Momentum Podcast: 89
Spotting A Mutineer
by Alex Charfen
The reason that you should hire true believers is that empires are always taken down from the inside. You can do everything to guard your culture and put the right people in your organization but sooner or later a non-believer will sneak in.
At first, they are tough to see, they might act and talk like everyone else. They did enough to get onto your team and now that they are there, they are ready to cause disruption. I have never understood why some people just like to be disruptive. They are the first to object, gossip, they're not transparent with those around them, and they can rob the momentum of an entire team.
They don't actively want to be on your team, they are putting up with it. They're not excited about moving your organization forward, they're with you for a paycheck. They lack excitement for the work and do the absolute minimum they can get by. I call these people mutineers. There is a reason that when there was a mutiny on a ship, mutineers had to walk the plank…
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, 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.
Welcome to the Momentum Podcast. This episode is titled Spotting a Mutineer. There is a clear reason you should hire true believers in your organization. If you hire true believers, you will never have to motivate them. If you don't, you will never be able to motivate them enough. Here's the challenge, you know that I look at the world as being binary. People are either true believers and their giving you momentum, or they're not. And if they're not, they're on the other side of the coin. If they're not fully bought in, if they're not 100% with you, I want you to understand something. They are operational drag.
One of the hardest things that I had to learn in running a business was that sometimes people do the work and get things done, but they're still incredibly damaging to the organization. And this took me forever to learn. You know, I'm not incredibly gifted when it comes to human interaction, but because I have such a challenge with it, I obsess over it and I watch it and I pay attention.
Here's what I've seen in my career in companies where there is a team being grown, is that people who aren't fully bought in, either on purpose or by accident, lead mutinies. They lead the counter-faction. There's everyone pulling in one direction, and they're in the other direction pulling on the other way. Here's how you can spot a mutineer. I mean, I want you to know how to find these people. So, number one is they criticize. They offer objection without a lot of solutions. Mutineers, people who aren't fully bought in, they're just the ones who are always saying, "Well, do you think we can really do that?" Or, "I don't know. I'm not so sure. Are we sure. Do we really think we can make it happen? Are we clear on the plan. I just didn't understand really what was going on." And they're the ones who just offer objection or criticism, without anything else behind it, without offering solutions.
A friend of mine had this situation with a COO of his. He was running about a 20 million dollar company at the time. He had a COO that, he didn't understand this, but every time he left a room, she would say, "Are we sure, guys? Do you really understand everything he said? I was a little off. I don't know if he was really sure of what he said." And that type of talk behind a CEO's back, that type of discussion ... by the way, she wasn't doing it on purpose. She just wasn't fully bought in. She didn't trust him. She had a lot of doubt around him and who he was as a leader. But the problem is, that type of consistent questioning will make everyone start questioning.
Another way to spot a mutineer, is someone who gossips on your team. Like, there's a reason, on my team, we have a zero tolerance policy and no gossip. Gossip is talking to anyone on our team about a problem that they can't solve, so you push problems up to someone in leadership who can help you. Side to side, it just causes pressure and noise for everyone. Mutineers can't help but gossip. They wanna talk about problems. They wanna talk about the issues. They wanna talk about the constraint, the challenges. I've never understood why some people just like to be disruptive. But, it's almost like some people get a job, and then they're frustrated that they have to work, so they're constantly mad at their job. It's like the same people who argue with their insurance company, and don't take care of themselves 'cause it's too much of a hassle. It's incredibly frustrating to have one of these people in your business.
Another way to spot a mutineer is, they make you uncomfortable. Who is it on the team that treats you in a way that, when you leave, you're uncomfortable. If you're like me, and you're an evolutionary hunter, you miss a lot of what happens to you. You know, people probably treated you in a way you didn't really even understand. You might not know when somebody's being sarcastic or being frustrating or being irritating or undermining you, until someone points it out to you. So, what I want you to do is raise your capacity to start admitting where you're uncomfortable, because if someone on your team makes you uncomfortable when you're around them, chances are there's a reason. Lean into that reason. Don't let someone on your team, don't keep someone on your team, if they make you uncomfortable.
Because here's what happens. Mutineers don't actively want to be on your team. They're just putting up with it. They're not excited about moving your organization forward, they're just there for a paycheck. They lack excitement for the work, so they do the absolute minimum that they can to get by. They are not true believers. And if you're building a team, you wanna get these people out of your organization. There's a reason, when there was a mutiny on a ship, they used to throw people overboard. Because in an organization like on a ship, that ship is all you have to survive. And if people start wanting to pull things in different directions and upset the order of the ship and disrupt the leadership and the chain of command, they literally would throw them over the side.
You don't have to do anything that dramatic. All you have to do is redeploy them to a business or a position or a company where they will be more comfortable, and they will be happier because, if they're on your team and they're not consistently getting their work done, they're excited about what they're doing, they're moving you forward, they're making you feel more comfortable, they're accomplishing and achieving, and they're excited about you and who you are, your company and the products you put out, and the client and who you serve, that is who you should keep on the team. Everyone else shouldn't be there.
I realize that this sounds harsh. It's meant to be. Running a business is harsh. 70% of companies don't make it past 10 years. 97% will never even hit a million dollars in revenue, because so many entrepreneurs don't make the difficult decisions that they have to make. When you employ people, one of the most difficult decisions to make is to redeploy someone. But, I want you to get very in touch with the feeling that if you leave someone on your team that is creating operational drag, that is making everyone else uncomfortable, that is opening the door to doubt and ambiguity when you talk or when someone else talks, that is causing defiance on the team or questioning on the team, or is just always criticizing and always the counterpoint, you have somebody that probably shouldn't be on your team.
Now, I'm not talking about the person who's good at objecting when there's a problem. I'm not talking about the person who's good at pointing out issues when maybe you're going to fast, or you need to be slowed down. I'm not talking about the person that when they object, it's painful; but they're right most of the time, and then they help you and the organization move forward. Don't confuse that. True believers object all the time, but they object with solutions. They object with a reason. They object and they show you how to make it better.
But if you have somebody on the team who's not transparent, who's criticizing without solutions, who's gossiping, who makes you uncomfortable, who doesn't meet the requirements of a true believer; then I believe you have a responsibility to your team and to them. The responsibility to your team is to remove them, so they don't cause operational drag for every other member of the team, because a percentage of their productivity will go down due to having somebody who they are carrying. If you don't believe that in a business, just think of an NFL team. What would an NFL team look if they put everyone out of the field, and one person was just phoning it it? That one position would change the entire course of the game. In your business, that one position changes the entire course of the game.
There's a reason I sound harsh. I wanna just give you another example. In our backyard, we have a jacuzzi. I like to take all six of the jacuzzi jets, and point them to the left, and get the water going into a whirlpool, and then take a tennis ball and throw it into the jacuzzi. It'll go around the whirlpool at a pretty predictable rate of speed, and I'll time it. If we reverse one of the jets in the jacuzzi, just one pointing in the wrong direction, just one person always criticizing, just one person always asking the question, just one person gossiping, not telling you the truth, not being transparent, not bringing solutions, or not a true believer, just one person; we can slow the speed of that tennis ball down by up to 80%.
So, before you think, "Oh, I've got a big team. That one person's not gonna matter," I look at it in the exactly opposite way. If you have a big team, that person's just affecting more people. The faster you can remove a mutineer, the better. If this person's on your team right now, you owe it to them to redeploy them. Because if they're in a situation where they constantly have to object, where they're not excited and full of joy, where they're not in momentum and doing everything that they want to do to be successful, where they're not excited about what they do every day, who they work with, and the output that they're creating, then they aren't in momentum, and you are holding that person back by allowing them to stay on your team. You have a moral obligation to let the go somewhere else immediately.
If you're building a team, if you're growing an organization, if you're headed towards a million or past it already, you should contact us. I'd love to help you grown the team, grow the infrastructure around you, so that you don't have to wake up feeling like you're pushing or pulling your business everyday. You can wake up, call your shots, let everyone know where you're going, and then have your team support you in getting there. It's a game changer. Thanks for being here with me today. I'll talk to you again tomorrow.
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