Momentum Podcast: 344

Lead and Follow

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

I've always had a love for cars. The fastest way to learn to race on the track is to tuck in behind someone and follow them. The fastest way to learn how to grow and scale your business is to tuck in behind someone and follow them. Make sure you work with someone who's actually doing exactly what they tell you to do so they can show you when you need to lead and follow. It's by far the fastest and the most fun way to learn. As an evolutionary hunter, I want to get to my destination as fast as I possibly can and as effectively as possible. That's exactly why we help businesses grow the way we do.

Full Audio Transcript

Alex Charfen: As an evolutionary hunger, an entrepreneurial personality type, I want to learn things and implement, put things into my business, into my life, as fast as possible and start getting a return on investment. As a coach, as a consultant, as someone who helps entrepreneurs grow their business, I want to be able to affect your business as fast as possible. This podcast is about the fastest way to show somebody how to do something.

One of the few things I really love to do is, besides running businesses and working with entrepreneurs, is drive. I love to track drive, I love to race cars, I love anything that has to do with getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and making it go as fast as it can around a track or anywhere else. Because I obey the speed limits these days, I can't say I always did that when I was younger, and I'm not necessarily proud of that, but because I'm a lot more cautious these days on the road, I spend a lot of time finding places where I can drive. I love to go to a couple of tracks here in Austin, we have a great private track called Driveway Austin where I'm a member, and then we have the Circuit of the Americas track, which is absolutely amazing.

Now, here's the one issue with driving race cars. Well, actually, there's a couple. One, it's expensive. I have a fully prepped Porsche GMG, basically a race car that's street legal, so I can drive it to the track and drive it back. It's wicked fast, incredibly well-balanced, completely customized. I bought it off a high net worth individual that bought the car for $120,00 from Porsche in North America, and then spent another $140,000 customizing it to make it a legitimate, real race car, and it's legal on the street. I love taking it to the track, but track days usually cost anywhere from $500 or $600 at the low end to several thousand at the high end. Tires are expensive. The tires on my car are well over $1,500 for a set, and you go to a track day and you're usually burning 25, 30, 40, sometimes 50 or 60% of your tires. So, it's an expensive hobby.

As a result, I look for other ways to train. Downstairs in my basement, in our home theater room, I've built a driving simulator, so I do a lot of simulator driving, which I absolutely believe makes you better on a track. Then one of the other things that I do is I go to an indoor cart track here in Austin, which is awesome because I can also take my girls. Both of my daughters have been driving on a track for years. In fact, when we go there and they drive, they typically are ... they usually place on the weekly leaderboard for the location that we go to. In fact, this week, Reagan was fifth, she's been as high as third of all the kids who race in that track. It's funny. And Kennedy's been on the leaderboard several times as well. All of the names of the kids on the leaderboard are typically boys' names, and then there's my daughters, Reagan and Kennedy. What's funny is, a lot of the time, people will think Reagan is a boy, and then she walks up getting the results and they all see that she was in first place and they question how she did it. It's funny. Little boys tend to get frustrated when they notice that they've been beaten by girls, which entertains me like crazy. In fact, I am very proud to have the girls that beat the boys.

This weekend, I took them to K1, and whenever I go to a track, I have this thing, I always watch for people who look like they really know what they're doing. Whenever you're driving, and especially if you go to a track day or an event or something like that, there's usually one or two or three people out there that really know how to drive. Typically, when I go to this indoor carting track, I usually win most of the races, I've been driving for a long time. Driving's one of those disciples, unlike a lot of sports, where as you get older, it gets more difficult. Driving's a discipline where, as you get older, you can actually get better. Even though your reaction times go down, you learn more strategy, you learn more discipline, more patience, which are all things that also correlate to business.

Whenever I go to a track, I also, I look around and see if they're ... it looks like somebody who's ... if there's somebody out there who's really quick. This weekend, I spotted this kid a mile away. We were at the track and we were all getting ready to get into our cars, and this kid came walking up and he had the logo for the racetrack on his shirt, he had a carbon fiber helmet like the one I use. Helmets are $300 or $400, carbon fiber, $800 to $1,200, so usually if somebody has a really expensive helmet, they know what they're doing. I'm straightforward, I just turn to him and said, "Hey, are you pretty quick?" And he said, "Well, I'm the pro for this company, and they fly me around the country to teach their cart academies. I taught an academy this morning and I was just going to get out on the track and drive a couple times."

I said, "That's fantastic. Hey, do you mind if I tuck in behind you?" Here's the reason that I said that, there's this way that you learn how to drive on a track called lead and follow. It's where you follow someone around the track. Now, here's why this is so much better. Now, I've been driving on a track for over two decades, I've been racing cars for over 20 years. I remember ages ago, the first time I ever went to a track and got coached, it was the most frustrating thing ever.

See, I'll give you the contrast between coaching and lead and follow. Here's what coaching is, you get into a car and there's an instructor sitting next to you, and they're telling you what to do with your car. But here's the problem, a track might have anywhere from 12 to 21 turns, or even more. What they're telling you to do is, "Hey, hit the apex of this turn here," or "Turn in harder here," and the problem is, if you miss and you pass that turn, you have to wait til you get all the way around the track and then you try it again, and you forget the coaching that you already got.

The easiest way to learn a track and the fastest way to lead how to get really quick on a track is to tuck in right on somebody's rear bumper who really knows what they're doing and do everything they do. You just follow them exactly around the track, and you do what's called lead and follow. Then here's why there's such a difference, rather than having somebody tell you what to do, you get to observe exactly what the person in front of you is doing and you just put your car in the same place. I remember, when I first started track driving, I had been coached a lot, I had somebody sitting next to me. Typically you have a communication intercom system in your helmet, so the person's talking to you, you're talking to them. I had gotten a lot of coaching and I'd gotten quick, really quick, but it wasn't until I went to a race and a guy said, "Hey," one of the really top racers said, "Hey, I'm warming up, you want to come out and do some lead and follow?" I was like, "Of course. Can you tell me what we're doing?" And he said, "Yeah. Just tuck in behind me, I'll take you around the track as fast as we can." He said, "I'll take it easy on the first couple laps, and then as I speed up, you just stick with me."

I remember getting out on the track with this guy and following him, and I stayed like 5 to 10 feet off his rear bumper, you never do that on the street, but I was really tight. It was a completely different experience. I remember thinking he took turns so much different than I did, and his line was so much better than mine. I would follow him through turns, and when you're driving on a track and you hit a turn perfectly, it's like hitting a golf ball perfectly. It's like there's this exhilarating feeling of momentum and g-forces and just knowing that you put the car right on its edge and it's pushing through the turn as fast as possible. I get a little excited just talking about it. I bet you can tell.

I remember that first lead follow, thinking I didn't even know my car could do this when I was following the guy around the track. He kept speeding up and speeding up, and I stuck with him and I stuck with him. I learned more in five or six laps than I had in hours of coaching instruction.

I'll give you a corollary to business in just a second. But that's what I did this weekend. The kid who had the carbon fiber helmet, I started talking to him, and he's actually a professional shifter kart racer. What shifter karts is, is they're little go-karts, they look a lot like the go-karts at the track, they just don't have the bumpers around them. But they are insanely fast. In fact, shifter karts go from 0 to 60 and back down to 0 in under four and a half seconds in the hands of somebody who really knows how to do it. Some of the guys who really know how to drive can get them up to 60 and back down to 0 in like 4.1, 4.2, and sometimes sneak into the 3.9s. The g-forces in a shifter kart are insane. In fact, Fernando Alonso, who is an F1 driver, considered by many the best F1 driver in the world even though he hasn't had a very good car in years, he, on the off-season, he goes and races shifter karts to keep himself sharp and to keep his driving skills and his ability sharp.

I followed this kid around the track a few times this weekend, and I learned the track that I've driven on now dozens of times, I relearned it all again because I got to do lead and follow. In carts, I was about a foot and a half off of the back of his cart, all the way around the track. He pulled away from me, but each lap that we did, I was about less than a half second behind him. In fact, the closest lap that we had to each other, I was about two-tenths of a second off of a kid who is a professional. He weighed 140 pounds, I weigh 210 pounds, and in go-carts, that's actually a huge disadvantage. I was sticking with him because he gave me an unfair advantage. He let me lead follow, so by the time we had done that a few times, I could actually gain on him in some of the corners 'cause if I took them better than he did, now we were pretty evenly matched.

It went from where I probably would have never been able to keep up with him, to where, in some cases, I was gaining on him. Now, in all honesty, I don't think I ever would have been able to pass him. The kid was insanely good. His name was Casey Cook, and not only was he an amazing driver, but a really nice guy too. You meet some really great people at racetracks. It was so much fun to do lead follow with him. I now feel like ... Now I know, I'm going to back to that track and I'll get better and better and better because I had that experience. I'd been wanting that so bad at that track and it finally happened this weekend. Most of the time, because I'm faster than everybody there, I'm not really following anybody. I'm not really getting a lot of tips or instruction, but a lot of people do that to me. So, it was incredible to have the experience to do that with somebody else. What a nice, like incredibly nice, guy, and so much fun to hang out with him. He actually races ... He races pro shifters for K1 Speed, which is the place where we went.

This is so similar to business. One of the reasons I don't do a lot of one-on-one coaching anymore is because in one-on-one coaching, you're literally doing the exact same thing that the instructors were doing with me on the track next to me. You miss a turn and the coach is saying, "Hey, get back on the turn." You miss an exit and the coach is saying, "Hey, you missed that exit." You miss an apex and the coach is saying, "Hey, you missed that apex." You can kind of tell somebody what to do ahead of time, but in business and in racing, you're going so fast, you really need a lead follow. That's why we've built our coaching programs the way that we have.

Here's how I coach. Every single thing in our coaching programs, where we have an online platform that all of our clients get access to so they can see exactly what they should be doing, all of our coaching is exactly what we do as a company. It's exactly what my team does as a company. So, not only do we show people what to do ahead of time through our platforms, which is like lead follow, but if anybody asks a question about anything we do, I just pull up and show them exactly what we do, exactly how my team runs. We coach them to do exactly what we do. We coach them to run their business exactly how we do. That is why our clients get so much value out of our programs 'cause we're literally doing lead follow instead of one-on-one coaching.

I think there's this crazy misconception in the market that what you really want is one-on-one coaching and that that has somehow has more value. But I can tell you, our programs have so much more value than one-on-one coaching, I know because I've done both. See, I've done one-on-one coaching, and if I'm coaching someone, let's just say, and I don't do this anymore, but let's just say it's half hour, twice a month. I'm able to transmit very little information in a half hour, twice a month. In fact, after we say hi and figure out where your business is and figure out what's going on, we might have 5 to 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes to actually focus on your business and move anything forward.

In our programs now, the group coaching programs that we have where there's a platform to back them up, there is examples of everything, there is a ton of documentation, and we literally, like when we show you how to do your weekly meeting, we put one of our weekly meetings, we record it on Zoom and we put it on the platform so people can see exactly what we're doing, literally lead follow. The reason our clients are so successful today is because it used to take me years in one-on-one coaching to do what we can achieve in weeks because we're doing lead follow. We have a full platform, we have all the information there, we have everything at your fingertips. Now, people can get up and running on our systems faster than they ever could when I was coaching one-on-one. As a result, the results our clients get are crazy.

I've shared a lot of them one this podcast, but just some recent ones. We've had one company, $1 million dollar financial company, that came to us about eight months and was really having trouble growing and scaling. They implemented our systems, and went from $1 million to $3 million. We had another company, a nutrition company that does supplements and does custom programs for supplements for influencers and for day spas and for doctors, they ended up going from a $6.6 million run rate to an $8.6 million run rate and hiring people and changing their leadership team and putting the right people in place, all in a matter of five or six months.

You can't do that when you're getting one-on-one coaching because you can't possibly get the information fast enough unless the coach moves in and lives with you. Any coach who's coaching one company at a time doesn't really know what they're doing because there's no leverage there at all. The fastest way to learn on a track is to tuck in behind someone and follow them. The fastest way to learn how to grow and scale your business is to tuck in behind someone and follow them and get all the information at the speed that you need, and then make sure you're working with someone who's actually doing exactly what they tell you to do so that they can show you when you need to lead and follow.

It is, by far, the fastest way to learn, it's the most fun, it's the way that you pick up more in a shorter period of time than you ever possibly could, and it's going to get you to your destination way faster. Like I said at the beginning, as an entrepreneur, as an evolutionary hunter, as an entrepreneurial personality type, I want to do everything as fast as I possibly can, in the shortest amount of time possible, as effectively as possible, and that's exactly why we coach the way we do. It's exactly why we help businesses grow the way we do. Lead and follow will beat one-on-one coaching and coaching like after the fact any day of the week.

If you're ready to start growing your business and you're ready to see just how fast you can grow in scale, why don't you go to Not only will we give you our full Billionaire Code Matrix so you can see exactly where you are on the path to entrepreneurial success, but if you like, you can set up a call with my team and we will show you exactly how we're helping businesses, not just in the United States, but around the world, grow faster than they ever thought possible.

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