Momentum Podcast: 539

Become a Passenger in Your Meetings

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

One of the biggest challenges in entrepreneurial businesses today is meetings. If you are a visionary entrepreneur, you should not be running meetings. One, you probably don’t like doing them and two, you’re probably not very good at it. For the sake of yourself and your team, you should be a passenger in your meetings. 

Chances are you are the one currently leading your team meetings, and it needs to stop. You should be a passenger at every meeting. To do that, you need someone else to conduct them. As the CEO of a company, you are much more effective as a participant in meetings. When you aren’t forced to lead a meeting for your team, it’s going to free your mind, give you a different perspective, and provide you with contrast. 

Full Audio Transcript

We all know that in the entrepreneurial world, meetings are not something people are ever excited about. In fact, people talk about how meetings suck, and they're terrible, and they're unnecessary evil, and how do we stay out of meetings and never have meetings again? Now, here's the reality about being an entrepreneur though, your team needs to get together to achieve, to understand what each other is doing, to connect and to be able to create momentum. One of the easiest ways to take your meetings from challenging to an incredible experience that will give you momentum is to stop trying to run your meetings, become a passenger and watch everything change.

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.

I have a firm belief that the reason why meetings in a lot of entrepreneurial companies are terrible is because entrepreneurs are responsible for them. Visionary entrepreneurs should not run meetings. I'm just going to make that statement at the beginning of this podcast. One of the biggest challenges in entrepreneurial businesses today is meetings. It gets talked about all the time, "They suck. They're terrible. They're a necessary evil. We don't want to be in them. They're overwhelming. They would take too much time. They wear us down." Well, one of the big reasons is you are a visionary and you are terrible at running meetings. Let's just put this out there and get real about it right now. Not only are you terrible at running meetings, but you're inconsistent. You don't do it the same way every time. You don't follow a process most of the time. And if you're the visionary in charge, you have way too much on your mind to be running a meeting.

Here's what's interesting. I was talking to Luke who's one of our coaches on our team. And he was recently on a call with one of our clients and he shared with me that the client was talking about how hard it is to stay on top of all the meetings, to be prepared to come in to run them. And Luke said, "I think maybe we should talk about why you're doing it that way. I've never seen Alex run a meeting and I've worked here for a while now." At our company, I never run meetings. I'm the visionary. I should never run meetings and I can't stand them. In fact, here's one of the big reasons why you should become a passenger in your meeting, you probably don't like running meetings. You want to get them over with as quickly as you can. Energetically, you're going to frustrate the people in that meeting.

And so what we show people to do in our company and what Luke was showing our client to do is to become a passenger in your meetings. In fact, here's the epiphany that you come to after a career as an entrepreneur. Not only should you not be leading meetings, you don't need to lead meetings, and you can be way more effective if you are a participant in the meetings. In fact, I know my entire life changed when I became a participant, instead of trying to drive the meetings. Here's what I know, going into a meeting, I'm anxious, I'm eager, I want it over with, and I want to get the result. So I energetically run a meeting with anxious, eager, get it over with energy that is not conducive to your team working together.

In our company today, almost all of our targeted interactions, which is what we call meetings, are run by Hailey. Hailey is process-oriented, she is a natural born operator, she's incredible. She's like a visionary operator. She's incredible at feeling what our company needs and understanding where we have issues and challenges and conveying vulnerabilities. She's also amazing at running meetings and keeping them going. In fact, Hailey runs most of our meetings. Eddie, who's our video guy, runs our daily huddle, which is a meeting, so I'm a passenger in all of them. And when you don't lead, it's actually better. Here's why.

Number one, when you're leading a meeting, it's very hard to go from leader to coach. As a coach in a meeting, I can coach other members in the meeting. I can give advice in the meeting. I can give insight in the meeting. When I'm not trying to lead, it actually frees my brain power in the meeting to watch what's going on with everybody else, to see what's happening with the other people in the meeting, to understand if there might be a challenge or an issue or something unspoken, so that I can actually coach and make sure that there's transparency and make sure we're talking about what we really need to talk about. And I actually as a coach, and now in meetings after years of being a passenger, I ask myself things like, "Is everybody being heard? Did we get to consensus? Was that real? Did everybody's objections get handled or addressed and talked about?"

Another reason why it's so important to be a passenger in your meetings is your team hears from you enough. As the CEO of the business, everything you say is heard through a megaphone. Everything you do is seen through a microscope. You are the most important person in the building. Your team doesn't need to hear from you over and over again. In fact, you should not run the meetings so that someone else has time to. So someone else has floor time, so that you're not the only person your team hears from. If your team hears from you constantly and then they hear from you when you're running meetings and you're the person who talks most of the time, there's no contrast. There is no leadership team. There's just you. So get out of the way and let someone else in your team run the meetings, lead the meetings. You actually increase the effectiveness you have when you're talking to your team. When your team hears from you constantly, and you're leading the meetings, and you're talking to them all the time, there's no contrast. When someone else is leading meetings, when someone else is running the process and then you make a comment or have coaching, there's massive contrast in your herd.

Another reason, this is a big one. I know that my perspective as a passenger is infinitely better than as a meeting leader. Here's what I can tell you as a visionary entrepreneur running a meeting, I'm not good at it. Speaking on stage, facilitating a panel, being on TV, I'm good at all those things. Put me in a meeting with 10 people where I'm supposed to run it and keep things moving in the right direction and stay on an agenda, I am a train wreck. I am willing to admit it and declare my weakness with all the vulnerability that it needs to be declared because I'm really bad at it.

Now, when I was younger, I convinced myself I was good at it. I was good at running meetings. I could keep people motivated, I could keep things clipping along. But what I realized so much of my mental energy in a meeting is taken up by just trying to stay on task and stay on the agenda, that I don't participate as much as I can or should. I don't give as much input as I can or should. I have a completely different perspective as a meeting leader than I have when I'm a passenger.

So here's what you need to know if you want to switch this. Number one, stop having meetings. In our company, we train people how to have targeted interactions. Here's what a targeted interaction is. Instead of just a meeting where you get together with an undefined result, here's what happens in a targeted interaction. One, it's planned ahead of time. Everybody knows it's coming, there's no surprises. Two, we know our outcome, exactly what's going to happen coming out of the meeting before it starts. We know that in our weekly commitment meetings, we're going to create weekly commitments. We know in our monthly goals, we're going to create monthly goals. In our quarterly target meeting, we're going to select the projects we're going to do that quarter. In our annual meetings, we're going to look at what our annual results are going to be. One outcome, one intention per meeting, so there's a clear outcome. There's a clear intention. We know exactly what we're doing. The meetings choreographed, so it's not a meeting, it's a targeted interaction. It's choreographed, it's clear. Everybody knows what they're getting into before we even start.

So when you run a meeting this way, it changes everything. It goes from being a meeting to a targeted interaction where everyone can anticipate what's going to come next and your team will feel like they're winning.

Second, you shouldn't lead your meetings, a process should. Now Hailey leads our meetings, but she does it through our cadence process. So every member of our team can predict what's going to happen next in a meeting. Do you know how liberating that is for team members, when they know the process, when they know what's going to happen, when they know how to win? It makes them feel like they're ahead. It makes them feel like they're winning. It is profound when your entire team knows the process for a meeting and you can watch them anticipate what's going to happen next. What happens? They get clarity, so they anticipate more. They get confidence, so they want to do more. They get commitment, so they give you discretionary time. You get more out of it. The process of having meetings can actually attach your team stronger to your business and create more connection.

And the third reason, you are going to be more effective... Another thing you need to know is you are going to be more effective if you don't lead. So number one, stop having meetings have TIs. Two, run your meetings via a process. Don't let the leader run the meeting, let a process run the meeting. Every one of our meetings is choreographed and spelled out. And three, you're going to be way more effective as a CEO if you don't lead. It's going to free your mind, it's going to give you a different perspective. Your team won't hear from you as much. There will be more contrast. It changes everything when you become a passenger in your meetings.

So here's what I want you to know. Being a CEO is much easier from a passenger seat. Coaching is much easier from a passenger seat. Sharing perspective is much easier from the passenger seat. Getting things done is much easier from a passenger seat. So when you allow process to run your meetings, when you have a structure to your meetings, and you are allowed to be a passenger, you as a CEO, especially as a visionary, will see your vision of the future unfold even further. Options will present themselves in a much more complete way, and you will have a much easier time of understanding how to move yourself and your company forward when someone else is worried about the logistics. This is a game changer. Become a passenger in your meetings and watch everything in your business change and watch your team accomplish more in a shorter period of time.

If you want to understand exactly how to become a passenger in your meetings, if you want the process that makes that happen in less than a quarter to where you can start contributing more, showing up more and giving your team more, reach out to us. Go to, download a copy of the Billionaire Code Decoded, so you understand the nine levels business owners go through to go from zero to $100 million. You will know exactly where you stand today. And then take a minute, register for a call with my team and let us show you exactly, not only how you can become a passenger in your meanings, but how you can grow your business faster, create much larger outcomes, make a bigger impact, and go out and change the world like you've always known you should,

Thank You For Listening!

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