Momentum Podcast: 824

Create a Performance Culture

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

In this episode, I want to convince you that the only culture you want in your business is a culture of performance.

I've had countless entrepreneurs tell me things like, “Alex, I know we're not making the money we want right now, and maybe the business isn't profitable, but we have such a great culture!”

Statements like this make me cringe. With a great culture, projects are successful, things get done on time, and the business makes money and grows.

If these things aren't happening, you may love your team, but you don't have a performance culture, and a performance culture is what makes companies great.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum podcast. If you're an entrepreneur like me, then you want a business that performs. You want a business that does well. You want a business that does better than the businesses around you. And the fastest way to be able to do that. Once you start hiring a team, it is to create a performance culture. A culture. A performance culture is a culture that revolves around achievement. It revolves around getting things done. It revolves around finishing projects and making things happen. And you may be surprised that in order to create a performance culture, there are only three things that you, as the CEO, the visionary of your company, need to focus on and make sure that are present in order for everyone on your team to perform. 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. Creating a performance culture is one of those topics that I talk about all the time because it comes up all the time. You know, it's one of those things where when I'm talking to entrepreneurs, when I'm at an event like I was today, when I'm having a conversation with an entrepreneur in the hallway, what comes up is that they are not getting what they want out of their team. They or they say, we have a really great culture, we're just not getting things done. And then I question like, what do you mean by having a great culture? See, I don't think there is such a thing as a great culture where things aren't getting done, where projects aren't getting achieved, where things aren't getting done on time, and where the company is not moving forward. You know what I often hear in that statement when somebody says, we have a great culture but we're just not getting things done, is that there's something missing and that the entrepreneur really loves their team. They believe in their team, but they're not getting what they want out of their team. And that is such a challenging place to be as an entrepreneur, especially when you feel like you have the right people on the team, especially when you like the people around you, especially when you believe in what you're doing. If you're not getting the results that you want, it can be demoralizing for you as the person in charge. You know, the way I look at business is that if there's success, it's due to the team. If there's a challenge in the company, then you need to take responsibility and figure it out. And I have been so fortunate to spend a lot of time around wildly successful entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs that run eight figure businesses, nine figure businesses, and even some that run ten figure billion dollar plus businesses. And I've even been fortunate enough to spend time around people who are worth billions of dollars. And when I look at the question that the most successful entrepreneurs ask of their teams, you can reverse engineer those questions to see exactly what three elements you need to have present to create a performance culture. And so when I observed hyper successful entrepreneurs, here's the types of questions they would ask when there was a challenge. When a deadline is missed, when an outcome for a project or a goal is not hit, they would ask three questions. And the question sounds something like What were we trying to achieve? How did we know we were successful and who was responsible for what? So what will I be trying to achieve? To achieve? How did we know if we were successful? And who was responsible for what? Here's what I translated that to over time. Did we have clear outcomes for the team? For the project? Did they know what we were doing today? Did they understand what we wanted to have happen here? Then the second one was the second question of how did we know if we were successful? Did we have clear transparency or scoreboards in place where we measuring the right things? And then the third, who's responsible for what did we have? Clear accountability. If you want to create a culture of performance in your company, make sure you have these three things: clear outcomes, clear scoreboards or transparency, clear accountability. At the company level. That means everyone in the company knows what the company is trying to do with clear outcomes. There's clear scoreboards in place for the company, and there's clear accountability as to who's doing what within the company. There you have the same thing in each department. So there's departmental outcomes, there's departmental scoreboards. In the previous podcast that I recorded, Keep Score in sales, I talk about how you install a departmental scoreboard in sales. You might want to go listen to podcast number 823 if you haven't yet, and then you have clear accountability within each department. The people in the department know what they're responsible for and the people around them, and you can even drive this concept to the individual level. Does each person on the team know what their individual outcomes are? Does a designer know what they need to design? Does the copywriter know what they need to write? And why does the person who is doing your customer service know what type of response time you want? Do they know with clear outcomes what you want out of customer service? And the same thing with scoreboards does each of those people? Does a designer know how much they have to design? Are they reporting to you what percentage they got done that creates a scoreboard in itself and does each person know what they are individually accountable for? Obviously, the designer would be accountable for the design. The copywriter is accountable for writing compelling copy that converts. This is so crucial that you, as the person in charge of running the business, know that these things are in place. Do you have to do it all? Do you have to put this in place for every person? You shouldn't. In fact, if you have a small business, you might have to. If you have a small team where it's you and just a few people, then this is what you focus on. And this will help you grow to a team where you're not making all the decisions, where you're not the only manager, where there's other people in place, but you train your team in these disciplines. Do we have clear outcomes, clear transparency of scoreboards and clear accountability? As a consultant, I get paid $50,000 a day and I don't try to sell a lot of those days. In fact, I do. I don't do that many of them anymore. And typically, that's for a six hour day. And when I look at what we focus on most of the time, in the time that I have together with an entrepreneur, usually with their operator or members of their team, I focus here. I ask questions that reveal what are the outcomes for the company, the department, for the individuals, what? How do we show them whether we're winning or losing? Do we have a clear scoreboard for the company? Like, are you showing everyone in the business what top line revenue is, what expenses are, what profitability is? Profitability is the single most important scoreboard in any company. And I ask questions about accountability. Does each person have a clear role? Are their responsibilities outlined? Are the results you expect from that person hyper clear for them so they know that they're accountable? And do you know what requirements that position has? So you know what they need to have in order to succeed in that position. Creating a performance culture is a discipline. It's a process. It's methodically looking at all the places in your business and saying, Do I have clear outcomes? Do I have clear scoreboards? Is it clear what each person is accountable for? And if you're in a situation where deadlines are missed or a project is missed, or you have a launch that doesn't go well, the questions that you should ask yourself are those same questions that I observed over and over again when I was around people who are wildly successful. You know, I feel so privileged to have been in that situation. I feel so fortunate to have been able to see people ask those questions. And so when you have a huge mess, start asking questions like, okay, what were we trying to achieve? Was everybody clear? And this isn't an inquisition. This is actually you asking the team guys like, where did we miss, what outcome wasn't clear, what part of this wasn't clear when you know, how did we know we were successful? Like, if you miss a deadline, did everybody on the team know what each other was doing? Were we reporting to each other? What was going on? Did we know that we were going to be successful here or did we miss this project? Or did the launch fall short because we didn't know that everything wasn't done and clear accountability? Did each person on the team understand what their role was for that project? Were there things that were missed? Did we have scope creep? Did the role start as one thing? Did what they were accountable starters one thing and then get way bigger over the course of the project. When you miss, it's an opportunity to get stronger for the next project, for the next outcome, for the next deadline you have for your team. And if you go into inquisition mode where everybody's in trouble, it's hard to get this information. But if you meet with your team and you ask them sincerely, like, Hey, guys, we missed you, ask these questions. Was everybody clear on what we were trying to achieve? Did everybody understand the score? Did everybody understand their role? And you can figure out what part was missing. That's where you focus for your next project, for your next outcome. And you will see the people on your team pull together and perform at a far higher level. See, the way I look at it is the only successful culture in a company is when the company is meeting deadlines, achieving goals. It's actually getting through the outcomes and achieving the outcomes that have been set up. And if you've convinced yourself that you have a good culture in your business, but you have this symptom that you're not achieving what you set out to achieve, my suggestion is you take a step back and admit there may be some issues. There's an opportunity here. There's a place where you can create a better environment for people to actually win and for your company to win and for your company to grow. Because here's what often happens when I'm consulting with an organization or not so much when I'm consulting, but that's not a fair statement. Here's what often happens when I'm talking to an entrepreneur about their company. Before we've started consulting or before I'm working with that person one on one or before they're in one of their programs, they'll say, You know, we're missing deadlines and we're not, I'm not getting what I need done. And I feel like I'm always getting pulled back into things and I feel like I have to rescue projects. And I'll say, Well, you know, that probably indicates that there's something wrong with the culture of the company. You don't have what? What you need to have to have a performance culture and not say no. Alex, we have a great culture and I think that's a defensive statement. Not thinking it feels like a defensive statement because if you were on a sports team that was consistently losing, you wouldn't say, we have a great team. You would say we have a team that needs some work. You know, if you were in a situation where you're constantly falling short of expectations, you wouldn't say, Hey, everything's going great. You'd actually say, there's probably an opportunity here to figure out where we're missing and move in the direction that we actually want to move in and so on. In your company, when you're not getting what you want, when you're pulled back into the tactics, when you're missing deadlines, when you're not hitting the numbers you want. It's time to admit that there's probably something missing. And here's why this is so important. Dare I even say so magical when you admit that there's something missing? It allows you to go figure out what that is. Put the process in place so that it's not missed again. And make your company that much stronger and get yourself back on the road to achievement. Right now in the market that we're in. Company achievement is everything. Company profitability is crucially important. Individual individual execution and utilization and people on your team performing at their highest level is crucial. We're in a market that is not very forgiving and is going to become less forgiving in the near future. Interest rates have gone up. Business to business sales are going down precipitously. Software as a service, sales are going down. Companies are being way more conservative about where they spend money. Even individuals are being way more conservative about where they spend money. And so you should be running a company where you focus on performance. You focus on outcomes, you focus on setting the goals, meeting the goals, and moving things forward. And the fastest way that I know how to do that, the fastest way that I've proven over and over again with organizations that you can do that is to have the three things we just talked about clear outcomes for the company departments and individuals, clear scoreboards for those same three things and accountability where every person on the team knows how they're contributing and knows what they are responsible be responsible for. If you have clear outcomes, clear scoreboards and clear accountability, you will create a performance culture. And when you misuse these three things to figure out how you make your company stronger and start achieving in the way that you actually want. If you are growing a business and you want help creating a performance culture across the entire organization where your team is fully utilized, where you know what everybody is doing, where you're no longer overwhelmed by the day to day, where you grow your business without feeling like you have to do everything, watch everything and check everything yourself. Go to simple operations dot com and let us help you. There is help available. We've proven it over and over again with hundreds now, thousands of companies that have come to us and installed our simple operations system that allows you to create this performance culture in any organization. And where we work best is with online businesses that have a distributed team or what most people call a virtual team, where the team's not in an office, or you have a hybrid team, some in the office, some outside of the office. And we will show you the structure that not only creates this performance culture, but makes certain that every person on your team is fully utilized, performing at their best, and you're getting a higher return on the investment, on the salaries that you're paying right now. Go to simple operations dot com. We'd love to help you. There's a button on the home page where you can sign up for a call with us. It's easy to get on a call with us. Let us show you how we help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, stop feeling like they have to do everything themselves and start moving towards the freedom that all of us want. Simple operations dot com. We look forward to talking and we look forward to talking to you. I got tongue tied there again. And not only do we look forward to talking to you, I just want to also thank you for being a listener of this podcast. Simple operations dot com. We'll talk to you soon.

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