Momentum Podcast: 868

Time Blocks, Blind Spots, and Integrators v. Operators

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Welcome to The Momentum Podcast. In this episode, we'll explore the key strategies for maximizing productivity and ensuring success in today's fast-paced business world.

This episode was created from a live Q&A inside of the Simple Operations Facebook community, held by Alex every Thursday, and hosted by community manager Yhennifer Santos.

If you'd like to join one of these Q&A's live, they're hosted every Thursday at Join now and submit your questions for this week’s conversation.

Win the morning to win the day. By planning and identifying your top three priorities in the morning, you set yourself up for a successful day.

There are several blind spots that entrepreneurs often overlook when building remote teams of 1 to 5 people. Having an operating system in place, emphasizing quarterly planning, documenting processes, and fostering clear communication can help you overcome them.

Many entrepreneurs resist structure and routine, but that implementing an operating system can significantly reduce anxiety, build trust within the team, and drive productivity.

We'll also touch on the difference between an integrator and an operator within a company's organizational structure. We'll explain how an operator runs the system, ensuring that even if they are unavailable, the company's processes continue to function smoothly. This reduces the risk associated with relying solely on an individual to manage operations.

Ready for more?
Book a call with our team and see how we can help you get out of overwhelm and calm the chaos in your life and business:

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum podcast.

We are live! Hello Simple Operations community. Yhennifer here along with Alex today. I'm back. How are you today?

I'm doing good. I'm a little jealous. You have your Swanies on. I'm going to swap to mine. So much more soothing, so much easier to be in front of all these lights.

We're matching. We're matching right now. Alex, we have so many questions and we're like, so excited. We want to thank you guys, first of all, for submitting your questions and giving us an opportunity to come here and answer your questions. So Alex, are you ready for all these questions?

I am. Let's jump into the questions.

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.

First one actually is from Angela. She thanked and then the question now that she wrote, I was wondering your thoughts, wondering what are your thoughts on the best methods for being realistic with time blocking so as to drive the most important things to happen first, be realistic and hold myself accountable.

So I have a couple of thoughts on that. So time blocking is a really productive habit. It's about… Here's what I do. I want to show you how I back into time blocking for the day, because I've heard people, I've heard of people who at the beginning of the week, they look at their calendar and they put everything they're going to do for the whole week in the calendar. And what I found is if I do that, I end up having to adjust, end up having to move things. Sometimes my schedules kind of fluid, sometimes things come up. And so what I do on a daily basis is I use our momentum planning system, I use my momentum planning, my momentum planner, and I use this system. And here's what I do.

First, I write a to-do list of everything that I feel like I need to do for the day. I ask myself, what's my intention for the day? I look at my calendar, I look at the things that I want to get done for my team. I look at the other incidental things that I want to make sure I don't forget. Like for me, a lot of time to do list is I put it down just so that I don't forget it. I put it down so that it's out of my mind and on paper and not rattling around, making me feel overwhelmed or anxious. I think a lot of times when we don't know everything we're going to do, when we're carrying it around in our head, that can actually cause feelings of anxiety, feelings of overwhelm, feelings of too much going on. Just writing it down makes it so much easier. And then here's how I back into time blocking after I've done my to do list right here in the Momentum planner, I write the top three things for the day. What are the most important things I'm going to get done? So for me today, it was having a TI with my, or having a meeting, we call them targeted interactions or TIswith my team. On the summit content. It was recording a YouTube video and writing a post that we made, and so I put those in my top three and then I look at my calendar and that's where I block off time. And so the top three things get my time on a daily basis. I look at what open blocks of time do I have and I get them done there. Yesterday I had a half day consulting session. I had several different TIs or meetings with my team. I barely had any time, so I had to really put the top three things that I had to do in the limited time that I had. And that ensures that I get those things done. You know, I think you in order to win the day, you want to win the morning. If you win the morning, you win the day. If you're doing your planning in the morning and identifying those three things, you have a very high likelihood of winning for the day.

Boom! Get your momentum planner today. If you don't have a planner yet, you need to get one today. Yep. Okay. Allen, What are a few major blind spots entrepreneurs fail to see and take into consideration when it comes to building a team of 1 to 5 people that will be run remotely or online.

Man, there's a lot of blind spots that entrepreneurs have when we're building a team. And I, when I think about this question, the way that I reflect on it is I think back to when I had a remote team in my twenTIs before I understood what it really took, before I understood just what was needed in order to be able to really effectively run a remote team. And so here's where I think the biggest blind spot is for entrepreneurs running remote teams. We try to run a team outside of a system. And in our membership we teach the Simple Operations system and your business, especially if you have a remote team. But I think any business should have an operating system. And here's what I mean by that. You know, when you're going to plan, you know when you're going to get together with your team, you know, when your execution periods are, and you know exactly what outcomes you're looking at for each thing that you're doing as a company and as a team. And so for us, that means and I'll just run you through like high level what our operating system looks like. We plan on an annual basis to figure out what we're going to do for the year. We plan on a quarterly basis to to ask the question what projects, what process, what projects are we going to execute, what processes are we going to improve or document? What people are we going to hire, train on board, move, promote whatever was happening with people? And then what policies are we putting in place in our company and anything else that we need for the company. And so on a quarterly basis, we document everything. And then monthly we look at that quarterly, those quarterly outcomes and we decide what parts of those are we going to do on a monthly basis. And so then each week we get together in our weekly TI targeted interaction on Monday, where each team member has their commitments for the week, what are they going to get done that week? And then we have a daily huddle every morning. And so the reason why having an operating system like this is a blind spot is because it's not discussed. It's not talked about. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs say things like, I don't want to have meetings, I don't want to be in meetings with my team. And I understand, believe me, I've tried to run businesses without meetings, to my own detriment for a long time. But when I realized if I had a system in place and it was clear what we were doing. And everyone on the team understood how to show up and win and contribute and bring what they needed to to those interactions with me, they feel like momentum. They feel like progress. They feel like we're getting things done. And so when it comes to having a remote team, if you don't have a system like this, here's what ends up happening. You wonder if people are working. You don't really know what they're doing. You're not clear on what's being achieved on a day to day basis. And in our system, we look at that annual, quarterly, monthly and then weekly. I can tell what everybody on my team is doing because I can go in right now, look at this sheet where we keep all the commitments and I can see what Yhennifer has done for the week and what they got done. I can see what Eddie's done. I can see what any member of our team has done so that I understand what productivity is happening. And I think for us as entrepreneurs, we've had this conversation a lot on these lives. We fight process, structure and routine. It's uncomfortable for us to be in a system, to be in a process. It feels like constraint. But when we lean into it for a short period of time, we start to see momentum. We just heard that in the first question. When we start to put some structure in place, we start to see momentum. When we put some structure in place, it calms our entrepreneurial anxiety. And we know when we show up for our team and hear on the other side. Here's why this is so important for the team. In most entrepreneurial teams, the team doesn't know when they're going to hear from you. They don't really understand what they're going to hear from you. It's like waiting for word from on high, and we communicate in a way that's haphazard and sometimes random. And it's daily changes, daily ideas which distracts the team. It's hard to build trust that way. It's hard to give them time to execute. And so I think the biggest blindspot for entrepreneurs, period, but specifically so important if you're running a virtual team, is having a system through which you run that team.

Thank you for asking the question and I hope that answer your question if you have any follow up questions. I think he's online right now. Okay. Oliver wrote, I like to know the granular difference between a integrator and an operator, but he wants to know if you can explain it a little further. Granular level difference between the integrator and an operator and how is that an operator does not end up being an integrator.

I'll get as granular as I can here. So what Oliver is asking here is the difference between traction and the EOS system and the concept of having an integrator and our system, the Simple Operation system and having an operator. And if I had to give granular differences between the two, when you look at the organizational chart that traction suggests, for every visionary company there's visionary integrator and everyone else. It doesn't matter how large the organization gets. The org chart is written, visionary integrator, everyone else. So the integrator becomes the translator of everything for the visionary and is the person who actually manages the entire team, communicates with the entire team, make sure everything is getting done and understands what everybody on the team is doing. However, in the traction system, there really is not much more of an execution system between besides find your 90 day targets, or they call them rocks. We call them targets, but they say find your 90 day targets and then have a weekly level ten meeting, which is basically a weekly meeting where everybody gets together to check in where things are going. As an integrator, I've actually, we've had integrators who were in that system join our system. And here's what they tell us. The major difference is in our system, the operator actually runs the operational system. They run our system from 90 days down today down to the 30 days to the weekly execution to every single day, making sure that things are getting done and they are part of a leadership team. So the operators on the leadership team. So as a visionary, you meet with the important leaders in your company because the expectation that an operator is going to do all of that is actually pretty dangerous.

In fact, when there is not a system between or when there's not a system that the integrator is executing, they become a liability for the company. There's been multiple companies that have come to us after they've lost their integrator and they've realized just how exposed they are. When they lose their integrator, they lose the person who's getting everything done. They lose a lot of institutional knowledge. They lose this system through which the company is executing. When you look at it on and how we have an operator set up, the operator runs a structure, runs a system. So if they need to be out for an extended, extended period of time, if they they're on maternity and paternity paternity leave, if they have an issue that comes up and they can't be at work for a week, somebody else can pick up and just run the targeted interactions, run the system so that it's not a person running the entire company. It's a process running the company. And that's really the major difference. I think the expectation that you're going to find this unicorn person that can translate everything that the visionary wants, they can follow up on everything, that can be in charge of every project, they can do all the things. It's really an unfair expectation. When you look at our system, that person is running a operational system that if they can't be there, somebody else can step in. And if for some reason, if they're no longer there, someone else can step in and the process runs the business, not the person. That's a major distinction. I'd say that is the biggest difference between how we set up an operator and how the general accepted description of an integrator is in most companies

Awesome! Oliver, let us know if that answered your granular answer to this question. Thank you for asking.

Granular eough.

Granular enough, alright. And Jeremy. Jeremy wrote, the first step in the sharpened process is analyze. Do you start with the five core functions or something else?

100% the five core functions. Anybody who wants to download the free report on the five core functions can go to And here's what we mean by analyze. And just to share the process, it's analyze, prioritize, commit, execute and renew. And so here's what I mean by that. First, you want to analyze the business to understand what the business needs. In the vast majority of businesses, there is no analysis of the company to say, what does the business need? Where is the deficit in the customer journey? What is the deficit and what we're doing as a company? And so by analyzing the five core functions which are lead generation or lead generation, nurture, nurturing the leads, conversion, delivery, retention, reselling, upsell, you look and say, “Where are, where do we have weaknesses? Where do we have exposure? Where could we be stronger?” And then you start building what the company actually needs. And so the five core functions is an analysis tool that we recommend our members use every quarter and they ask the questions, where are we in those five categories of lead gen nurture, conversion, delivery retention, We saw an upsell and then you build your projects around that and it feels pretty obvious to do that. But we onboard people into our program all the time and one of the things that we do is we have what we call a strategic direction call, where we look at their five core functions analysis, and then we look at the plan that they've built that we call a waterfall, that 90 day plan with what they're going to do in the month. And oftentimes when we look at the five core functions where there's deficit in the company, where they have the lower scores, and then we look at what they plan for the quarter and for the month, the quarter and the month do not answer the issues that they're having in the five core functions. And oftentimes what we see on the waterfall of the plan are things that the entrepreneur thinks they need to do or something that an event, someone at event said that they should do or an idea that they got from seeing something on social media. But and often times it's exactly the thing that the company really doesn't need. So I'll give you a quick example. I recently talked to to some friends of ours that are in our system. We looked at their five core functions and lead generation was like a four or a five. They were getting a ton of leads. Nurture was like a two or three. They didn't really have good systems in place and conversion was decent, but they weren't taking a lot of people from lead to nurture to conversion. And then delivery was okay and retention, resale and upsell were okay. Well, I looked at their plan and most of their plan was focused on more lead generation. If they keep pouring more leads into that company without working on nurturing and conversion, it's basically burning leads or burning people that are coming in because they're not moving them through the process to the point where they actually buy something and they can help them. So the five core functions is the analysis tool. Like I said, we use it every quarter we reviewed on a monthly basis. Anytime I'm feeling uncomfortable, I'll pull it up, I'll look at it and I'll say, okay, we're focused on the right things.

And you can get that resource in the comments. You'll see that Anna posted the link there for you guys so that you guys can analyze your business. And that was the last question. Wooh.

We made it.

That felt like rapid fire, like man, bang, bang, bang. We made it. We made it. If people want to reach out to our team, how can they find us?

Easiest way is just go to There is a link right on the home page. You click on it, answer a few questions for our team, jump on a call with us and we can help you understand how you can join our membership and we can help you install the Simple Operations system that has helped a ton of entrepreneurs get way more productivity out of their team for the investment they're already making. That's like a higher return on every dollar you're paying. Someone grow their businesses, make a bigger income, make a bigger impact and so go to We'd love to hear from you and my team would love to talk to you.

Yes. We appreciate you guys. Again, if you want to reach out, that's where you need to go. We would love to talk to you guys and see how we can help you grow your business. We will see you on the next live next Thursday. Any last words, Alex?

I don't think so. Thanks, Yhennifer.

Thanks! Bye everybody.

Thanks, everyone.

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