Momentum Podcast: 275

The Five to One Rule

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

The five to one rule is one of the most foundational and game changing concepts for me as an entrepreneur in understanding how to work with, lead and manage teams. Do you want to know how you create better relationships? What are the tactics that create cohesive relationships where everybody works together long term? Five positive conversations to every one corrective conversation, that’s the key!

Full Audio Transcript

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 great contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then re-write 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. 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.

The 5:1 rule. This is probably one of the most foundational and game-changing concepts for me as an entrepreneur in understanding how to work with, lead, and manage teams. So Cadey and are getting ready right now to fly out to California to go to Taki Moore's event, which I am beyond pumped. Matt Olaya, our CMO, is flying out with me. So if you hear anything in the background, it's Cadey packing or getting the kids ready. But I still felt inspired to just grab the microphone, put it on my phone, and record this podcast for you because yesterday, I shared with our high-end coaching masterminds this concept. It's called the 5:1 rule.

Let me share with you where it comes from before I share with you what it is because when it comes to relationships, I'm obsessed with how do you create better relationships? What are the tactics that create cohesive relationships where everybody works together? What does it take to make it so that relationships actually work long-term? So to that end, I've studied different books and philosophies on building relationships and how they work. By far, I think one of the most clear and cogent and revolutionary experts when it comes to relationships is John Gottman.

Now, Gottman's a psychotherapist and he actually works mostly with married couples. But he's not a normal psychotherapist. He's not Freudian, he doesn't look at like all weird stuff. You know like Freud, who just believed we just all wanted to have sex with parents and other weird stuff.

Gottman actually analyzes relationships, looks at the data, and then says what makes a healthy relationship exist? How does a healthy relationship come into existence? One of the things that Gottman has found in his analysis is that when we are in a relationship with someone, when we are interacting with someone, we need to have five positive interactions for every one corrective interaction.

I didn't say negative interaction, like those ... You need to even more positive for a negative interaction, but for every five positives, we can have one corrective conversation be heard. Now, this is Gottman's information and I love his stuff because he goes to a level of analysis that's obsessive.

He looks at what does it really take? What really happens when we interact as people? I absolutely can tell you that this is real because I'm ashamed to admit that when I first started as an entrepreneur, I looked at things in the opposite.

I used to be one of those entrepreneurs, and I'll tell you a story about one of my clients in just a second, but I used to be one of those entrepreneurs that I felt like if I told my team they were doing anything right, it might hurt me. If I told them they were doing the right things that they might slow down or get complacent or get comfortable.

I used to feel like I couldn't tell my team they were doing the right things, I couldn't' give them compliments because it might de-motivate them. So many entrepreneurs feel the same way. In fact, here's the problem for us as entrepreneurs. And let's just admit this out front.

We are deficit-based creatures. Here's what I mean by that: as entrepreneurs, we are always looking for what is the deficit? What's the problem? What's the issue? What's the thing that should change? And so when we interact with people, we often just look at people and we look at deficit.

We see deficit and we communicate what the problems are. But rarely do we communicate what the positives are. When I say this is one of the biggest game-changing concepts in my management or my leadership of people, I can tell you that this changed everything for me.

Because when I really leaned into this concept and started trying to acknowledge when people were doing right and started actually telling people I was proud of them and I was excited for them. My team doesn't have to do anything extraordinary these days, I just point out when they're doing the right thing.

When I'm happy about what they're doing, when I'm excited about what they're doing. When I'm proud of them, when I feel any form of positive, I express it. What's happened is I rarely have to have any type of corrective conversation, because by telling my team what I want, by constantly telling them where the positive is, by constantly reflecting to them where I feel good about what they're doing, they just increase all of those activities and behaviors.

So we rarely have to have a corrective conversation. Here's what's interesting, when I do have to have a corrective conversation, it's often my team bringing it to me. They come to me and say, "Hey, I made a mistake here."

In fact, I can remember a couple months ago, Justin Light on my team, who is one of my favorite people in the world. Justin came to me and said, "Hey, man. I need to tell you I made this huge mistake," and it was an issue that cost us ... I don't know, some money. There was an issue with what we quoted somebody and then what we collected, or something like that.

I remember thinking, I can remember a time where had I found this issue, I would've like gotten on the phone and yelled and screamed at Justin. I can remember a time where I never knew about issues like this, because my team hid them from me because that was my behavior. I can remember a time where I felt like I had to play detective in my business because I didn't know if everybody was doing what they should.

Contrast that with today, where if my team makes a mistake, they bring it to me and I can coach a solution. We can move forward because they know that we're just gonna keep moving forward. They're no longer afraid of me. I don't look for the negative in everyone. In fact, I try and do everything I can to have five positives to every corrective.

Now, I want you to think about this. Because in order to have any healthy relationship, and I'm including your significant other, five positive to any corrective. Are you even getting close? When you think about your team, are they getting five positive to any corrective?

I'll give you some tactics in a minute, but first I want to share with you a story of one of our clients. We were working with her a few years ago, this was one of our real estate clients. When I shared this concept, she was incredulous. She was like, "You can't do this. If you do this for your team, they're not gonna work. They're not gonna try. You tell them they're doing well, they're gonna back down. I've tried this before, it's not gonna work."

So we had this huge ... I wouldn't say argument, but maybe passionate discussion around this. We finally convinced her to give it a shot. We finally broke her down to the point where she said, okay for two weeks she was going to try doing the 5:1 rule and see what happened. With the caveat that at any point in time she was gonna stop if it got uncomfortable and she probably was gonna go back to the way she was before anyway.

She was one of those few people that I said like, "Hey, I think you should actually like use hashtags or hash marks on a sheet of paper so that you know whether you're actually doing this." So she went back and she applied it. She called us after about a week and she said, "You know what? I think it's kind of working. My team seems like they're doing more, they seem like they're working a lot harder."

And then she called me back a few days later and she said, "My team just had an intervention with me." And I said, "What?" She said, "Yeah, all of them pulled me into a room, they sat me down. It was really dramatic and they asked me if something was wrong because one of them was convinced that I was dying because my attitude towards them had shifted so much."

Let that sink in. That's a business owner with a team that she's treating well and they think she's dying. That should tell us everything we need to know about what happens when you don't treat your team well. Like the fact that now she's doing the right thing, they think she's dying, I don't ever want any of you to ever get there.

I want you to have teams that love and respect you. I want you to have teams that lean in and do the right thing. I want you to have teams that chase the positive and ignore the negative and let you know when there's a problem. I want you to have teams that you can trust long-term and this is exactly how it works.

But it's interesting and it's not even an easy connection to make that by telling people that they're doing the right things, by telling people what you want them to do, by telling people what you're happy that they're doing, that they will continue to do those things. This is the path to having a team that you trust implicitly.

This is the path to having a team that you're excited to work with every day. It's just not a very clear path, so if you start doing this now, you're gonna see massive changes. And look for any opportunity to do this.

The person on your team doesn't have to do something extraordinary. Just catch them doing the right thing, let them know how much you appreciate them. Let them know when they're doing the right thing that it is the right thing and they'll do more of it.

We have a daily huddle in our company. We actually have a section of the daily huddle called "Got Caught Being Awesome," and our entire team shares who on our team was caught doing something right. Who on our team was doing something awesome, who on our team are we excited about. And every day, every day without fail, I have something that I have to say because I have that much love and respect for my team and for what they do every day.

I love that section of our huddle. We look for every opportunity we can to catch somebody doing something right. When you have opportunities like a huddle or a team meeting or in front of other people and you catch someone doing something right, you get leveraged 5:1.

This concept runs so deep and it works so well that I want you to think about what opportunities you have to catch someone on your team doing right. I want you to start thinking about are you actually following the 5:1 rule. I want you to start thinking about are you ...

In the relationships that you have with everyone in the world, are you doing this? Because take it from someone who had to learn the hard way. When I was in my 20s, I was the opposite. When I was in my 20s, I was a tyrant. When I was in my 20s, I went around looking for what my team members did wrong and then I would jump on them and yell at them and scream at them when they did.

When I was younger, I was terrible to work with so I know. That's why I'm so good at coaching people who have a tough time leading people, because I was that person. But recognizing this human dynamic where as CEOs, as founders, as entrepreneurs, what we say is heard through a megaphone and what we do is seen through a microscope.

We have to understand that if you're running the business and someone's on your team, you're one of the top three to five most important people in their lives. In fact, yesterday when we were on our call, I shared that as an entrepreneur, you often take a more important role in someone's life than their parents in the present.

That's actually been confirmed for members of my team because they have a relationship with their parents but they see you every day. You actually rise to a higher level of impact than their parents as the entrepreneur in the present.

No one can override a familial relationship, but understand that's how crucial, that's how critical your relationship with your team members is. That's how much influence you have over your team members and I would offer that's how much opportunity you have.

Because here's how it really works, when you start catching your team members doing the right thing, when you tell them that they're doing the right thing, they're gonna do more of it. That's gonna help them grow as people and people develop more through their position that they put all their time into every day than just about anything else in their lives.

The opportunity you have is that as you encourage, as you tell people they're doing the right thing, as you help them see the illuminated path you want them to go down, you are helping them develop as human beings. If you do that in a positive way, their development will be positive. Their growth will be positive. They will see you as a source of positive growth in their lives.

Today, I have the privilege of working with Matt Olaya, not for the first but for the second time. Part of the reason he's come back to our team is that he remembers being on our team years ago and all of the positive effect that how we lead people and how we treat people in our company had on him.

He said one of the most amazing things I've had a team member say after he was back on our team for a couple week, we were on the huddle and he said, "You know, I can't tell you how much it means to be back on a team where you're listened to, you're respected, you're heard. We have systems, we have structure, and we're all taken care of."

I remember ... I'm paraphrasing, by the way. I don't know that Matt said "taken care of," but he said a lot of other things and I remember sitting there thinking this is why I do this. So that I can have the privilege of working with someone as good as Matt for a second time.

And for all of you, here's something I want you to understand about business, you know how people say "everyone's replaceable," well that's real. You can always hire someone else, but I tell you, when you find good people, game-changers. The people who make things happen, the people like Justin and Matt and Isla Brook on my team and Hayley, my new assistant who's incredibly amazing.

And Eddie, our video guy who's putting out stuff that normally it would take two or three years to get from someone and he's been with us for like ten minutes. It's actually a couple months, but it feels like ten minutes.

And Leann, who's helping build out our team. I look at the people who are contributing to us right now and it absolutely blows me away. I can't help but continue to say positive things about them and I know that the environment we've created is exactly what's attracting that.

I know that you can do it too. Follow the 5:1 rule and you will see everything in your business change. Now, I have an opportunity for you. If you're ready to go from six to seven or from seven to eight figures, next week I'm doing a webinar, an online presentation.

It's not a sales webinar like you've seen before. This is actually the exact same content that I shared at Funnel Hacking Live in front of over 3500 or 4000, however many people Russell had there, that I shared alongside Tony Robbins and Russell Brunson and Robin Sharma and Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple.

I've been flown around the world to share the content that I'm gonna share next week, so I don't want you to miss this. All you have to do is go to and sign up.

I'm gonna be live next Tuesday at 3:00 PM Central and I will answer every question there is. Here's what I guarantee you will happen by the end of that presentation. You will know way more about yourself as an entrepreneur than you ever have before. There's a reason why people said that the presentation at Funnel Hacking Live changed their lives.

Two, you will know exactly where you are on the path to entrepreneurial success and what you should be focused on right now. Three, this is a big one: you will be able to anticipate what's coming next. So you'll be able to prepare in advance for the success you haven't even achieved yet.

Join me next week on Tuesday,

Thank You For Listening!

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With gratitude,


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