you. And this specific issue of problem solving where we as entrepreneurs feel like we have to do it all, is one of the most challenging.
I'm glad that I'm doing this 1/1 because I am definitely going to do another podcast on on process creation and how difficult it is and how your team can help you now that I'm getting into this. But you know, when you look at problem solving, here's why. It's one of the most challenging, the most damaging issues for us as entrepreneurs. Decision making fatigue is absolutely real. This is not a theory. This isn't something somebody made up. This there is now so many different studies and so many different research papers and so many different experiments where they have gauged decision making fatigue.
As human beings. There is a fact that the more decisions we make, the less effective we are in decision making. And so if you're an entrepreneur who is involved in everything, who's working on everything, who's always there and who's solving all of the problems, you are burning decision making. Each each decision you're making your burning your capacity to make decisions. You're burning your capacity to make effective decisions for the business. And there is this bell curve or bell curve. There's a descending curve in decision making where when we make the first few decisions of the day, when we're in the moon, refreshes in the day. And this is there's a different tolerance for everyone. But we all have this. That's when we make the best decisions. That's when the most optimistic. That's when we see the future brightest. And then as we continue making decisions throughout the day there is a exponentially lower chance we make a better decision. As time goes on, it starts plummeting on this curve downwards. And you know, I see this, I've seen this in my self, I've seen this in the people that we've worked with. I've seen this in the entrepreneurs who try and, you know, work 60 hours a week, 60 hours a week, five days, six days, seven days a week, you know, from morning until night, making decisions the whole time, building something. And the whole time there's this dramatic drop off in efficacy. And when we have a team, when we have a dramatic drop off in the efficacy of our decision making, we actually lower our capacity to grow the business in any way.
And so if your work, quote unquote, work right now is solving all the problems, you ask your team what they would do, you listen to them and you let your team start solving problems for you. And you don't ask yourself, here's here's a here's a key lesson that I've learned. I used to ask myself, is this what I would do? And then if it wasn't, I would tell the person, Well, that's a good idea let me tell you how to do it. And you know what? I'm right back into solving. I'm righ back into owning the solution. I'm right back into taking away their experimentation. I now ask myself is what they're saying likely to work? I kind of try and set aside what I would do and I say is what this person's person was. What this person's sharing with me is. This idea is something that is likely to work. And if it is, I step out of the way and I let them try it. And I know that maybe in the short term the solution won't work. But what I also know is if I let them try their idea.
And experiment with their idea and I can coach them along the way and I understand what decisions are making that I'm growing that person, they're getting better at what they're doing by making making those decisions. I'm also not making the decisions for them. So they're learning. Based on their own thinking, based on their own decision making, and they're becoming a more valuable team member for me. And I'm avoiding decision making fatigue. And so. You know, the dogma that's out there about. doing everything and being involved in everything. It only creates massive plateaus. And I would also say massive pain. Because as entrepreneurs, when we're not growing, when we're not moving in the direction that we want, we feel pain, we feel frustration, we feel that restless anxiety. And oftentimes that will cause us to dove even deeper. It will cause us to dove even further. It will cause us to go looking for problems to solve rather than when somebody brings a problem to us. And so a mindset to approach your business with is if I do less, I'm actually empowering my team.
If I don't take ownership for a solution, someone else is actually given ownership. I often share with entrepreneurs if you want people to act responsibly, give them responsibility. One of the most common complaints we have from people who are joining our program about their teams is. And maybe not complaints, but criticisms or challenges. Now, I guess it's a complaint, criticism and a challenge and how they're thinking about it. They'll say things like, my team doesn't step up. They don't take initiative. They don't think entrepreneurially. They you know, they I just I need them to be able to do those things for the company to grow. Well, it doesn't take more than a few questions to find out that the team members are in a situation where they're not really allowed to step up because problems are solved for them. They don't they don't take initiative because they've never been through the process of making a decision, seen how it works and then getting that those results and then doing it again. In fact, decisions have been made for them. And so they don't take initiative. They kind of they they wait for someone to tell them what to do. They wait for the problem to be solved. And then when it comes to thinking entrepreneurially, you know, part of the entrepreneurial personality type is being experiential and experimental. It means that we need to experience something or experiment.
w With something to believe that it's true and to learn from it and to embody it and to bring it into our knowledge so that we can make better decisions. And if we're doing all of it in a business, we're taking away that ability for our team. And so in almost all cases, when somebody says, my team doesn't step up, they don't take initiative, they don't think entrepreneurially. The environment for those things to happen isn't even there. And so if you start simply asking your team what they would do. Soliciting ideas from your team. Letting them talk first and really hearing them out and asking probing open ended questions so that you can understand what they're thinking. And you ask yourself the question, is this likely to work? And if it is, let them go do that experiment. Let them go do that that experience, or let them have that experience so that they grow as a human being. They grow as a team member, they grow within your organization. And the more you do this with people, the less you're going to have the problem of being in one of those plateaus, the less you're going to feel like you are the biggest bottleneck, the less you're going to feel like you need to be involved in everything because you'll start trusting your team at an entirely different level. But the reality is, for most entrepreneurs, we eliminate that ability to create trust because we're way too willing to jump in and be involved in everything.
So if you want to grow your business, once you start building a team and once you have some people helping. You work less to grow faster. I know it sounds crazy counterintuitive. But in the time that I've been working with entrepreneurs and helping them grow their teams and helping them grow their business is when I can get somebody to take this on fully. That is often where businesses go from 7 to 8 figures and from the low eight figures to the high eight figures. And it's also often where entrepreneurs really start to learn more about themselves and grow as a human being and have the time they want for their family, for the things that they want to do, get healthy, you know, see a therapist, move things forward in their lives, start processing their trauma, started putting time into the places they're going to move them forward as a human being as well. And that has an even further effect of the growth on the growth of the company. And so I know this is counterintuitive, but I'd love to see you applied. And if you do, reach out to me on social media. I'm Alex Charfen on Instagram. Alex Charfen on Twitter and Alex Charfen on Facebook. And I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you. And to recording part two How to Grow Faster too. And I'm going to talk all about process development, because that's a place where as entrepreneurs, there's three issues. We get overwhelmed. We're not really great at it. And we tried to do it all. And I want to give you a system that you can use with your team to create incredible processes across the country that will help your business become more effective, more efficient and more streamlined.