Momentum Podcast: 379

Hurt Your Team, Hurt Your Family

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

If you're like me you expect a lot from your team and you want people working for you who are exceptional in their positions. If you have a strategic planning system in place and there's clear communication so your team can feel like they're winning, the best people that you have today are going to stick around. Early on in my career, I was so single-minded on success that there was collateral damage all over the place. It took me a long time to realize that if you hurt your team, you hurt their family and that's where they're going to fall apart. If you have really good people working for you, they don't just leave work at work. They take home the conversations, the frustration, and the overwhelm. If you want to understand how to keep A-players on your team long term, get their discretionary effort, and have the full support of their spouse and family. You have to do the right things in your business.

Full Audio Transcript

Alex Charfen: When it comes to the people on my team, I want 100% buy in or I'm working towards 100% buy in, in working with us. And that means I want to do very little that violates trust and do as much as I can that builds trust. It took me forever in my career to figure out that when you hurt your team, you hurt their family, and that is where you're team's gonna fall apart and stop performing the fastest.

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is The Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shock 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.

If you're like me, you expect a lot from your team, and you want team members that are excited to come to work everyday, that are really productive in their positions, that give you a ton of discretionary effort, and outperform the average team member somewhere else. And I think if you're listening to this podcast, you can just make the assumption you're gonna be a lot like me if you've never employed people before.

It's coming, and you have to understand that you're going to want to have the very highest level producers in every position in your company. You're going to want A players, people who are exceptional at what they do regardless of what company they're in, but they are incredible in your organization. And you're going to want people that stay that way and that improve over time and that are able to give you more and continue to ascend with the company.

There's this myth in business that the people who got you to one stage aren't gonna be with you to the next stage. But there's also a lot of businesses where I've been where they're wildly successful, billion dollar organizations, and a lot of the founding members of the team or very early members of the team are still there. And to me, it makes sense that the people you build trust with, the people who support you, the people that are there from the beginning, the people that have the organizational knowledge can continue as well.

But I think what happens is, a lot of the time as entrepreneurs, we do things that hurt our team. That spend their time where they weren't anticipating that, to take discretionary time away from them. And we do things where if we change our mind on something, or if we miscommunicate something, and our entire team does all of their work and then they have to do it again, we are taking time away from somewhere and most of the time it's from their family. And so when we are making mistakes, when our teams don't work together, when there is a lack of clarity, we end up effecting a person's family.

And here's why it's very real, you don't wanna do this. This took me forever to figure out. In fact, I'll confess, it feels uncomfortable to do this, I'm 46 but in my 20's I used to think my ... I once had a team member have a baby, and he said, "How much time do I need off?" And I said, "Well, your wife's having the baby, right?" And I was serious.

I didn't realize at first, the importance of something like having a baby and I was so focused and so myopic, I was so single vision on success, on running this massive company, on growing this massive organization, that there was just collateral damage all over the place. And there's a lot of reasons why I ran from that company. I sold what was left but ... I sold what I had. I didn't wanna do it anymore. It was exhausting. And I hadn't done the right things.

And here's what happens when you don't do that. When you don't do the right things, when you don't have a strategic plan, we don't have a clear communication system, when your team can't anticipate what you need next ... When they understand what their roles are, when you have the right things in place in your company, you're going to put your team members in the momentum and they're gonna get a ton of support from their spouse in that case.

And I'll tell you why that's so important in just a minute, but here's what happens. If you don't, you will end up in a competitive situation with their spouse. Where their spouse will compete with you for your team member's time and they'll do it habitually, they'll say, "Hey, you're on your phone again, is it work?" Because they're frustrated with you because here's why the spouse will get frustrated.

If your team member's coming home and saying, "Ugh, man." If somebody on my team's coming home saying, "Alex changed his mind again. He's screwing things up, he won't listen. I tried to communicate with them and he just didn't have time. And he wanted to make a right hand turn and we had a project that was already laid out and he made it now twice as hard for all of us, and none of us are gonna be able to finish by the end of the week and we're totally frustrated." You know what? The spouse is gonna start reflecting that back to them.

So you have to understand that the conversation about work isn't just happening at work. If you have really good people who are married or in relationships, the conversation about work is happening at home as well. And you don't want the spouse to get defensive either. So you don't wanna compete with the spouse and you don't want a defensive spouse. You don't want a spouse that says, "Hey, are you answering a text message? It's 5:30, you're supposed to be done at 5:00." And trying to really drive home how frustrated they are with the business.

Because here's what happens, when you hurt your team, and you become competitive with the spouse and the spouse becomes defensive, you're now in competition for your team members time. But what's more important is, you're in competition for their effort, their energy, and their focus. And here's the big one, the focus, if their spouse is upset with you, they're always going to have a challenge focusing on their positions.

Because see, you don't understand this until you've been through it. I don't think as entrepreneurs, we intuitively think about these things like "What are they gonna tell their spouse about me? What's gonna happen at home if I really screw things up?" But I want you to know this because I learned this in retrospect. I could see only after I did these things, the effect it had on spouses, the effect that it had on team members who had families, the effect it had on how they trusted me and how they looked at me.

And here's what I can tell you, I've also experienced is the opposite, is where we've, Cadey and I've run a business together, where there is a clear strategic plan, and there is a clear communications cadence, and we have clarity on the team, and people understand what they're doing.

And here's what happens when you have that, there in momentum and they're excited, and they're coming home and they're telling their spouse how excited they are. And here's what happens, if they're in momentum, they're spouse is seeing their spouse grow and get more excited and expand what they're thinking about and expand what they're talking about and tell them more about how excited they are about the business. And if the spouse see that, not only will they support the career, they will say, "Oh, hey. It's okay if you're sending a text message or answering an email over the weekend," or whatever it is, because you know your team's gonna do that stuff.

Mine does, all the time. Like I can't stop them, I tell them all the time they can take weekends off, and then inevitably someone makes a suggestion on Voxer or somewhere and then sooner or later the whole team's weighed in over the weekend. They don't take time off.

But here's why I think that my team's like that is, we have a system where they feel fully supported, they're in momentum, they're excited. They get the support of their spouse, they're excited about working. They get the support of the people around them and their spouse supports discretionary time contribution when they say, "Hey, I need to take 20 minutes because there's something that came up this week and we're really excited about getting a project done." The spouse is gonna say, "Okay." But if they say, "Hey, this is the third week in a row I have to work late, Thursday, Friday, and then some Saturday because Alex changed the project," I'm in trouble.

And so if you want to understand how to keep A players on you team forever, get their discretionary time and have the full support of their spouse, you have to do the right things in your business. And if you get those things, if you have a clear strategic plan, if you have a communication cadence, if you have clarity around your team, and there is a system in place to identify what your company's going to need next and then put it in place. Put the people, the process, the systems in place, if you have those things, you will get a ton of spousal support and you will get all of your team members contribution that they can give you.

Because if you're competing with a spouse at all, you're gonna get a de-tuned, deleveraged, not 100% contributing team member and so don't let that happen. Because if you're not studying your decision making, if you don't learn how to predict the future, if you don't start treating your team with respect and letting them anticipate what they're going to have to do so that they don't feel behind and they don't feel like they're losing, you're going to lose the best team members that you have.

And my argument is, if you have a strategic planning system in place and you're allowing everyone to be in momentum, and your entire team understands their role and there's clear scoreboards, and everyone on the team is excited about their progress, the team members that you have today are going to evolve and grow, and show you talents that you never thought they could have. It happens to us all the time.

But if you don't and you hurt your team, you hurt their family, and you will find that you have a team of people who are frustrated and you might not feel the frustration but you'll feel it in always asking yourself, "Why isn't everybody more excited? Why isn't everybody doing more? Why do I not feel like everyone's really doing everything they can?" Because on our team, we don't ever wonder that, not even for a minute.

Again, I end up coaching often that people should take some time off, and give themselves time on the weekend. So if you want a team who behaves in the same way, who acts in the same way, who can support you and where you wanna go, learn how to build a constructive company where you have the right systems and the right structure in place, so that everyone knows what's going on. There are clear outcomes, clear accountability, and score boards so everyone is in momentum and excited about what they're doing.

If that's something you're interested in doing, reach out to us. Go to,/apply or Our Billionaire Code Accelerator is a coaching program where we show entrepreneurs to do exactly that. And there's very few companies out there that play in our space. We are the company that has the systems for hyper fast growth entrepreneurs.

So if you've created an opportunity bigger than you can handle and you know you could be doing more and you know you could be selling more, you know you could be creating more and making a bigger impact, go to I'm going to guess that the questions on the page are going to be so insightful for you, that you're going to start to see that we do things differently., I look forward to hearing from you.

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