Momentum Podcast: 432

Trust But Verify

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

It happens to every talented entrepreneur, eventually, the momentum we can create on our own is no longer enough. If you have opportunities in front of you that are big enough and significant enough, you will have to involve a team. 

Trust but verify in entrepreneurial management is absolute. Trust the people around you but verify the entire way along that you are getting what you want. I believe that the majority of issues in businesses actually stem from communication problems. Put systems in place so you know what's going on with your team and the work that they are producing for you. You can not grow a business without learning how to effectively communicate with the people around you. If you know you need the structure and the systems to be put in place so you can move forward go to

Full Audio Transcript

The transition from doing everything yourself to incorporating the team and using leverage to get things done is a significant transition for entrepreneurs. It's one of the hardest ones we make and if we do it in the right way, if we trust the people around us and verify the results, it goes a lot better than when we don't.

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 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.

It happens to every talented successful entrepreneur. We hit this place in our lives where what we can do alone is no longer enough. The momentum we can create on our own is no longer enough, and the opportunity we've created is significant enough that we have to involve a team. And it doesn't matter what stage of growth you are, it doesn't matter if you've already started building your team, it doesn't matter if you've already started creating the organization around you.

Everyone of us struggles with giving responsibility to the people around us, transferring success, delegating success which is what you have to do eventually as a leader. You have to go from delegating tasks to delegating outcomes, to delegating actual success. That is the process that you will go through if you grow a business. It may be one that you fight. It may be one that you go through over a long period of time, and is difficult, but it's the process of pretty much every entrepreneur goes through.

First, we learn how to delegate things, like do the things that I need you to do. Then we learn how to delegate outcomes, like I need to get this thing done. Then we learn how to delegate success. I need this result in the business. And that progression is what will make it so that you can start getting more and more done, so that we can shrink the gap between what you want to contribute in the world, what you want to achieve in the world and what you are achieving. And the way you do that is by creating the infrastructure around you that can support you, can help you do more, can help you be more.

Now, here's the reality about managing people. You must give them responsibility. I tell people all the time, if you want people to be responsible, give them responsibility. If you don't give them responsibility, they're not going to act in a responsible way because they're not the person who actually has a responsibility to make something happen. But here's the challenge for a lot of entrepreneurs who start this process of giving responsibility is we don't verify what's actually going on.

The phrase trust but verify in an entrepreneurial management is absolute. Trust the people around you. Give them tasks, then progress to outcomes and give them success that they can actually drive to. But verify the entire way along that you are getting what you want. You must put measurements in place, metrics in place, reporting systems in place so that you know what you're getting from your team members. Because here's the challenge, it's not that I want you to be paranoid. You're hiring people that don't want to do the right thing. It's not that I want you to feel like your team wouldn't do the right thing if they could but here is the challenge. It's not that you have bad people. See, I think most human beings, the vast majority of human beings really want to succeed. In all candor, I've had some people on my team that really didn't want to succeed. They were working through issues, usually from family of origin and didn't really want to have success. They wanted a place where they could be heard. They wanted a place where they could be seen. To be honest with you, they wanted a place where they could work through their issues. But most, vast majority, want to succeed.

And here is the challenge, when you don't verify, when you delegate in any way, when you're in early delegation of tasks, when you're in a later stage delegation of outcomes, when you're in delegation of success, when you're in delegation of past success, you start delegating leadership and high-level responsibility, financial responsibility.

Now, here's the issue with any stage of delegation if you're not verifying is that usually there are some things that happened. So, first and foremost, when you delegate or when you give someone else responsibility in your business in any way, the first thing that can happen is massive miscommunication. My belief is almost all issues in business and almost all issues in any relationship or communication issues, somewhere along the line, communication broke down and now you have a challenge. Now, you have an issue. Now, you have a disagreement. And in my opinion, most of the disagreements we experience in business are miscommunications.

And what happens if you're not verifying is a miscommunication can get carried away. A miscommunication can go from a simple miscommunication to the wrong things being done in the business, to resources being spent, to deadlines being missed, to frustration for the entrepreneur. And if you've ever managed people, you know exactly what I'm talking about. That is not an uncommon scenario. In fact, it's one of the most common scenarios in managing people is that you get to the place where something is missed and you're frustrated and you're upset.

What is the average entrepreneur want to do? Put it on lockdown, start telling the person want to do, micromanage them, watch everything they're doing. And let's be honest, that transactional management of telling people what to do, checking that it got done and telling them what to do again is exhausting for you. It's exhausting for me. It's exhausting for the people who work with us.

Instead of micromanaging, trust but verify. Put measurements in place. Put reporting systems in place because it's not just missing on miscommunication, there's also times where there's just misunderstandings about what was intended. The team member heard one thing, you heard another. It's another type of miscommunication, but if there's just a misunderstanding, here's what can happen. Your team member can go running off hard aggressively in the wrong direction doing the wrong thing and maybe not moving the company forward at all, maybe just stalling things out.

Or what happens oftentimes is they actually move things backwards. There is nothing like being a business owner and finding out that you are paying the salaries and the expenses and everything else for the people around you, and then something's going on that's actually moving the business backward. You're investing and going backwards. It feels like getting a gut punch as a business owner when you find that.

And one of the other things that can happen if you don't have metrics in place, if you're not tracking, if you're not verifying, if you don't have reporting systems in place, one of the most common things that happens is drift. You talk to someone. You have a meeting of the minds. They'd go and start to do their work. They don't have a normal check-in with you. They don't have any kind of verification with you.

And what will inevitably happen, not maybe immediately but eventually, is that there will be drift. And by drift, what I mean is you will experience a type of drift where they think they're doing the wrong thing but they're not getting the result that you want. And that drift, that miscommunication, that effort being put out for a result that you aren't really looking for can be devastating on a team because when there is drift, oftentimes, the team member doesn't even know it. They're not intentionally trying to do the wrong thing. They're not intentionally showing up in a way other than what you want.

But when there isn't verification, when you're not constantly seeing what your team members are doing through the right way or the right types of systems, then you end up with you start in one place and then you drift apart. And when you check back in, eventually, you see that what you're really looking to have done isn't getting done.

This can all be solved by making sure that you have systems in place for your team members. So, number one, track results. Have some type of metrics, some type of numbers you're tracking for every position that you possibly can. If it's a salesperson, how many calls were they on? If it's a customer service person, how many tickets have they solved or how many people have they helped resolve an issue? If it's somebody who's doing video for you, how many minutes of video are they editing? If it's somebody who's writing for you, how many words have they written?

Put some type of measurement in place so that you know what's really happening. If video editor, it might just be how many videos they have edited. Writing, it might be how many articles you have or blog post or social media post. What is the measurement that shows what's actually coming out of a person's effort?

Second, have a time to routinely check in with them. Check-ins are a form of verification. On our team, every week, every team member has a weekly check-in with their supervisor, whoever supervises them or leads them on our org chart. And once a month, they have a monthly self-assessment where they assess how they're doing in their position, and then they discuss that with their supervisor, so we had a clear feedback loop where we are meeting in person with every member of our team every week and then once a month taking a deeper dive with them.

And then third, every week, every team member we have turns in a weekly report. And they turn it into the team, not their supervisor. Everybody can see each other's weekly reports. And our weekly reports are simple. We ask two questions: What went right, and where do you need support to move forward? And then we also include metrics and milestones in most of them. And that simple two-question report, what went right and where do you need support to move forward. In what went right shows us everywhere our team created momentum. And where do you need support to move forward shows us all the constraint we need to move out of the way to create even more momentum.

If you have a team, and you're growing a business, and you're doing it through people, you have to understand that you cannot grow the business unless you learn to effectively work with the people around you to help them be productive for the business. And if you do start to work with the people around you to be productive for the business, the faster you trust them, the faster they will start to perform at the highest level.

And if you're consistently verifying, you will keep them at that high level and keep them moving in exactly the direction you want. When it comes to human beings, trust but verify. And if you want somebody to be responsible, give them responsibility. You will see the people around you lean in and help you grow your business, and the outcome you want to create in the world.

If you're ready to start building the team even faster than you are now, if you know you want the structure and the systems so that everyone on your team knows exactly where you're going and they can support you in getting there, go to Answer a few simple questions for us, and you'll end up on a call with a member of my team. Just going through the application, we've had people tell us that it has changed how they're addressing their business because we ask the questions that we know will show you exactly what's needed next in your business and where the gaps are.

Go to Answer a few questions for us. Jump on the call with a member of our team and let us show you how we can help you build your business faster. Plan in a way that everyone on your team knows exactly where you're going and communicate so that what you want done is executed the right way, the first time over and over again in your business. And it grows at the rate you've always known it should be.

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