Momentum Podcast: 895

How to Build a High Performing Team

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

In this podcast episode, Alex tackles the common pitfalls visionary entrepreneurs face when building high-performing teams. Alex outlines a strategic hiring process, emphasizing the dangers of hiring based on proximity or convenience. Learn the importance of a meticulous approach, including time studies and the creation of a comprehensive 4R Document to clarify roles and align team efforts with company goals.
He also talks about why the traditional “family” analogy doesn't fit high-performance teams and explores parallels with sports or military teams, emphasizing transparency and clear communication. Alex shares insights into culture fit interviews and practical tests, providing a roadmap for successful hires.  

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Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum podcast.

In this episode, I want to help you understand the most common mistakes that people make when hiring and building a team, and how not only can you avoid them, but you can build a high performing team, small team with massive leverage that gets a ton done and do it consistently, predictably, and get yourself out of the day to day of the business.

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.

In the time that I've worked with entrepreneurs, one of the biggest issues that we have as visionary entrepreneurs, as entrepreneurs who are making things happen in the world, is bringing in help and support and building the team and building a high performing team. That means every person on the team has leverage. Every person is providing leverage. Every person on the team knows their outcome. Every person on the team is in the right position for that person and for the team. And this feels like something that everybody should be able to do. But man, the mistakes that entrepreneurs make and the direction that we go so often in building a team really is not conducive and not productive for us to actually get the help we need. So first, when I talk about high performing teams, I just want to bring up a concept. I often hear entrepreneurs say something like, our team is so close together and we're so tight knit, and we get so much stuff done together that it's like a family. Well, I want you to know something about that sentiment. It's not something I support. In fact, I don't like to talk about any team I have, like a family. Because when you look at high performing, high production, high output, high leverage teams, it really doesn't feel like what most people's experience of family is. In fact, on most teams, you have people who had a challenging experience at family or maybe some epigenetic trauma or trauma that they had as a child or challenges with their family. So I don't like to use that family structure when I'm talking about high performance teams. Instead, I like to think about like a high performance sports team. Even though I'm not big on sports or a high performance military team. You know, what is the difference between a family and a high performance sports, a military team? Well, in a lot of families, there's not a lot of transparency. There's conflict, there's challenges. There's stuff that you're working out together, and maybe there's not a lot of discussion around it sometimes. And in the ideal family, those things don't exist. But I've never met an ideal family. But when I look at high performance sports teams or military teams, here's what I see on those teams. There is a massive amount of transparency. If you're on a sports team or a military team and you're injured or there's something going on, there's something holding you back, you're going to tell everybody around you because you are a liability. And so you're communicating what's going on for you. You're communicating what challenges you're having. There's a lot of connection on those high performance team. So if you're lining up on a line of scrimmage, I guess on football, gosh, I'm so terrible at sports. But if you're lining up next to somebody on a on an offensive line and the person next to you is injured or has a hand injury or a calf injury, you know about that so that you can support them so that you can help them overcome. And so on a high performance team, there's a lot of transparency. People know what's going on with each other. People understand where they need to support each other, and that's the type of team I want to run. Now, the biggest issue that entrepreneurs have in hiring teams, and I've seen this so many times, I've lost count, is that we realize we need help. We understand that we need someone to come in and do things for us, and we hire through proximity or convenience. And here's what I mean by that. So often entrepreneurs, the first hire is like someone they know. It's a cousin. It's someone down the street, a neighbor who has a kid who needs work or whatever it is. And sometimes that works. Like I want to let you know. Sometimes you hire someone to proximity, someone who's close or someone who's convenient, and it works. But the vast majority of the time there's challenges there. Because in order to build a high performance team, you have to understand what you need for that team to perform better. And so in order to build a high performance team, there's a process that we take every entrepreneur through that we work with. It starts with figuring out what is the new person on the team going to do, and the mechanism we have for doing that. The tool we have for doing that is a time study. Now, if you're a small team, if it's just you and you're getting help for the first time, or maybe you have an assistant, you're getting somebody else. You do a time study anybody else on the team does a time study. And you look at those time studies. This is where for two weeks you inventory everything you're doing 15 minutes at a time. Even the in-betweens, every little thing. And then you look at it and you say, what could we give to this new person who's coming on the team? And you take that time, study information. You look for opportunities for delegation, opportunities to get stuff off of your plate, opportunities to create a new position. And you create what we call a four hour document. You analyze the opportunity, and then you pull all of those items off of the time studies and whatever else you need on what we call a four hour. Now, a four hour document is a document that instead of just explaining the role for an entrepreneur, that the role that you need filled, we get into detail, we get into granular detail. So a four hour is the role and it's just a short paragraph on the role. And this is where most job descriptions stop. Now we also want to include the role the responsibilities, the results and the requirements. So responsibilities is what is that person going to be responsible coming in for. And what are they going to be responsible for coming into the company. They have clarity as to exactly how they win day one. And then the second thing is the result. What results are they driving? So they know their responsibility, they know their results. And so for an assistant, a responsibility might be handling all of my email. And the result might be I go from spending two hours a day in my email to spending 15. Today on my e-mail and staying out of e-mail. Like, those are the types of things that we want to spell out. If you're hiring a sales person, the, you know, the, the, responsibilities might be making 100 calls a day. The results might be three conversions a day. So whatever that is for you. What what is it that you want out of this position? And so we create this for our document. And now we have clarity. We have clarity because we know it's coming from data as to where you're spending your time. And other people on your team are spending your time. We know that if this position comes in, we are going to get the help we need, and then we go out and we put that for our document far and wide. We share it with our list, share it with anybody we know, share it with people who know us and love us and trust us and tell them we're looking for someone. And then what we do is we get a whole bunch of applications in, we get as many as we can, and we start reviewing those. Look at the job history, look at the work history, look for resonance, look for connection, look for for what person looks like someone we should talk to. And then we set up what we call culture fit interviews. And that's 15 minutes. Initial conversation a lot of times within five minutes I know whether I want to proceed with someone or not. And so we have a 15 minute call where we look for alignment with our company and values alignment with our company. And so what we're asking people is how do you feel about our organization? We want to see three things. We want to see that they align with me, that they're true believers of what I do. Me as a person, we want to see that they're true believers of what we do as a company coaching, consulting, helping entrepreneurs. And we want to see that they love our customer, that they really love entrepreneurs, and so on. That culture often interview, we're asking them questions about me, about the company, about how they feel about working for entrepreneurs. And we're looking for connection. We're looking for resonance. We're looking for the people who feel most excited about those things. And we know that if we have those three connections, me, the company and who we serve, that we have values, alignment and that that is a good person for us to keep talking to. And this this concept of true believer status, if you are not that well known and maybe you don't have a big following or you people don't really know who you are, then you kind of don't use that first qualifier of do they know who I am? And do they believe in me as something you can ask, something you can, you know, try and understand. But if they don't know you, then really lean heavily on. Do they believe in what your company does and do they believe in who you serve? And once you have the culture fit interview, here's what we're trying to do. We're trying to drive people to a longer interview. What do you spend about an hour with them and you really talk through the position. And you know, we we also give them a test. So if they're a salesperson, we have to do a sales call for us. If they're an assistant, we have to book flights and a hotel for us and show us how they did it. You know, we we figure out some type of a working test so we can understand what it feels like to work with this person. And then once we get the test results back and the results of those longer interviews, we boil it down to to the three top candidates. We have final interviews with them, and then we decide which one to hire. When you go through this process, you radically increase your chances of success in hiring people. Because you are surveying the market. You're understanding what's available. You're talking to a bunch of people. You're understanding who they are. You're seeing their personalities, their their engagement, their level of excitement about the position. And when we drive to having three people and we choose one. Here's what I know about us as entrepreneurs. If we hire based on proximity or convenience, almost immediately we will start thinking, hey, I don't know if this is working out. If there's a challenge with the person at all, we are going to feel like maybe I did the wrong thing. Maybe I hired the wrong person. You're not going to have leverage to actually lean in and make sure that person's successful if they can be. If you go through the hiring process and you have three people and you choose the best one, you now have perspective that this is a really good candidate and it makes it easier in the onboarding process, bringing them into the company. If there's any hiccups or challenges, you have perspectives to how strong this candidate is, so it makes it easier to lean in and make things happen. And so if you are building a high performance team, this process will help you. And this process will help you find the person who's going to give you the most leverage, the most momentum and move things forward. And so as an entrepreneur, one of the hardest things we do is ask for help, because anytime we request, request help, it leads us feeling vulnerable and exposed. But if you follow a process like this, your confidence level will go up, your commitment will go up, and you will be successful at bringing people in to help you. If you're interested in understanding how to run a business better and understanding how to get yourself out of the day to day. Go to 40 hour for zero hour and check out the new paradigm of how visionaries can run a business and only 40 hours a year. And when you hire your team, make sure you follow this process and everything will be easier.

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With gratitude,


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