When businesses are ready to scale, they call James Friel. He’s the secret weapon helping many of today’s well-known entrepreneurs become successful CEOs. Breaking complex problems into small actionable steps is his SUPERPOWER.
RYG Framework – Uncover the bottlenecks, money leaks and biggest opportunities for growth in your business with the 10 Minute Business Audit!
3 Value Bombs
1) You get stuck in your business because you are good at something, you start doing more, and you create success out of that something.
2) A system is a combination of people, processes, and tools. It needs to be coordinated to achieve an outcome.
3) Get in the habit and the mindset of being an effective CEO; do not fall into the trap of being the aforementioned 4 types of bad bosses.
Traffic Secrets Podcast: The strategies to attract your dream customers when you’re just starting out are exactly the same as when you own a multi-million dollar business. And these strategies are waiting for you on a new podcast mini- series: Traffic Secrets. TrafficSecretsPodcast.com
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Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How To Go From Chief Everything Officer To Chief Executive Officer with James P. Friel
[1:13] – James shares something interesting about himself that most people do not know.
- His first big sale in his career was selling his swing set.
[2:46] – James talks about The Genius Paradox: Why do most people get stuck in their business?
- You get stuck in your business because you are good at something, you start doing more, and you create success out of that something.
[5:23] – James explains why your business growth will never exceed the capacity of your systems.
- Generally, people are more excited about the result that they can create than the system.
- Systems give you leverage and the ability to scale your business.
- There will always be a better way to grow your business.
[9:47] – Is it true that hiring a team makes things easier and better?
- There is absolute value in having a team, but you’ve got to have a system.
- A system is a combination of people, processes, and tools. It needs to be coordinated to achieve an outcome.
- If you just hire people and do not have a system, then your business will have a hard time working.
[15:53] – The 4 Types of Bad Boss:
- The Hypercritical Boss
- The type of boss who needs to be right all the time and is judgemental of other people’s contributions.
- The team depends on the Hypercritical Boss for solutions.
- Less growth in the team and in the business.
- The People Pleaser
- The type of boss who wants to be liked by the entire team.
- Avoids conflicts and difficult conversations.
- The Helicopter Boss
- The type of boss who is dominating and a micro-manager,
- The one who does the team’s job because he does not trust other people to do things correctly.
- Driven by the fear of losing control.
- The Absentee Boss
- The type of boss who is bothered when the team needs him.
- Wants the team to figure things out on their own.
- Driven by the fear of missing out on other, more important things.
- The goal is to recognize your tendencies and which type of boss you are, and then focus on being an engaged leader.
[21:31] – What is the difference between a Hustling Entrepreneur and an Effective CEO?
- The Hustling Entrepreneur
- If you look at them today, they are grinding. Look at them a year from now, and they are still grinding on a similar problem.
- Somebody who is not creating any foundation to stand on.
- The Effective CEO
- Somebody who recognizes systems.
- Somebody who is responsible and able to apply an effective system so the business will not have to deal with the same problem over and over.
- The level of your success is the level of your problem.
[24:09] – James parting piece of guidance
- Use the system definition – the combination of people, processes, and tools. Identify the first brick that you need to systemize in your business.
- Get into the habit and the mindset of being an Effective CEO, and do not fall into the trap of being the aforementioned 4 types of bad bosses.
- RYG Framework – Uncover the bottlenecks, money leaks and biggest opportunities for growth in your business with the 10 Minute Business Audit!
John: Boom. Shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here with an audio master class on how to go from chief everything officer to chief executive officer. To drop these value bombs, I brought James Friel on the mic.
When businesses are ready to scale, they call James. He's a secret weapon helping many of today's well-known entrepreneurs become successful CEOs. Breaking complex problems into small actionable steps is his superpower. And today, we'll be talking about the genius paradox, why hiring a team doesn't always make things better and the four types of bad bosses and which one are you possibly, fire nation, and so much more, when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
James, say what's up to Fire Nation, and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know.
James: What's up, Fire Nation? Great to be here, JLD. So, I think one of the things about me that most people probably wouldn't know unless you're my parents, my first big sale in my career was actually selling my swing set when I was eight or nine years old.
John: You’re like, I'm done with this, for sale.
James: Yeah. Well, it was really funny ‘cause I was home alone. And my neighbor came driving up our driveway and he knocked on the door. He's like, hey, are your parents here? I was like, no, they're not here. And I just figured the conversation would end. And we just kind of stood there. And it was awkward for a minute and he looked over at my swing set. He’s like, oh, that's really nice swing set. And I looked over at it, realizing exactly what you just said. And I was like, well, do you want to buy it? And he said, really? I was like, yeah, sure. I was like, sure. I'm not using it anymore. Why don't you make me an offer? And he offered me ...
John: He’s like five bucks.
James: I sold it for $75.
James: Yeah. He's like, all right. I'll take it. I was like, perfect. So, he goes driving down the road and my parents see the swing set hanging off the back of his truck. And they're like, was that your swing set. I was like, yeah, I just sold.
John: Your parents are like, we spent $745 on that swing set.
James: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.
John: Well, Fire Nation, as I shared it during the intro, we’re going to be talking about how to go from chief everything officer to chief executive officer. And we have a lot of great ground to cover.
And James, I actually want to start by talking about the genius paradox. Why do most people get stuck in their business?
James: Yeah, most people get stuck in their business because they're really good at something. And most people start a business because you have an idea for a product or a service or whatever it is, and you're good at that thing. And you start doing more of that thing and you create success. And it's almost like, you know those Chinese handcuffs where you put both of your fingers in?
John: Oh, yes.
James: Right? Like the harder you pull, the harder it is to get out. And I think the better you are at your thing, the more success that you create. And what winds up happening like if you picture a pie. At first when you're starting, your getting to do your thing, 50, 60, 70, 80% of the time. And the more success you create, the more other things that you create while you're doing that thing, right? You now have more customers. You have bills that need to be paid, people that are working for you, potentially.
All these different things and so that percentage of the pie that you're working on your zone of genius, which is the catalyst for growth, starts shrinking and shrinking and shrinking. And sooner or later, you're like, man, I'm not even getting to do the thing that I'm good at, the thing that I love, the thing that I was so excited about when I first started this because there's all this other stuff. So, it's almost – it’s sort of this cruel joke. The better you are, the faster that success happens. And then, that creates this whole new set of problems.
John: It kinda reminds me of the book a little bit E-Myth Revisited, and where they're just kinda talking about how this person, oh, they love baking muffins, so they started a bakery. And then, they just realized, huh, I'm no longer doing anything to do with baking.
John: I'm doing all the things but ... And that is potentially, that issue that you're getting into. And I think that's really fascinating about the genius paradox, too, is man, you're just really good at that thing and you kinda get stuck doing that thing because you're so good at it. And in your mind – a lot of entrepreneurs have this problem. We think, oh, nobody else could do, so I could do it.
And guess what? They might not be able to do it a 10 out of 10 – if you’re quote, unquote a 10 out of 10. But if you can get somebody doing something like, a 7 or 8 out of 10, that frees you up to do other things to grow and expand your business and to actually fulfill your vision, that's something to definitely think about.
Now, let's be honest. Systems are massive. I mean, we have built Entrepreneurs on Fire on the back of systems and automations. I mean, it has been critical for us. So, why is our business growth limited to the fact that we’ll never be able to exceed the capacity of our systems?
James: It's a great question because I think that people generally are more excited about the result that they can create than the system. And I'm right there with you. Right? I told you about selling my swing set, right? I love sales. I love working with customers and that sort of thing. And even though a lot of people know me as a systems guy, they think it must just be like, I just wake up every morning and I'm like, oh, my God. You know what I want to do today? I just want to build more systems.
But what I really want to do is I want to grow my business. I want to grow my business. I want to have a life. I want to have the ability to work on the things that I find meaningful and important and ... But at the end of the day, I'm only one guy. And even if I have a team of people, we are only so many people and each one of us has a limited amount of resources at our disposal. Doesn't matter who you are, whether you're a solopreneur or your Jeff Bezos, at some point, there's a finite amount of resources that we all have to work with. And systems are the gateway to freedom.
And the way that – the way that I to explain it is systems give you leverage. And leverage is an incredibly important concept that I think a lot of people talk about but is misunderstood. And I remember the first time I learned about leverage was not in the business context.
My dad was – my dad was a mechanic. And so, he was always working on cars in the garage. And I went out to the garage one time and he was kinda under the hood doing something. And I asked him if he wanted any help. And he's like, yeah, just grab that wrench and take that bolt off of this part of the car. And I was like, okay. So, I grab the wrench and I'm pulling on it and this thing just won't break. And I'm like, oh, my God. So, what's my reaction? Pull harder, right? So, I'm pulling harder. And he walks away so he doesn't see what I'm doing.
I'm standing on the engine of the car and I'm pulling on this thing and he comes back. And he’s like, what are you doing? I said, well you wanted me to get this off. But I don't – I'm not strong enough to get it off. And so, he's like, hang on a sec. So, he walks to the other side of the garage, grabs this 3-foot length of pipe, puts the pipe over the handle of the wrench. He's like here, grab the top part of this pipe. And I did, and I pulled, and the bolt immediately broke off.
And that was the first time, I was like, wait a second. I put less effort in, and I got the result way easier, right? And systems are the leverage that we need in our business because we only have so much time in the day. We only have so many people on our team. We only have so many resources to use human capital and financial capital to do things that could be systemized is not the best use of resource. And so, our business growth is ultimately bottlenecked by how effective our systems are.
John: Fire Nation, I think it's so key to really recognize the fact that systems will give you leverage. They'll give you the ability to scale. And I love that visual that you gave James about the fact that, hey, let's stick a pipe on the end of this wrench, and then all of a sudden, something I couldn't move five seconds before now because of leverage, I'm able to do it. And I'm able to do it fairly easy. It’s not super-difficult.
James: [Crosstalk] Yeah.
John: And so, whenever you're finding yourself being like, man, this is so difficult. Believe me, there's a better way. And so, a lot of times people ask me, they’re like, John, how have you been able to build the business and the success that you've been able to achieve so far. And I'll answer with a straight face. I'll be like, I'm a tweaker. I'm literally a tweaker.
What I mean by that is every single time I do something, I'm typically just doing a little tweak, a little leverage, a little something, so little twists that’s just making that system a little bit better. But guess what, when I have made a hundred tweaks, over a hundred days, that compound effect has been massive. And so, I am always tweaking things. I'm always adjusting. I'm always looking for that system that's gonna give me that leverage, that ability to scale.
Now, when a lot of people think of leverage and scale and freedom, James. They think, wow. Well, I just need to hire people because hiring people –
John: – will make things easier. It will make things better. Is hiring a team gonna do that for sure?
James: It's not a certainty. There is absolute value in having a team. I totally believe that. But I also think that unless you have – if unless you're setting up systems, then your team is just a drain on you, or it could be a drain on you. It's expensive to have people and it takes time to manage those people.
And so, I think a lot of times when people run into bottlenecks they say, oh, well just throw money at it and hire somebody. And more often than not, that doesn't really fix the problem because you never got to the root of the problem. And if hiring people is always the solution, then you really haven't dug deep enough.
And it, kind of, brings me to the point that I want to make about what really is the system, right? We throw this word out a lot. And people say, oh, you got to systemize things. Just create a system. And it's become a buzzword. And I'm glad that there's awareness around it, but the definition is critical.
And back when I left my corporate job, nine years ago. I was running my first agency. And I had a lot of sales and marketing success, but the delivery and keeping everything on track was a total mess. And I just thought maybe I should just hire people. And so, I had like this revolving door in my business for a year-and-a-half, where it would be one person after the next, after the next. And it just wasn't working. I was like, man, what am I doing wrong here. And I zoomed out and created a definition of a system that has helped me ever since.
And a system is a combination of people and processes and tools. And all three of those things need to be coordinated in helping you achieve a certain outcome. And so, if you're hiring people and plugging them into a system where there's processes and tools to help them get their job done. People do the thing, processes help them know what to do, and tools support them in that effort. Then, hiring people is a great idea. But if you're just gonna throw people at a problem, then you're gonna have a much bigger mess.
And it reminds me of a story. And you and I are both good friends with Russell Brunson.
John: Oh, yeah.
James: And Russell’s been a client of mine. And I helped him put systems in place in his business. But one of the – one of the stories that he shares is in his early days, he had a team of six, seven, eight people. And they’d just be kinda sitting around while Russell did all the work. And it's like, man, if your team is just sitting around while you do all the work that means that you haven't fully integrated them into a system. And really, it's just costing you money. So, the right way to think about hiring people is how do you plug them into that system that is a combination of people, process, and tools, all trying to achieve a similar outcome.
John: See, I love that. I just want to repeat that one more time, Fire Nation, that a system is a combination of people and processes and tools all trying to achieve an outcome. That is just such a great way to look at that process, to look at what a real system will do, a profitable system will do for you.
Now, Fire Nation, if you even think we're close at – done dropping value bombs, you have another thing coming. We're gonna break down the four types of bad bosses and so much more as soon as we get back from thanking our sponsors.
So, James, we're back. And there are not one, not two, not three, but four types of bad bosses. Let's break each one of those bad bosses down one by one.
James: It's important to recognize this because I think we've all probably –as I'm gonna talk about, we've all seen ourselves become these types of people in one shape or form. And having awareness around this and what to do about it is the thing that can help really drive growth when we have the systems in place and we're managing a team.
We don't want to show up as these four. And so, the first one is what I call the hyper-critical boss. Okay. This is the person who needs to be right all the time. They're judgmental of other people's contributions or opinions. Nothing's really ever good enough. They tend to think they could have done things better themselves. They're sorta driven by anger, maybe it's outward, maybe it's passive-aggressive, whatever. And their team is not really empowered, but they're sort of dependent on this person for solutions. And that ultimately stumps growth. And so, the team doesn't grow because they're always worried about this person who's hyper-critical. And so, that's on one side.
And then, on the other side, you have sort of the opposite person who is the people pleaser. And this is the person who really, really wants to be liked by their team. It's super important that everybody thinks they're a good person. They want to keep the peace and avoid conflict and difficult conversations and potentially even have self-sacrifice in order to avoid that conflict. And even though they tend to think they could have things done – do things better themselves, they just volunteered to take on more because they're trying to make sure everybody likes them.
And so, they wind up having resentment towards their team because they're doing their team's job. And they're not really addressing the issue. And this leads them to feel like, they're a victim and wishing that things were different but they're unwilling to make a change.
And so, you've got sorta these two on one spectrum. And then, on the other spectrum we kinda have this concept of presence. Am I more present or less present? So, being too present is the helicopter boss. And this is the person who's constantly hovering over the team, worried that everything is gonna fall apart if they're not involved. They’re the dominating micromanager. They do everything themselves because they don't trust other people to do things correctly. And they're driven by fear of losing control.
And then the opposite of that person is the absentee. And we've seen these people plenty of times as well. They're bothered when their team needs them. And they think that what their team is doing is beneath them. And they just kinda want their team to figure things out on their own ‘cause they think most things aren't worth their time. In many cases, they're likely to grant premature ownership of tasks and responsibilities ‘cause they don't want to be involved. And they're driven by the fear of missing out on other more important things.
And so, there's these two spectrums that we both – we all can fall on. And our goal is to recognize these tendencies that we have and how we show up as leaders and managers. And to bring things towards the center to this concept of what I call being an engaged leader who is showing up, giving feedback, willing to have the difficult conversations, giving the right authority and autonomy to people, and being engaged when it’s necessary.
And so, it's really important that we recognize that it's not your fault if you're showing up like this. But once you have this awareness, how can you become an engaged leader instead of showing up like one of those four types.
John: Now, let me put you on the spot here. Which one of these four is your least favorite type of a bad boss?
James: My least favorite type is probably the absentee because I'm like, man if you have a business, roll up your sleeves and be the business owner. Be an engaged leader. And I think it's hard to do that if you just feel like everything is out there and not really supposed to be – requiring you at any level.
John: And which is the one that you think is probably the easiest to make an adjustment and become a good boss, even though right now you might quote, unquote be a bad boss?
James: I think that with the right delegation systems in place, it's way better and I think it's easier to go from being the helicopter person who's always micromanaging things ...
John: Hovering everywhere, yeah.
James: Totally. Nobody likes to work like that. It's exhausting for everybody. And with systems, people, process, tools, but then delegating things, like who's gonna do? When's it gonna get done? What exactly needs to be done? And making sure that you have feedback loops on those systems, I think it is easy to move away from being that helicopter boss, which nobody really likes.
John: And it's empowering, too, to your employees, and the people on your team, Fire Nation, when you're just like, you know what, this is what I want you to do. Now, you go do it. And you figure out how to do it. And I'd love for you to come up with a better way than maybe I'm showing you right now. But at the end of the day, this is your job, come back, take control, take power, take ownership. This is yours.
You're empowering these individuals now to go out take responsibility. Now, they have pride in this thing, Fire Nation. Sometimes pride in something, man, they do not want to screw up. They want to be proud of something worth being proud of.
Now, if we really wanted to break it down to the core because we hear the word hustle all the time. I mean, we said Russell Brunson name a few times. People will look and they see that he seems like he's always hustling around. He's doing Instagram stories, live speeches from stages, webinars, writing books, doing all this jazz. What's the difference between a hustling entrepreneur, somebody who's just hustling, and an effective CEO?
James: This is such an important topic because I think that there is a – there is a big difference, but it's not immediately clear on the outside, right? ‘Cause I'm not saying that you're gonna achieve success without putting work in because it takes work to build systems, to build a team, to build a business that's valuable.
But I think the key distinction between a hustling entrepreneur and an effective CEO is that a hustling entrepreneur, if you look at them today, they're gonna be grinding today. But you look at them a year from now, they're gonna be grinding on a very similar problem.
A quote that I really like is, “Don't ever be working on the same problem a year from now.” You could be working on a worse problem, a better problem, a different problem, but don't make it the same one. And and I think a hustling entrepreneur is somebody who's just waking up, going through the grind, doing the same thing day-in, day-out. And they're not creating any foundation for themselves to stand on and contrast that with an effective CEO.
An effective CEO is somebody who recognizes that if you're building a business that's going to be an empire, right? And you have ambition to build something of significance and substance, then that empire is built on the bricks of systems.
James: Right? You constantly need to be replacing yourself and other people with these systems. And so, part of your job as an effective CEO is what systems need to be built so that 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, a year from now, we're not working on the same problems. We've solved those problems. And now, we've moved on to bigger and better things. Whereas the hustling entrepreneurs is still gonna be working on the same things a year from now.
John: Fire Nation, if you really break it down to brass tacks, the level of your success is the level of your problems. I mean, if you're working on a low-level problems today and you're still doing that a year from now, then your level of success will not have ratcheted up at all. But if you're working on really big problems a year from now because listen you've continued to hire out and delegate and make systems and scaling and leveraging, you're gonna be having higher-level problems because you're having higher-level success. So, always think of that when you're going forward and building out your empire.
So, James we've talked about a lot of awesome stuff today. What is one key thing that you really want to make sure Fire Nation gets from everything that we've talked about? Then give us the best way that we can find out more about you, learn more from you, give us that call to action, and then we'll say goodbye.
James: Absolutely. So, I say the one key thing is using that definition of a system; people, process, and tools. Figure out what is the first brick that you need to systemize in your business, right? Is it you need to figure out some somebody to help you with your content distribution? Is it you need to figure out somebody help you with your hiring, your onboarding, your customer onboarding? Whatever it is, start getting in the habit and the mindset of being that effective CEO.
Don't fall into the trap of being those four bad bosses that we talked about. Be an engaged leader and an effective CEO who starts building your empire on the bricks of those systems. So, that's the one big thing that – and maybe there were a couple things in there, but that I would – that I would share.
And so, we've prepared something super-special for you guys. And I'm very happy to share that with you guys. So, it's a whole audit, basically, it's a series of worksheets that lets you go through your entire business and see where you're at. We've got a framework that I didn't get a chance to go into today called our RYG framework that will enable you to see, where are your systems in your business, which one should you be focusing on first, and then how to build those. And so, we've created a special tool kit just for Fire Nation. And you guys can get that at JamesPFriel.com/fire.
John: Fire Nation, you're the average. Of the five people you spend the most time with, you've been hanging out with JF and JLD today. So, keep up that heat and if you head over to EOFire.com and just type James in the search bar, the show notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today, links to everything, best show notes in the biz.
But Fire Nation, you literally have to check your pulse if you don't take this call to action. You have heard how powerful systems are throughout this entire conversation today. You are not going to get where you want to be without the right systems. You are not gonna get where you need to be, Fire Nation, without the right framework. So, you need to head over to JamesPFriel.com/fire. And you spell Friel, F-R-I-E-L. So, JamesPFriel.com/fire. You're gonna be able to go through and audit and then, get that framework that James was talking about.
And Fire Nation, if you are being honest with yourself and you really want to achieve success, this is a call to action you have to take because guess what? This audit and this framework is going to instantly improve your systems period, end of story.
So, James, thank you, so much for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today. For that brother, we salute you. And we'll catch you on the flip side.
James: Thanks. So, awesome to be here.
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