Momentum Podcast: 351

Opportunities for Accolade

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Entrepreneurs have a bias for deficits. We are good at finding when somebody has missed something or pointing out where someone has done something wrong. We have a hard time recognizing when something is right, giving credit, and telling our team when we're happy with them or really grateful for what they're doing. You're team will go towards the energy in your business. If you're in that place where you feel like your team isn't doing enough for you, like they're not trying hard enough it might be because you're not giving enough accolades.

Full Audio Transcript

Alex Charfen: As entrepreneurs we have a deficit bias and that means, we look at the world for what can be changed, what can be improved, what can be moved in another direction. That's the reason why sometimes we have a hard time telling our team when they're doing something right. And giving them credit when they've done something that we really appreciate. Finding opportunities for accolade will make you a better leader, build trust with your team, and create more momentum than you would think.

I'm Alex Charfin, 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 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. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we enter 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.

I've been coaching entrepreneurs for over 20 years, and one of the biggest deficits we have is that we have a bias for deficit. Here's what that means. We have this drive for improvement, we wanna change things, make them better, move them in another direction. Take the status quo, modify it, and make it even better than it is today. And as a result, we have a hard time recognizing when something's right, we have a hard time giving credit when someone's done the right thing, we have a hard time telling our team when we're happy with them, excited for them, or when we're really grateful that they've done something.

In fact, we are really good at the opposite. We're good at finding when somebody's missed something. We're good at telling somebody when they need to improve something. We're really good at pointing out where someone has something wrong, but the opposite is what will move people in a direction. In fact, your team will go towards the energy in your business. So if you're an entrepreneur who's always pointing out what your team is doing wrong, your team's gonna have fear of doing the wrong thing. In fact, what that will do is stop them from making mistakes. Or sorry, stop them from taking risks in an attempt to stop making mistakes.

But if your team stops taking risks, that's when you feel bottle necked, when you feel like people aren't moving fast enough. When you feel like people aren't doing enough. In fact, if you have a team and you're in that place where you feel like people should be doing more, they're not moving fast enough for you. They're not trying hard enough. Or, you find yourself occasionally waking up and thinking, what is everyone doing? It might be because you're not giving enough accolade. You're not telling your team when they're doing enough right. You're not creating the positive energy towards what you want.

Instead, you're creating a bias of staying away from getting in trouble. Or staying away from having a weakness or a deficit pointed out. And that will hurt you as a leader. It will hold you in place as a team and it will stifle your company's growth and create tons of constraint. I know. I used to be that leader.

In my 20s I was definitely a leader with a ridiculous tendency towards deficit. I would get up every day and I would feel like I had done the right thing. If I found one of my team members doing something wrong and lit them up for it. In fact, pointing it out a lot of the time wasn't enough, I had to point it out and drive it home, and make sure they understood. And make sure they didn't do it again. And as a result, I had a revolving door of talent. In fact, really good talent.

In fact, if you're listening, and we worked together in the past and I was in that place, I apologize because I didn't realize that was one of the most punitive and one of the most ineffective ways to lead people. In fact, in my 20s I had a bleeding ulcer. Today they call it leaky gut syndrome or ulcered colitis or IBS or anything else. But I had a bleeding ulcer. I was so anxious and nervous and frustrated and angry all the time that it affected me physically. I didn't eat right, I didn't sleep a lot, I did drink enough water. That's why I have the obsessions I have today around physiological stability and around being physiologically sound and safe and healthy, because I used to be the opposite. And a lot of it was driven by my bias for finding the wrong thing.

By my tendency to always focus on the negative and always point out and drive home the negative. When I finally figured out that giving people accolade, telling them what they did right, giving people positive energy, actually moves things much faster in the direction I wanted. It was like the sea had parted and I was actually able to manage and lead people in a way that was infinitely more effective.

Now, if you're an entrepreneur and chances are, you don't do a lot of accolade. You don't tell people a lot of when they're doing the right thing. In fact, I've got tons of stories of clients I've worked with that have had trouble giving accolade, but the one that stands out the most, and the one that I use most often when I'm talking about this, is one of our clients we had a few years ago in the real estate business. She actually had a pretty large team and was a successful real estate agent. And came to one of our events, and I started talking about finding opportunities for accolade. Finding the opportunities to congratulate people and tell people they're doing something right.

And she actually got angry with me in the class. She was like, well you just don't understand. If you tell everybody what they're doing right, they won't work hard anymore. And she even said things like, you know I feel like it's my responsibility to let everybody know when they've screwed up, so that they don't do it again. And she used that type of an aggressive tone. And I remember feeling so sorry for her team, but honestly feeling just as sorry for her, because I have first hand knowledge of what it's like to be a leader who's always telling people that they're doing the wrong thing.

Your team gets intimidated by you. You break trust with your team, you don't build trust. You challenge trust because you're always in the negative you actually challenge any type of intimacy that you're going to create with your team. Any type of team building you're gonna create with your team becomes slower, becomes challenge, becomes frustrating. And your team will start to see you as the person who writes their checks, not as a leader. Not as somebody that they can go to when they need help. Not as somebody who's helping them create their lives, because you're doing all those things whether you're positive or negative. But they're gonna see you as just an employer unless you're helping them actually improve who they are.

And this is one of the easiest ways to do that. And I remember explaining it to this client that we had and telling her, you know I really think you need to go back and try this because at the same time that she was telling us how frustrated she was with me for this, she was telling us how she didn't trust her team and they didn't do enough, and they didn't work hard enough and all the things that I said before. And I explained to her, part of the reason that they're like that is because they don't know when they're doing something right. When was the last time you told them they were doing something right?

And she said, what do you want me to just get up ever day and go looking for them to do something right? And I said, absolutely 100% yes. In fact, if you look at Jon Gantman's work, and Jon Gantman is one of my favorite psychotherapists, he's actually written several books about relationships. His books have changed my marriage completely, in fact I recommend them to people all the time who aren't even married. Because they'll change your relationships with everybody. In fact, if you look at Jon Gantman's work and Gantman is one of my favorite psychotherapists, he's actually a relationship therapist. I give his book to people all the time, even those who aren't in marriages because they'll help you with every relationship in your life.

Gantman says that for every five positive interactions we have with somebody, we can have one corrective interaction that is heard. Not that's affective, not that changes anything, just that we're heard. Because if we're negative all the time, that's all that people hear. They actually develop a way of blocking us out because it's traumatic when people hear only negative things. You no longer are heard as a leader.

So I remember telling her, you know I rarely tell people they need to make hash marks when they treat their team well, but you need to. She went back, she put that in place, she started treating her team well. I remember getting a message from her telling me how things were getting better and everybody was moving in the right direction and she was so excited about it. And then I got a message from her that her team members had pulled her into an office and asked her if she was dying. She had gone from so negative, to then being somewhat positive, that her team members thought something was wrong with her.

That's funny, but it's also depressing. And it shows you the effect that we have on our teams. So here are some ways that you can start giving people accolade. Here are some opportunities for accolade, these are the ways that I do it, and there's four. I'm gonna share them with you. So first, every morning when I sit down in my planning and solitude, and I use my momentum planner I write, what is my intention for today? Or in the section where it says, what is my intention for today? I write down the people that have given me momentum, that have helped me. The people on my team that are doing the right thing.

And I'll let them know during the day. I might leave them a message. I might shoot them a text message, a message through one of our systems. And let them know that I really appreciate them. That creates the energy of going towards what I actually want. Secondly, when we're in our targeted interactions with our team we actually have a section called, share a win. So every meeting we have, every planned cadence meeting that we have, called the targeted interaction. At the very beginning we let our team share a win. And it has to do with work.

So they actually get to call themselves out for being awesome and share something. We get to congratulate them. So we've created a culture around celebrating when you do something well. Third in our daily huddle, every single day we have a whole section of the huddle called, who got caught being awesome? And we allow anybody who wants to, to share, to catch someone else on the team being awesome. To say that somebody on the team has helped them, or did the right thing, or had a win the day before, or whatever it is, we have caught being awesome. And it's institutionalized in our huddle.

And then all day, every day, I watch for people doing something that makes me feel good. That makes me feel like momentum. That makes me feel like we're moving in the right direction. And when they do, I tell them immediately. So in my planning, in our targeted interactions, in our daily huddle, and then all day long I'm looking to tell my team that they've done something right. Here's why.

When I have to have a corrective conversation, and it's rare, but when I have to have a corrective conversation, or when I really want to be heard. When there's something that's frustrating me, or something that I need them to understand, I know that I'm gonna be able to have that conversation 'cause I've built up the relationship capital by giving them positive accolade. By giving them positive interactions. By making sure that five to one rule is weighed in their favor. That they have far more than five positive interactions for every corrective interaction, and that way every member of my team feels safer, does better. And here's the big one, they're actually more effective all day, every day.

If you're growing and building a team, this could be one of the most important podcasts you've listened to so far. Look for the opportunities for accolade throughout your day, in your planning, in your meetings with your team, and even if you do a daily huddle, make sure you're giving your team every opportunity to get caught being awesome. It will change the way you lead and you'll be shocked at how productive your team can be.

If you're ready to start crushing it with building your team, moving in the right direction, putting the right systems in place, and if you wanna understand how we're helping people every day build their teams like crazy. In fact, Brian Burton, Brian Johnson recently joined one of our programs, they own an agency called Canopy. And they work with Amazon sellers and when they started with us they were four people. They just posted a picture that they have nine or eleven people and they're blowing up their company. I shared this story yesterday, but I'm sharing it again because it was so exciting to see not only their picture, but then all of the congratulations that they got from members of our program.

Because when you have a community around you, around team building, and around moving in the right direction, it's crazy how fast you can go. If you're ready to start building your team, have the right processes in place and communicate through a system where everyone feels safe and your team is more effective, you heard me right. In fact, you will get more return on your investment you're already making on your team, go to, answer some questions for my team. Jody Sedini who recently joined our group said that just the survey question at were therapeutic and helped her understand her business better.

If that makes you curious, go check it out. Fill them out. A member of my team will be in contact with you, and we look forward to connecting.

Thank You For Listening!

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With gratitude,


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