Momentum Podcast: 745

Navigating Team Member Mistakes

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

It will happen. There’s no way to avoid it.

You will have a team member that makes a mistake and cost you money. 

If you are going to grow a business, and have a team, this is inevitable. How do you handle the situation is up to you.

Alex Charfen, a business growth coach who helps entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses, gives practical, tangible, and actionable tips that you can implement into your business right now.

Over the last 30 years of managing my own teams and helping entrepreneurs manage their’s, I’ve created an entirely different approach to this issue.

It may shock you, but this actually works to correct a mistake and move the team member and your company forward.

Your business has the potential to change the world, and the only way to see that potential become a reality is to implement a strategic plan. If you're ready to learn more, go to to get started.

Our entrepreneurial journey doesn't end here! Be sure to check out our Facebook Community filled with entrepreneurs just like you who are getting into momentum and building world-changing empires

If you are an entrepreneur who is listening in and you can relate, then be sure and head over to and gain access to one of the most requested business tools to grow and scale your business in any market condition, even in this one.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum podcast. I hope you're doing amazing this morning, I am reaching out to you here from this rended, Airbnb, that we're still staying in here in Austin. It's it's been pretty interesting. I'm actually going over to my my actual house later today. And I wanted to check in this morning on a topic that is so challenging for entrepreneurs. It's so challenging for so many of us see as entrepreneurs, as entrepreneurial personality types. We get to this place in our lives, in our career, in our business, where the momentum we can create on our own just isn't enough. And we feel it.

We feel this restless agitation. We feel this drive to contribute more, to make more happen, to to give more to the people around us, to change the world in a different way, to make a bigger impact, to make a bigger income. We have this massive drive as entrepreneurs, you know, we are momentum based means my my definition for the entrepreneurial personality types as it is that we are physiologically sensitive, momentum based beings that are highly reactive to constrain.

And there's a specific type of constraint that reacts and that the reaction that makes us react more than normal constraint, more than everyday constraint. So here's the type of constraint I'm talking about when we get to that point where the momentum we can create on our own is not enough and we start to bring on a team and we hire people and we bring those people in to help us. And, you know, they start working with us here. Is this this constraint that happens? It's it's it's inevitable. It will happen. It happens on every team. We get to this place where a team member makes a mistake.

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.

Tell a story real quick from a while ago, I you know, I work with a lot of physicians, I work with a lot of doctors. Thankfully, I have this amazing network of incredible physicians and MDs and functional medicine docs and all kinds of incredible, you know, medical professionals that at a time like right now, you have no idea how glad I am that I have this incredible network that I can reach out and talk to. And, you know, in the medical industry, I'll tell a story from a while ago. I don't want to I don't want to share enough detail that you can figure out who this person is. But one of my clients, an amazing physician, I'm not going to share a specialty.

She reached out to me probably a couple of years ago and she said, you know, Alex today, one of the team members, they they left this patient in a room. She wasn't supposed to be there and nobody knew where she was. She was kind of abandoned. She was there for 45 minutes. She's one of my, you know, long time patients. And I I just lost it. I exploded. I yelled at everybody and I, you know, and then my office manager came in and she told me that everybody was really upset and that one person was thinking about quitting and like she didn't know how to get it back together. She didn't know, like, what to do next. And I want you to tell I want to tell you I want you to understand something. I empathize. I empathize. There was a time in business when I was younger where when I ran businesses and somebody made a mistake, I would explode.

You know, there was a time in business. I mean, I'm ashamed to say this, but I just want to I want to share just how challenging the entrepreneurial culture is for this. There was a time in business when a team member made a mistake. I would explode and then I would like reminisce about it with my other entrepreneur friends. I'd be like, yeah, let them have it. I was so frustrated. I was so angry. I actually was in that place of righteous anger. You know, self righteous anger is is it's like my kryptonite. It's when I get self-righteous, when I think that I'm right, when I'm convinced that I'm right, that's when I make the most mistakes in the world. And I think that that happens to all of us as entrepreneurs. We get to this place where it's like you made a mistake, self righteous anger.

I can unload on you. And here's what happens when we do that. It's so consistent. And here's how I know it's consistent. I haven't just watched my own teams for the last few decades. I've watched hundreds of teams that I've worked with, that I've coached, that I've worked with the CEO, that I've worked with the operator. We've we've done executive programs. We've done training programs, planning programs. When I say hundreds of times, probably thousands. And when there's an incident like this where a CEO or the person in charge or the physician in charge blows up on a team, oftentimes here's what happens. First, you get massive withholding from the team. The team withholds.

They stop contributing. They're scared to contribute. They pull back. They recoil from being yelled at and from being punished and from being chastised. And then the second thing that happens on a team is they often the anxiety, the pressure, whatever pressure they were feeling before the big blow up, it's now exacerbated. It's now much higher. And when you put massive pressure on people, you don't normally get a great outcome. There's a lot of mythology in business about massive pressure creates these awesome outcomes. Well, those stories have become become myths because most of the time when you put massive pressure on people and you want them to do something too fast and take shortcuts and make things happen, things don't really work out. And then the third thing that happens is that often team members, when they're blown up and you break trust because you trigger their childhood experience.

And I can't say enough about understanding our inner child and childhood experiences in business. You know, I joke sometimes with people that we're all we're all adults running around with a little kid inside controlling our bodies and and trying to make their way in the world. And oftentimes that's how it is. And when we blow up at our team, we trigger every single memory, every single reaction that they've had of somebody yelling at them. And oftentimes you have people on your team that were yelled at as children or were treated unfairly when they were younger. And we trigger all of that stuff. And that breaks trust, whether you like it or not.

When you're in a leadership position, you take on that paternal and maternal figure position. And if you're yelling and screaming at your team, you just push them away. You shut them down, you do. You deactivate their talents. And so here's another strategy, and it's not easy. In fact, it takes a tremendous amount of trust and it takes a tremendous amount of patience. You ready for this? The strategy is when your team makes a mistake, you protect them. I've told this story before. I think I've been told that on the podcast. But it's like the best example I can remember of this, one of the most talented writers that ever worked for me and one of the one of the one of the greatest guys, I think like just such a good guy is a guy named Ryan Short. And Ryan was a writer for us in our real estate business. And just an amazing writer, an amazing human being. Everybody on our team loved him.

He was like one of those types of guys that when he was absent from the company, there was a little bit of energy missing, like that type of guy. And I really like like like Ryan and just respect him as a human. And there was this day where our kto Travis Brodin walked into my office and I thought I thought like he had seen somebody get injured or something, his face was like white. And I'm like, Travis, what happened? What's going on? Are you OK? And he said, Ryan just sent an email to our entire database, a blank blank email. And I'm like, OK, so that's cool. What did he what's the issue? And he goes,

No, Alex. He sent a blank email to our entire database and the only thing in it was the unsubscribe link because that auto populate. I was like, holy crap, we just sent and at the time, I think it was like 220000 people, an unsubscribe link and we had paid money to get the majority of those. I mean, in some way we had invested to get those people into our database. There wasn't a lot of paid advertising, but there was a lot of paid speaking and not paid speaking. But I had to travel to speak and travel to to get leads and to and almost immediately we started getting unsubscribes. It was brutal. So I jumped up out of my desk in the moment right there in the middle of it, ran over to Ryan's desk and in a room big enough so that the people around him could hear.

So like Ryan, this could have happened to anybody, stop beating yourself up. And he turned around and like he had tears in his eyes. He was very emotional. Ryan, let's take a walk. We got up, we took a walk. We walked out into the hallway. And as soon as we broke the wall, the hallway, I think he said something like, if you want me to resign, I will. And I was like, Ryan, are you kidding me? There's no way you're going to resign. And this can happen to any one of us. I could have done that. We're going to figure out the process. We're going to fix the process. This will never happen again. Let's go for a walk. And I took a walk with him and then I talked to him about how much he contributed to our team. And I. I told him it was no big deal. I protected him from his mistake. And I made sure everyone on the team knew that we did that because here's the reality. It could have happened to me. It could have happened to you.

It could happen to any of us. We make mistakes. We're human beings. We're fallible. And when we fall down, when we have a challenge, that's when we need the most help. Can you imagine if we treated children the way we treat our team members? It's like baby gets up and tries to walk, falls down. Oh, crap, fire. And let's get another one. It's a radical exaggeration, but it's kind of true, right? And so if you have a team member you respect, if you have a team member, you appreciate, if you have a team member that that shows up for you. When they make a mistake, show up for them, let them know they're OK, let them know that we're human. Let them know you still believe in them.

Let you know. Let them know you still trust them. And here's what happens. Rather than trigger all of those childhood memories that every one of us has, every one of us has a childhood memory of some adult looking down on us, degrading us, telling us things that made us feel bad. I mean, if you're if you don't have that. It's probably because you repressed the memories. Let's get real. We all have that memory, but check out this dynamic. If you switch the dynamic and when your team member makes a mistake, you go talk to them and protect them and let you know. Let them know that you care about them. Think about how different that is. You know, I first read this when I was younger and I think it was who was it that did this? I first read about a story like this when I was younger and I can't remember who the famous entrepreneur was, I think was Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie had somebody working on his trading floor who in a day lost a million dollars.

Can you imagine losing a million dollars way back when when it was worth way more? And he came into Carnegie's office and said the same thing. I'm going to you know, here's my resignation. And Andrew Carnegie said, there's no way you are resigning. We just spent a million dollars training you. Are you ever going to make that mistake again? And the person was like, absolutely not. There's no way I could ever make that mistake again. He goes, great, we just spent a million dollars on your training. You're going to stay here. And the story goes that that traders stayed at Carnegie's firm, became the manager of all the traders, learned how to manage traders and began and Carnegie's firm became infinitely more powerful and more successful, more profitable because he kept that person. Now, there's probably some embellishment in that story.

But the point is, when your team makes a mistake, protect them. When a team makes a mistake, they're not likely to do it again. When a team member makes a mistake, they've learned a massive lesson. And then you can help reinforce that lesson by protecting them, by talking to them, by talking through it with them and holding yourself back from reacting so that you become that benevolent leader. They've always looked for their whole life. This will change your dynamic on your team. It will change how people react to mistakes. It will stop withholding and hiding of mistakes so that you know what's going on and you can move your company forward. Thanks for being here with me this morning.

I really enjoy sharing these types of things with us, with you as entrepreneurs and really talking through them, because I need the reminder to you know, I need the reminder to to be vigilant, to always be protecting my team and supporting my team and moving them forward in a way that develops them as human beings, increases their confidence and makes them feel better about what they're doing.

You can, too, if you want more information on how to grow a team, grow an empire, build your business without having to do it all yourself, we'd love to help you. You can go to billionaire COCOM, download the billionaire code. It's the nine levels that it takes to go from zero to one hundred million dollars in your business. It's a matrix that will reveal to you where you are and where you should be focused. And if you'd like, you can also sign up for a call with my team. Go to billionaires code dot com. We look forward to seeing you there and remember, protect your team from your mistakes, increase trust, increase progress on in your company and you will even increase your momentum. Thanks for being here.

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