Momentum Podcast: 586

Habitually Create a Performance Culture

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

For some companies building a culture means parties, get-togethers for lunch, happy hours, and beer kegs with taps in their break room. For me, it means something completely different. So let me show a path that I have been using successfully and why I believe it's so important to build the right type of culture if you expect to get real results in your business.

Your business's culture should be the glue that holds your company together. It should be the way that you bring in the right people, reject those that shouldn't work there, and create the outcomes you and your company are aiming at. On this podcast, I will give you my hard-fought secret on how to build it.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum Podcast. There's so much discussion about company culture that it's almost become cliché. Culture in some places means we have parties, we get together for lunch, we do happy hours, there's beer kegs with taps in our break room. For me, culture should be what creates results in your company. Culture should be the glue that holds your company together. And culture should be the way that you bring in the right people, reject those that shouldn't work there, and create the outcomes you and your company are aiming at. In my book, you should only create a performance culture.

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'm going to share with you how to create what I call a performance culture and why it's so important. But first, I just want to share with you the inspiration for this podcast. This week we had what we call in our business a culture meeting. It's part of the communications cadence we teach. We do it about every six weeks. It's a meeting where we get together and we share the origin story of the company with the team. New people have a chance to introduce themselves and share why they're working at our company. And then anybody else in the organization can introduce themselves and share why they're working with our company. And then we share some important policies and Katie and I close the meeting and answer any questions anybody has.

Every person in our business goes through a culture meeting, so they all know the origin story of the company from us. They all know that we have an anti-discrimination and a no gossip policy from us 100% of the time because they'd been in the meeting. And it also creates an environment where people can share why they work with us. This meeting was extraordinary. In fact, I'll share just a couple of the comments. Eddie, who's our video guy, recently shared with me that he had another job where he got some feedback about his performance, that he was a slacker, and it really affected him. He's one of the most genuinely amazing human beings I've ever met, and when he told me that someone else had told him he was a slacker, I got defensive for something that happened historically because I care so much about him. He's such a good guy.

In our culture meeting, he shared how working in our company he's gotten more done than he's ever ... ever thought he could. He's opened his perspective as to what else he could do. He kind of slipped into doing video and now he has these other opportunities, and it's all because he has perspective working with us. When he was here a while ago, he told me about being called a slacker and how working in our company where there's clear processes, clear structure, and clear ways to perform, that he realized he absolutely was not a slacker, the other company just didn't have the same clarity he did so he was being blamed ... or that we did, he was being blamed. And he now knows he is a top performer.

In our culture meeting this week, Luke, who is one of our coaches, shared how working with us has been just confirmation for him. Because when he was younger he was a highly sensitive person and now he works with all of these entrepreneurs that are highly sensitive, and me who is highly sensitive. He shared from such a genuine and real place that every member of our team leaned in. He was vulnerable and real, and, Oh man, he confirmed so much for me. He made me feel understood and vulnerable.

Probably one of the best moments, I felt like, in this culture meetings was when Karina, who's our designer who lives in Ireland and is from Venezuela, shared in the meeting that her friends told her how different it is with her working in our company, because in the past when somebody would say, "What do you do?" She would say, "Oh, I contract with an American company." When people ask her what she does now, she says, "I work for a company that works with entrepreneurs to make their companies amazing places for people to work." I had never heard that perspective before. Karina shared openly on the call. She said, "I tell people how we show entrepreneurs how to create process and create structure and create systems, so that the people in their businesses perform. We hear about it all the time and it's so exciting because it makes their lives better and their families better, and they're less reactive and they get to do more." That's from our designer who ... I never even thought of that as a marketing angle that what we teach will help you create a place where people do amazing work, and they feel protected and they feel supported, and it's an amazing place to work.

This is how we do it. I will give you my secret. This is a hard fought secret, is that if you want to create a culture of performance where everyone feels a responsibility to perform, then you as the CEO must be consistent, and you must create consistency in your business. Now, I want you to understand that I know there's a little part of your brain that just said, "Ooh, I don't want that." And for a lot of us, there's a big part of our brain that says, "Consistency feels like constraint. Consistency feels like you're going to try and get me to do something over and over again. Consistently feels boring. Consistency feels like a trap and I want freedom as an entrepreneur, so that's just not going to work for me."

Well, here's what I want you to understand. You can create consistency in your business in a way that not only doesn't create a trap, it will create freedom. It will create so much freedom it might be disorienting. One of the issues we deal with routinely, with our clients who do well at implementing our cadence, is that they often accelerate so quickly through the goals that they had in their business and through what they're doing, they find themselves without anything to do, so we have frameworks to help them understand what to do next. That's what consistency in a business does. It will actually get you to the point where you don't know what to do next because you feel like you've done it all. I've actually had people tell me that, more than once, recently.

Caleb Flint in Florida, one of our clients, I'm going to do a podcast with him, it'll blow you away. But we were on a call together and he actually said, "I don't know what to do next." By the end of the call, I helped him resolve it. But it was because they'd created so much consistency, the noise level for him had gone down so far, he didn't have to be there every day. So if you want freedom, consistency will create it, so tell that part of your brain that consistency equals constraint is just wrong. But let's get real. We all understand where that comes from. We've all been in systems and structures where consistency felt like constraint. I'm having trouble saying it. But when I was in school, the consistent, monotonous drone of school every day over and over again was horrible. By the time I got out, I didn't want to do anything every day over and over again. For me, that was my experience. A lot of other entrepreneurs have schools and experience or somewhere else, or wherever it is, but consistency is not a trap.

I have this phrase that I share with entrepreneurs. It's the epiphany I want you to understand, "If success is important to you, make it a habit." I used to have a poster in my office that we had that printed on, with a picture of me at an event that said, "If success is important to you, make it a habit." I think people would gloss over it. And here's what I really mean by that. If success is important to you, then show me what you are habitually doing on a day-to-day basis, week-to-week basis, month-to-month, quarterly basis that is creating your success.

Because here's what I know about people who create massive levels of success. If we zoom in on any of their lives, we will see all of those habits. We will see how they're showing up, we will see how they're building teams, we will see how they're getting leveraged, we will see how they're getting help, we will see how they're showing people what they really need and putting the plans together so they can be executed. So you show me where in your life are the day-to-day habits that are consistent, that are creating your success.

Here's what is real in most entrepreneurial businesses, there's just not a lot of them there. There's not a lot of consistency and there's not a lot of habits. The reason this is so important is that when you create a performance culture by creating consistency ... And here's what it takes, it takes a clear plan. I use a sports analogy. I don't know a lot about sports, but I know this analogy. If you walk up to the entry-level rookie on a football team and you say, "What's the plan around here?" He'll tell you exactly what it is. I want to get to the hall of fame, we want to win the Superbowl, we want to win the season, I want to win the guys all lineup against this month. Here's my plan for the week and the team we're playing against, and here's what I have to do today to get there. So literally, here's what I have to do today to get to the Hall of Fame.

In most entrepreneurial businesses, you don't have that today to Hall of Fame connection. In most entrepreneurial businesses, it's ... there is not a lot of a plan, there isn't a lot of connection, but you can create it. The Hall of Fame is your client-centric mission. That longterm driver that's motivating your entire business. The season is that one year outcome, the quarterly goals is the next few games, the next month is executing what you have to do to win in the very near term, the next week is the next opponent you're going to face, and daily execution is what you do on a team to move forward so you hit that client-centric mission. So when you connect the longterm through the year, the quarter, the month, the week, and the day, you create that same structure that the football player has from the Hall of Fame all the way to day-to-day, from your mission all the way to the day-to-day. When you have that, it creates amazing clarity for your team. That plan will show them where they can go and what they need to do next, and that creates amazing motivation for your team.

The other thing about creating a performance culture is it protects your team. When you have clear outcomes, transparency and accountability, that's what creates a performance culture. Those three things. We have a model in our company, we call it the performance culture model. It's clear outcomes, transparency, and accountability creates a performance culture. Because when you show people with a plan where they're going, and you have transparency of scoreboards that show with perspective what you're doing, and there's clear accountability, each person knows what they're doing, your team will perform like crazy. Outcomes, transparency, and accountability protect your team.

And then the last part of creating a performance culture is if you have a clear structure, it creates trust. When people trust each other, they move faster. They don't question each other, they go forward like crazy. They get excited to help each other. Creating a performance culture makes every person on your team better. And this is important because here's the reality, fake culture is destructive. All the other stuff that's supposed to create culture, the beer kegs and the parties and the happy hours, and whatever else, not only does it not create culture, in a lot of cases, it creates a destructive culture. It's actually counterproductive and counterintuitive to growing a company or de creating relationships on a team and getting people together.

When you have lateral pressure on a team ... when everybody knows the outcomes, and there's clear scoreboards and there's clear accountability, you create lateral pressure. Here's what lateral pressure means. It means people put pressure on each other to do good for each other. And people put pressure on themselves to show up for the team because there's so much clarity. If you don't show up, everybody knows you did it. So it creates lateral pressure, which means you as the person who's at the top of the org chart don't have to motivate top to bottom, you motivate lateral. Lateral motivation, lateral pressure, changes how people show up in your business. They will grow faster, they will achieve more, they will do more, and they will show up for each other in a much more profound way.

And then here's the last thing I want you to just think about, a performance culture equals speed to execution and massive growth. When everyone knows clear outcomes, transparency and accountability, your company grows fast because it's predictable. You will, when there's a clear plan. When you have clear outcomes, transparency and accountability, you will grow as a human being because you will gain perspective, you'll become capable of more, you will be able to lead more people. And when you have clear outcomes, accountability and transparency, your team will grow. I've watched every member of our team develop and grow, and ascend from one position to another, and take on more work, and develop as a human being, and evolve in communications because they work in a structure where there's so much perspective that you consistently and constantly know how to improve. This is what creates a true performance culture.

When you create a performance culture, the people on your team will help you accelerate the growth of your team, grow quickly, and you will be getting the help that you need along the way, and you don't have to bother with any of the other stuff. I've never had a company where we threw happy hours or had beer kegs or any of those things, but I've had companies that have been voted the number one best place to work over and over again. The team we have today is so committed and defensive of our company that I think we have the strongest culture today in any company that I've ever run and there is the highest level of consistency, the highest level of internal control, and the highest level of visibility to outcomes, transparency and accountability at the company level, the department level and the team member level then there's been in any company I've had. People fight to stay on our team. They change positions, they fight to grow with our team because it's a place where you know where you stand, and that creates a culture of performance.

When you can get your team bought in at the level where everybody's moving in the same direction, your life will get easier. You don't have to do this all yourself. If you'd like to install the systems and the structure that will create outcomes, transparency and accountability for your company, for each department, and for each team member, reach out to us. We work with entrepreneurs to go from six figures to seven, and to go from million dollar businesses or multimillion dollar business to eight figure businesses or more. We can show you how to create a culture of performance in your business where you will get more out of every member of your team and they will feel better working with you and be more excited about working every day. When everyone's pulling in the same direction, it's amazing what you can do.

Go to Sign up for a momentum session with a member of my team. We will spend an hour with you and help you understand your business better, see the opportunities you have, and know exactly what steps you should take next. Go to To be added.

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