Momentum Podcast: 230

Build Teams Around Talent

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

The way to build a team that explodes is to hire wildly talented people. When talent is allowed to operate at maximum productivity in a company with a clear cadence and communication system, you just watch how fast businesses grow. 

When you see one of the people who has previously been performing well for you start struggling, instead of getting frustrated with them think about your business growth and start asking yourself if they could be overwhelmed. The problem normally lies in the process, not the person.

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 complacence, 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.

Build teams around talent. One of the hardest things for us to do as entrepreneurs is admit we need enough help that we need to start building a team. And most entrepreneurs these days don't actually build a team. We use contractors or people who can do stuff for us or do tasks. So we use people as process, and then we get to the point where we have to start to build teams. And there's this recurring story that I hear from entrepreneurs who are building teams over and over again. It goes something like this.

Alex, I had this great ... and then insert a position like executive assistant or writer or someone who is helping me, whatever the position is ... And they've been with me for six months to a year, somewhere in there, and they were great at first, and I felt like they made everything easier. I was feeling so much better, and now they're not doing as much, and I don't feel like they're doing as much as they used to. I feel like I'm frustrated again. They're not getting as much as they were getting done, and they seem frustrated sometimes, and I just don't understand what happened.

And so I'll ask a couple of questions. Well, since you hired that person has the business grown? And they'll say something like, "Oh, yeah, it's more than doubled." Okay, well, since you hired that person has the volume of clients that you deal with or the volume of product that your shipping, has it gone up? "Oh, it's gone up like crazy. I mean, way more than we were before." Okay, well, would you say that the two of you are doing way more than you were before when you first hired that person? And they'll say, "Yeah." And then for some it dawns on them where they go, "Huh."

Yeah, they're doing a lot more now than they were before because, as you know from listening to this podcast, volume creates complexity. And what happens to so many entrepreneurs is we bring in team members, and we finally have this realization that we need help. So we start bringing in team members. Maybe it's contractors that the beginning. We graduate to actual team members, employees, people who are dedicated to us, and we have people who are ... And maybe they're not full-time, but they're working exclusively for us. So we start building that team of true believers, people who are going to be there, people who are going to be helping us, and what happens is we haven't developed the instinct to see if they need help. And I can tell you that most of the people you hire will not have that instinct.

And so one of the biggest issues for entrepreneurs is we have a hard time asking for help. So how difficult is it for us to see one step removed when someone else needs help? So we need to be vigilant about this. See, the way to build a team that explodes is to hire wildly talented people, and then get those people into their zone of genius by hiring teams around talent. My whole career has been made up of hiring executive team members and leadership team members who are incredible leaders, and who are incredibly talented, and who have a skill set that is broad, and who have done what I need done before. And then I help them build teams, because that's what I'm strategically good at. And so I step back, and I ask them, "How can we help you?"

Recently we brought on Matt [O'Liah 00:04:45] who is not handling our marketing. And the first thing I asked Matt when he accepted is, great, what type of team are you used to having? Matt helped the company go from $40 thousand a month in sales a month to $4 million a month in sales. I want him to help us do the same thing. So my first question is what resources did you have there that I need to anticipate getting you here? So what type of team did you have? What are you used to handling? How do we need to adjust your job description? What do you want to be on your plate? What are you used to having access to? What are you used to handling? Where do we need to fill in around you? Because by doing that, I shortcut tons of time that it takes for him to come in and start asking for those things.

See, I want to know right away what do we need to start thinking about so that we can get to maximum productivity as fast as possible. Because when talent is allowed to operate in maximum productivity in a company with a clear cadence and communication system and clear outcomes and accountability for each person, you just watch how fast businesses grow. In fact, you have the opportunity to watch up close and personal as ours grows. I've been doing this podcast since last July, and in July of last year, we had a few clients in our grow and scale program. That program is now a $60 thousand dollar program with 34 companies in it. I think we're going to have another couple join this week. And we now have our leverage program that is a $300 thousand dollar plus that we just introduced, and we already have our first 10 companies in that.

And it's not just that we're signing up organizations and companies. We don't really have any marketing right now other than this podcast. And the reason so many people are joining is mostly word of mouth from one person coming into the program and having such extraordinary results that they go tell their friends, and then they come join. And they way we're doing that is I'm recruiting crazy talent and then building teams around that talent so that we can execute at the very highest level. And this is exactly what you have to do. And this is one of those things that is not instinctive for us. When you see one of the people who has been performing for you start struggling, when you see one of the people who has been performing for you seem frustrated or upset or like they're not showing up in the way that they normally would, and they're not showing up in the way that you're used to ...

Instead of getting frustrated with them, instead of sitting down and confronting them, start asking yourself could they be in a place where they are overwhelmed? Because it happens to people all the time, and they don't realize it. And what they think to themselves is, I've got to get all of this done, and I've got to get more done, and I've got to help, and I'm falling behind. And they struggle, and they keep going. And here's the challenge for you as the business owner is that it doesn't matter what's on their job description. It's what can they really get done? Let's get very real here. If that person fails, you fail. Your company fails. You may fail a client. And so having something that someone has been assigned something, doesn't mean you've solved it. You have to be able to assign it to somebody and have a very high level of confidence that they are going to pull it off. But you should know that that is the person that should be doing that thing.

And the way you ensure that you build a team where you can do that is you continuously build teams around talent. And if you're just starting out, and you're bringing in those first couple of people, this is how you do it together. You figure out what they're doing that is tactical, what they're doing that is something that someone else can do. So I'll give you a simple example. If I bring in someone who is writing, and they prove to be a good writer, and what they're doing is they're pulling audio, and they are having the audio transcribed, and then they're taking those transcriptions, and they're doing their writing ...

Well, we might look at a time study of that person, and we would say, hey, let's figure how we get a contractor for a very low cost to do the pulling of the audio and getting the transcription, so all you have to do is show up and write. And that way we increase that person's strategic contribution. And we'll take somebody who is like an EA, where someone who does administrative work, and let them do that part where now we're not slowing that person down from just writing and just producing at a higher level. You can do that over and over again throughout a company.

So when you're lucky enough to find someone who is good at helping you build the business, who is good at growing the organization around you ... When you find a really good executive assistant, which every entrepreneur should do early on, someone who can help you find people, someone who can help you build the team, someone who helps you keep things straight. When that happens, you start building that team, and you start finding the talent that's going to help. Or you find talent and you build the team around them as well. And that second step is where you'll avoid being that entrepreneur who employs someone and gets frustrated after that period of time.

Because here's the fact. Most of the time, if a person was performing and then stopped performing over time and degraded, it's usually the process not the person. It's that they were able to do a lot in the beginning, and now they're struggling with it. And when you look at those individuals, and you ask yourself how can I build a team around them? How can I get the tactical stuff off their plate? How can I make them increasingly strategic? You don't just grow the person, you grow your team. You grow you business faster. You increase the productivity, and you increase the value of the output you're getting from that person. That's one of the fastest ways to grow your business.

You don't just need to go hire more people. You need to hire the people that help you get more from the people you already have. You need to look at how do you get just the people that cover the tactical processes so everyone on your team becomes more strategic. When you do that, if you have three or four people on your team, and you go out and you find contract labor to do the tactical part of the work, everyone on your team is now producing at a higher level. That is a really inexpensive way to crush your productivity and put your numbers through the roof. Because you don't have to go out and spend a lot of money. You can just look at each person and ask what is it that's tactical that we can transition off their plate and get them to more strategic work?

I'm constantly doing this with every person I have on my team that's in a strategic role. I'm constantly trying to figure out how do we gt more tactical off of their plate? So if you're building a team right now, you may not need a new team member or another team member right now. You may just need to figure out how to free up some more of the time of the team members you have through making them all more strategic and building team, building process, building projects around the talent you have to get more out of every person on your team.

We have a special opportunity for you. If you're a million dollar plus business owner, and you've been interested in seeing more of our forward planning cadence, understanding our strategic planning process, and understanding how to build the team of true believers you want in your organization, we have an event coming up. If you go to, answer a few questions for us ... As long as your a million dollar plus business owner, we will let you know about the opportunity you have to attend our event here in Austin. So go to if you're a million dollar plus business owner who has created an opportunity bigger than the infrastructure you have today. If you're leaving opportunity and money on the table, and you know you could be helping more people, go to

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