“I have this rule that you build the people and the people build the business, you literally develop your team. And these high-potential entry-level people come up. And it doesn't matter their age…it's really just about the framework we build for leadership in our companies.”
In this episode
Experience is not as important as potential. Building frameworks for success for high potential entry level people in leadership and management positions allows for growth within an organization.
In episode #132, Dan Martell gives tactical advice on optimizing your time and energy as a leader, and how to avoid being a transactional manager.
Dan Martell is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and Founder and CEO of SaaS Academy, where he coaches over 1000+ SaaS founders, including clients like ClickFunnels, Proposify, and Carrot.
Dan’s leadership style focuses on defining clear outcomes and metrics for success while using a “begin with the end in mind” approach.
He also shares tactical tips on creating the perfect week, performing an audit of your time, and how to optimize and balance your energy.
Tune in to hear all about Dan’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
How to spend your time in 2023
The camcorder method for delegation
Showing up energized
Understand the value of your time
- Learn more about Dan Martell
- Order Dan’s book Buy Back Your Time
- Connect with Dan on LinkedIn
- Read High Output Management
- Read One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:28
Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 04:40
Aydin, I am pumped to be here my purpose today is to try to make this the best episode you’ve ever done. I know that’s a high bar. I know it’s crazy for me to call it out but that’s what I’m gonna do. I want to make this best for you so excited to be here.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 04:52
I love it. I love it. Your energy levels are always legendary. So I’m very excited to do this. You know Dan, I’ve been Looking forward to chatting with you for a while. I mean, obviously, you are a very known entity in the world of leadership, you started your first business at 17 built five tech companies coach over 600 entrepreneurs and execs, founder of SaaS Academy. And what I’m super also excited about, amongst other things is you now have your first business book that you’ve authored, you have tons of videos, tons of content, but that there’s a book, there’s a book, so I back your time, buy back your time.com. And I’m very excited about You’re very generous in allowing me to see an advanced copy. And it is amazing. And so I’m very excited to talk about some of the content there today. But before we go there, what I want to do is rewind to the very beginning. This is a question that we ask everybody who comes on the show, is for all of the managers who are thinking about like those very early days and for you when you first started managing a team, and I know that was probably very early for you. What was it mistake that you remember from those very early days that maybe you make less of today?
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 06:03
Oh, man, I made every mistake. I mean, Aiden, you know, we’ve known each other for a long time, like, even the person I think when I first met you in Ottawa, fresh founders, like, I had to learn it because there is no other way. It’s like, you can’t learn to surf reading a book like you absolutely, like leadership is a thing where you’ve got to have people and lead. And if you wait for the title, that doesn’t work, you just gotta like, show up. But I would say the biggest mistake I made early days was, and I call it transactional management, I would show up, because I didn’t know any better. And I was like, Okay, I have one person working for me, or, like I had interns. That was probably the first time. You know, I’m 20 years old 21. And I worked at this company, the only job I ever had, and I convinced my boss, he was in the States, but I was in Canada, and I convinced him to get these two interns, Adam and Manny Emmanuelle. And I didn’t know how to lead. So I would just like, every morning, I just tell them what to do. And they essentially, like worked all day. And then at the end of day, I would check in and see if they got it done. And next day was the same thing. Like I would just tell them what to do. It was so funny, because in you know, in hindsight, it sounds normal.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:09
Yeah, it sounds like surface level, this thing that a manager should do, right?
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 07:14
You hire somebody, tell them what to do. And he checked, he got it done. And he told what to do next. The challenge with that is, it didn’t become a pain at that company. It became a pain. When I started my third comics, I had two failed companies I tried. And then on my third company spirit, I was like, you know, I think it was probably like, once I got to eight or nine direct reports, that I would spend my whole day telling people what to do, checking that it got done, and then telling them what to do next, which, you know, might have been productive at the individual level, but it just like it got to become a bottleneck. And I remember just thinking to myself, like how do people run companies with hundreds of people or like lead departments with big, like, 50 people or whatever, because like, I can’t even get my inbox done. I can’t get any of my projects done. Because I’m like, you know, I was saying babysitting all these people. And it was 100%. My fault, like transactional management is self inflicted, it was a approach that I didn’t know any better. And that’s how I showed up. And it got to a point where I was working 110 hours a week, 120 hours a week. And I literally, I was engaged at the time. And I came home on a Sunday afternoon because I was working all morning on a Sunday trying to get caught up. And my fiance left me man, like I live, walked into my house, takes the ring off, drops it on the counter, and just says I can’t do this anymore. And so like, for me, this is really personal because I know the pain that it caused in my life. And what changed. And I learned this, I started reading a bunch of leadership books. One of them specifically, Andy Grove, from Intel wrote a book called high output management, he talks about like, outcome based leadership or outcome based management. And for me, I call that transformational leadership instead of transactional management. And transformational leadership is completely different. You start with the outcome, you get clear on what it looks like, then you move to, here’s the measurement, it’s awesome, because I literally just got off a call with my executive leadership team. And all I do is sit there and watch them report to me, all their their leading metrics to their like to essentially their KPIs for their areas of the business. And that skill of like, sitting down with somebody reports, you can say like, Hey, let’s just define what the numbers of success like what is success, if you’re doing this if you’re gonna go work on this project, or change this in our business or work on this campaign. So measurement is number two, and like getting agreement on that. And then third is coaching people to success. And like, you know, I didn’t know I didn’t even know what that meant. I just thought I just tell them what to do. I already have the answers. And it turns out, you can do that. But eventually you’re the bottleneck. And that’s why it’s called a bottleneck because you are at the top as a leader. And I would say that framework like was the unlock Walk it took me moving to Silicon Valley reading the books going through a lot of lessons. And probably when I started my company full time that I got really good at I got so good at actually, like, brought in my co founder Ethan, I said, you’re the CEO, like, I got really good at managing with outcomes. And I would say if somebody’s asking me like, you know, in my book, I put a bunch of leadership frameworks to help people think through this stuff. But one of my favorite that’s kind of a mandatory read for anybody in leadership in my world is the One Minute Manager meets the monkey, not the One Minute Manager, it’s the One Minute Manager meets the monkey. And the reason why is he talks about this habit that leaders, that’s a book, and it’s awesome leaders, especially if you were a sole contributor, and you become a manager, a lot of people have a hard time with that transition of like, I used to write code, and I manage to developers, or I used to do the social marketing. And now I have a team of contractors, we have this bad habit of taking other people’s monkeys on, right, because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s like, you come to me with a problem. I’m like, give it to me, I’ll get back to you once I have time to look at it. Those are the monkeys. So I don’t do that anymore. And that’s why transformational leadership is so powerful. It’s like, no, let’s talk about what your outcome is. Let’s talk about what you would measure. So you know, you’re making progress. And then let’s talk about what’s the frequency, we review things. So I have the opportunity to give you some guidance and coach you, I’m not going to tell you what to do. We’re just going to review the information together on the same side of the table. And then I’m going to figure out what principle I think you might be lacking. And I’m going to coach you on that principle. And that was definitely like the thing that when I started in business, even though like we grew to about 35 employees and became wealthy selling that company, that was my bottleneck, I was never going to grow past that with learning that skill.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 11:46
Yeah. So I mean, lots of great stuff to unpack there. I love this, the phrase used because it really does get to the heart of I think, you know, something that a lot of people start out by doing which is just this transactional management approach. Some people may call it micromanagement, but but I don’t think it’s quite micromanagement, it’s really just like getting down to a very detailed level. And the transformational management, I also think, again, an outcomes approach a much better way to go about things and, and you kind of outlined this a little bit. So you talked about defining what the outcome is, what the success looks like. And then looking at leading indicators, making sure that people are there and then kind of coaching them through it. So I guess my question for you is, does this assume a certain level of experience or seniority for your team? Does a transformational framework change? If you’re managing people with 20 years of experience? Are people straight out of school?
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 12:45
I don’t think so. And I’ll tell you why. I think in my kind of like leadership frameworks, when I build companies, I look for what I call hippos high potential entry level. And I got this from this the private equity, you know, they they have this like strategy where they like when they buy a company, they analyze the whole company through different lenses. And what they’re doing is you’re trying to identify these high potential entry level people, you know, both their cognitive understanding and their IQ and their problem solving, critical thinking. And then they support them. Because I mean, Aiden, you and I both know, we were both these people, 20 year olds with resources, millions of dollars running software company. So experience isn’t actually like needed, it’s great to hire, you know, a senior person that comes with playbooks. But what I’m more interested in as a leader is building a framework for success, right. And like, you know, recently I was, I was leading one of my sales leaders. And I just, I was clear on the outcome. It’s like, look, we’re building an SDR function, and I just painted him the picture of the outcome I, I kind of visualize the mountaintop of what this looks like, at the end of the day, at scale, this is producing 30% of our pipeline, it’s efficient, you know, it’s repeatable, you’re able to hire people within 14 days, get them to be productive, 80% quote, like, I was very descriptive. Now I have to have that skill. Some people don’t, as a leader, you may not have that skill, but you gotta practice, like, defining what the outcome looks like. Then from there that’s begin with the end in mind, if they can see that because you’ve described it and pictures are a lot better than words. Then we define okay, what are the metrics? What are the three to four or five numbers, that on a daily and weekly basis, you can measure that’s gonna give you feedback towards the goal, and we’re gonna call our shot, right? Like, even that idea is kind of foreign for a lot of leaders to ask somebody to just call their shots. And I actually don’t care if they’re right. I just want to know that they made a commitment. It’s like, if you’re going to lose some weight because you want to get fit. If you just say, well, I want to lose some weight. That’s not a strong commitment. If you say I’m gonna lose two pounds in the next week. That’s specific As a leader, I want to talk about that I want to say like, in a month, you will hit this target, let’s work backwards. And now we are on the same page for the weekly progress. And then that way, when we meet you report to me, it’s fascinating because Aiden, it becomes so much less overhead as a leader to manage that relationship than telling people what they did tracking, like project management. It’s like, I don’t want to project manage people, I just want to have us agree on something. And then and then when they fall short, it’s not bad. I’m actually like, I’m very deliberate. This is one of the areas I had to upgrade over the years, is understanding that that’s just a feedback loop. Like if somebody falls short, it’s not bad, it’s my opportunity as a leader to say, Okay, how to identify the area I got to coach them up on. And it’s, it’s not trying to fix the whole swing, it’s fixing one aspect of the swing, because I think too much leaders sometimes like especially if they know so much about an area, they’ll just like overwhelm that or direct reports, when you really want to say like, Hey, sure, there’s a bunch of things that we could work on. But I’m, I’m going to just talk about this. And for the next seven days, next two weeks, I really want you to just wake up and focus on this right focus on this area. And here’s how I think it will impact you. And then in two weeks, the numbers get better. And then you can work on number 2345. But that’s that’s kind of the the transformational leadership methodology that it allows you to scale because as you build these people up, you know, I have this rule, you build the people and the people build the business, you literally develop your team. And these high potential entry level people come up. And it doesn’t matter their age, I’ve seen literally, like my head of videography. Right now he’s 20 years old, he’s been working since he was 17. He’s got no experience, but he’s more talented than most executives that, you know, are on teams of companies, I coach like he’s, so it’s, it’s really just about like the framework we build for leadership in our companies.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 16:50
I love that. And specifically that that phrase is amazing. You work on the people, and then the people build the business is pretty awesome. So I want to get a little bit tactical. So we’re talking about your executive leadership function. I mean, this is what you do, right? You literally work with execs, CEOs, founders, very meaningful company sizes. And so you’re talking about this, getting to outcomes and describing what the outcome is, can we get like very tactical, how do you go about doing that? It could be at your company, what you know, you think is the best practice? Do you sit? And for every function in the company? Do you maybe write something out? Is this like a physical, you know, like a two page document? What does it tactically look like to describe the outcome?
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 17:38
I think every leader is different. I know, I’m more of a talker and visual. So recently, I was doing this with essentially our like, kind of like social marketing strategy for next year. And I just wrote down like five, kind of like, meaningful components of what I think would be true as we build this out, right? So it’s kind of like, begin with the end in mind. You know, here’s our YouTube strategy. Here’s our take, like, and then how does that kind of become a flywheel? How do we, you know, how does our influencer strategy all fit into this thing? But I go to the end, and I use slides, because I’m a visual guy. But I use themes, like principles, like almost like key words, right? So that they can anchor against it. And they can remember, like, oh, you said this at the beginning of the year, this is what we’re trying to do. I paint that that’s my responsibility, like, the role of the leader is to be clear, I think right now we’re about to go into a really tough economy in a market and a lot of leader is going to be asked to do a lot with less. And I will tell you, the first thing that you can do for your team is get crystal clear on what you’re trying to get done for the year. And to the degree that it is a simple rhythm and a simple message, you know, and you name it. So it’s like, you know, it could be everything from like, I actually give you this year, we have we literally I call it the Northstar question, we have one question that we ask everybody on our team in SaaS Academy, so I run two companies, SaaS company’s largest co coaching company for software entrepreneurs. And then high speed Ventures is kind of where I do all my investments. For SaaS Academy. The question is, if we could only grow based on customer referrals, how would you change your work? That’s the question because then everything else becomes an amplifier. So like, I when I shared that with my team, you know, as we kind of did the planning, everybody I asked them like asking yourself that question, we can’t grow marketing and like there’s all these things that we do that are the revenue engine, but what if we just made it very simple, we have a customer and we have to get referrals from that customer. So what does that mean? It means a lot of stuff means the customer has good impact means the customer has to get impact quick means we have to go above and beyond because people wouldn’t refer if they didn’t have a wow experience, it means that every one of the interactions that they have with and interacts with our brands and like in the company outside the company, past customers all has to be like a positive sentiment. And it also means that we have to ask for the referrals, we’ve should probably see the referrals, and maybe the initial conversations and the, in the experience design, and there’s all these things, but it just it was, for me, I always want to try to give them so few things to focus on to make it crystal clear. But all I know is that if I can get everybody within my company at SaaS Academy focused on that, it’s inevitable that everything else doesn’t happen. Right? So it’s literally, this is the question for the year, we added it to the beginning of every one of our meetings, we add it to all the one on ones, we add it to our quarterly planning, we literally bake it into the culture of the company for the next 12 months. And that sets the outcome, right, our outcome is very simple. It’s what percentage of our customer base referred other people one number, right, it’s either going up or down, we track it, we use our CRM solution. And then what I do is I just kind of paint what that kind of company would look like. So that marketing and sales and program design and coaching all that stuff, have a sense of like how their department is going to be impacted by that question.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 21:18
I really see how it’s almost like a waterfall question, you do this, you ask this one question. And all of a sudden, everyone’s really focused on making sure that the customers are served really well. And it really sets the stage. And I really like your idea of just making it the first thing in every meeting making sure people talk about it in their one on ones. I mean, it’s a really, really good way to cascade that and make sure it happens. I think this is you know, from from a planning perspective, especially, you know, this is the beginning of the year. And you know, people are really looking to do this kind of planning. So I think hopefully, they’ve, they’ve started the process, you know, before the beginning of the year, but if not, it’s still not too late. I also want to talk about some of the other things that I think matter. One of the things you said, for example was, you know, this year different economy, people are going to be looking to get more out of their time, they’re going to be looking to get more out of their teams. And one of the things that I think people struggle with is how they should go about spending their time. And you have this idea where you you define the perfect week, you call it like the perfect week design, I’d love for you to describe what that is, and and how people can put it to work.
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 22:33
Yeah, I actually have it, I’m gonna pull it up. Because it’s that powerful. I like literally give a full design template. Because the rhythm because what I learned a long time ago is that we don’t manage time, I mean time moves through our lives linearly, all we manage is the energy we bring to that time. And if we can actually evaluate our week from that lens, and then look at the type of work we do, so that the energy flows through it, because like, there’s certain types of work, if you asked me to do in the afternoon, between two and five, like you’re not going to get my best work. And as a leader, as a manager, I’m the one that decides kind of how I focus my time and energy. But for me, and this is it’s actually on page 141, check that out. So that’s I give the full template design. This is my perfect week. But again, I give you the framework for people to design the way that works best for them. But at the end of the day, the concept is simple. Most people waste time because of things called lead time, lead time is like meetings going long, right? They don’t allocate and block, okay, they don’t batch, right. So like I do, you know, all similar type activities together. So when I look at my calendar, and I see, all right, well, I’ve got two podcasts here, I’m gonna go schedule a third one. So I can do three in a row, or from working on creative type work, I’m gonna like put all that stuff together. I put all of my executive leadership meetings together so that it’s a rhythm I want to one’s very similar. And then once you kind of like design your perfect week, and you put all the big rocks in the important stuff like your health, right? Like, I know, I show up better for my team, when I work out first thing in the morning. So it’s like, at this point in my career, it’s not even a discussion like I work out every day. I sweat every day. It’s part of my rhythm. I know I’m better for my family. If I have one night a week where I get to go spend time with my friends. So Tuesday nights, that’s my night off my wife’s got Monday nights off. We have date nights on Thursdays we do like so we have we essentially designed a seven day rhythm that works for my wife and I and my teams and my my energy levels and those that creates the scaffolding to then put the rest of the stuff you know because if you’ve ever seen like the the big rocks and the boulders and the pebbles in the sand, you put the big rocks in first because everything else will fit around it. And that’s that’s what the perfect week is for me. I just know because one of the first things I do with every new coaching clients is a time and energy audit. And it’s a really fun exercise, I recommend everybody do it. It’s in chapter three in my book. But essentially, I asked them to audit two weeks of their calendar, and then use a green highlighter and a red highlighter. And every 15 minutes, they log what they worked on, and they highlight it red or green, if it gave them energy or suck their energy, and they put a $1 sign if it’s very low cost to pay somebody else to do it versus high costs. Now, even if you don’t have a team that you can delegate to which I would say everything that’s red and $1 sign, you got to decide, right, it’s the 3d, we either delegate defer, or just delete it. And oftentimes, it’s funny, I had a team member, Kelsey, come to me once she was overwhelmed, and this is, this is gonna happen, right? Aiden, like, this year, everybody’s gonna be like, overwhelmed. And I’m asking so much of myself, and I don’t have enough time, and then I’m getting in trouble at home. And there’s all these conflicts, it’s very simple. Audit your calendar, time and energy, and then just decide, like, there’s a lot of stuff. Oftentimes, when I, you know, this leader, my Kelsey, when she came to me overwhelmed, I said, Look, we’re gonna It’s just I don’t know what the answer is. All I know is there’s, there’s a high likelihood you’re working on stuff that isn’t needed, or may not be valuable, or like I, if we knew we could negotiate and not do it, like, it may not be the thing that I think or you and I would work on together to do this. And within three days, she literally texted me back. And she’s like, sorry, I’m good. Like just doing three days of a time and energy audit. She’s like, Oh, I know where I’m wasting my time. I know what things I need to stop doing. Thank you. Sorted. Right. So that to me is like start with the audit, and then design the perfect week. So yeah, these two things, and then figure out like, how do you fit it all in. But most people, and I think most people live life by default, not by design. And I’m just very intentional about how I show up with my work and with my team. And then if it’s in the calendar, I can I see where I don’t have enough capacity, and then I can renegotiate expectations or timelines with people. Or it may be me renegotiating with my family and say, Look, I don’t like to have to do this. But for the next week, I’ve got to work, you know, one or two nights, because I’ve got this thing coming up in three weeks, and it’s got to get done. I don’t have any other resources. It’s not a forever thing. It’s a one time thing. I know it. I know how I got myself here. I won’t make the mistake again. And at least and then you show them the framework you’re working through. And I don’t know if you show people like here’s how I’m going to change going forward, they’re usually pretty understanding.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 27:35
Hey, everyone, just a quick pause on today’s episode to tell you about something new that we’re doing and 2023 New Year, and we thought we’d do something very special. So lately, we’ve had a lot of guests on the discipline of engineering management. And so we put our heads together. And we said, What if we created an all out amazing Engineering Leadership Summit. And so we’ve decided to do exactly that. It happens on January 27. And if you want to register for it, you can go to fellow dot app slash live slash Summit. To register, of course, we’re going to put the link in the show notes, it’s going to be amazing, we have reached out to a lot of the previous guests who have been on the Supermanagers podcast and we wanted to bring a lot of them together to have panel style discussions, interactions with the audience. And we’ve created a series of these sorts of panels with some of the most popular guests on the podcast where you know, 140 or so episodes in now. So we have a lot of guests to choose from. But also we’re going to do something really cool. We’re gonna have a great keynote with the former CTO of GitHub, Jason Warner, Jason helped GitHub scale to, I don’t know, over 7 million daily active users. He’s an awesome leader, really looking forward to my discussion with him. We’re going to talk about scaling teams and the business and all the lessons he’s learned today. He’s at Redpoint Ventures. So lots of stuff to talk about there. We’re gonna have leaders from Netflix, Hashi Corp, oyster whoop, and so many more companies all attending, both in the panel format. And as an attendee, I mean, this is also a great opportunity to meet other people who are interested in all these topics. So if you’re an engineering or product builder, aspiring to be a great leader, this is the summit for you. It is of course free to register. If you know people on your team that you think should attend, please send them the link. This is an experiment for us. But even for our experiments, we go all out. So it is going to be amazing. And we haven’t done a live event like this before. So it’s going to be a really great time lots of surprises baked in. You can register at fellow dot app slash live slash Summit. And I hope to see you all there and with that said, let’s go Back to the interview. That’s awesome that you negotiate with your family like that. That’s amazing. So much good stuff. As always, I love the most live their lives by default and not by design. And what I really like about what you’re saying, Dan, is, it’s a thing that yes, leaders should do. But it’s also a thing that they can do with their teams, right? I would imagine that anybody no matter who it is, in the organization, if they did this type of an audit, it is inevitable that they will find things that they can either stop doing do in a different way, defer reprioritize. And what’s really interesting about it, and part of my like thesis around why stuff like this starts to happen is, the longer you’ve been in a position, or the longer your company or team has been around, there are things that you started doing at some point, because it made sense, like at some point, but it’s very rare that people go back and like reevaluate, like, is that meeting still necessary? Is that report still necessary Is this still the best way of doing things, and these sorts of audits, it’s almost like spring cleaning, you’re just really looking at things. And I would highly encourage, and I’m sure you would, too, is, this is something that you should do, but also do with your team. And you’ll find really good stuff.
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 31:19
This is how I lead when people come to me and say, I’m overwhelmed. I don’t try to answer their problem, I just give them a process. And like I said, in my team that time, Kelsey, she was overwhelmed. Like, I do this process probably every four months, because it’s really just a capacity thing. Like at any point, when you hit a capacity of what you can do, then you have to do your time and energy audit, to then look at ways to trade up and trade out things to just be more effective. Time is a constant output is a variable, and it’s impacted by leverage. So if you understand how to get leverage, then you have to audit your time to like reassess, like you said, is this meeting still needs? Is this report the right report? Are we looking at old metrics that don’t matter, we’ve got these new ones, let’s get rid of these 15 things that we’re pulling every week. And let’s just look at these five. And it’s really a way to give yourself permission to redesign the way your team operates to achieve outputs.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 32:16
I think like one of the things that you you focus a lot on, is also delegating, right, figuring out what things you called the three Ds. And one of the terms that you you or frameworks that you have is a camcorder for delegating with would love for you to explain what that is.
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 32:33
He had a camcorder method is part of the four C’s for documentation. Right. And, you know, I read the E Myth a long time ago, incredible book, I’ve since you know, become kind of a nerd when it comes because my software background, things like wikis, and notion and all like the modern platforms, and Checklist Manifesto and all this stuff. And what I’ve kind of come to the conclusion, especially if you’re a busy leader, right, most of the clients, I coach, they’re all CEOs of software companies. But I’ve helped my executive leadership team across multiple departments execute, it’s using the same framework. And my philosophy is this, I’m always looking for net time, things that require no extra time. So let’s say we were producing a podcast, right. And it’s like, you know, there’s the shooting of the podcast, but there’s also all the prep work. And then there’s all the post production and the publishing, what I would do is if I was like owning the project, and doing it from start to end is I would record myself doing all of that work. And that’s the current camcorder method. And in today, I would use something as simple as like zoom, I started up record, share my screen, and I would talk through it, I would talk about my prep, I would just like break it down into the natural steps of what I’m doing. So let’s say I got five podcasts coming up, I do the prep, I say I go look at the person, I look at their bios, and I just share and I talk out loud and say what I’m doing. And then like post production, I would say, you know, I save all the videos in this dropbox folder, and I grabbed the video and I’m ready. And what’s cool is like, I’m doing the work while I’m recording myself talking about it. So it doesn’t take me any extra time. It might take like 10% more time. But it’s doing the work. So I’m like getting the output. And then what happens is if I’ve got like five of these recordings, three minimum, usually five, then when I hire the podcast person to buy back my time, then I just give them the five videos. And here’s the kicker, I asked them to create the playbook. So they their first week of training is literally like onboarding and then three days of watching these five videos. You know, there might be two hours each. And then they create the playbook as they’re watching the video. And then I use the playbook as a feedback loop to me that they understood what I was talking about in the videos. And that is how every one of the repeatable scalable playbooks in my company exists and people are like, you really record everything I’ve done it I’ve literally in my home because We have a house manager Betty, and I do triathlons. I did three Ironman this summer, which is crazy as bikes maintenance. It’s a lot. That’s why I’m really good at this because I stay incredibly busy in all aspects of my life. But like the bike maintenance is a thing. And I would normally have to do it not like heavy duty maintenance, like changing parts, but just like cleaning the chain and maintenance in the batteries also. And all I did was literally pull up my phone and set it up and record Well, I did it once. Right, I sat there with like, I have a bunch of bikes. So that’s the thing is you have freaking quiver of bikes. And then I gave it to my house manager, I said, Betty, you create the bike maintenance procedure, watch the video, I go through it. And from that one, one video, I have never had to maintain my bikes ever again. And they’ve been 100% done because I follow the seas. I talk about the cadence and the checklists. And there’s a process for how to do a great playbook. Another one I think people don’t realize is on your iPad or your iPhone, I don’t know about Android devices, you can literally record yourself. So like there’s a setting right here, it’s the little button, you can go into your control panel and add it. And I hit microphone and I hit start recording. This is literally right now recording my iPhone. So I could sit there on a plane and do work. And I do it on my iPad all the time. It’s probably where I do it the most. And it will record my screen and me talking. And then I stop and I upload it using iCloud and it goes to a folder my team can pick up my executive assistant or whoever. But the iPad ones have fun is because a lot of the work I do, because I’m a coach, right? And I create trainings and playbooks and talks and people are like how do you outsource that, you know, like, there’s no way and I’m like, No, I actually do all my slides, you saw my presentation SS north, all that was created by my team, what I get is the material and then I use my iPad, I record my screen and my audio. And I use my pen and I just go over it and I go don’t like this image, change it to this, this, this and this three minutes of feedback. And then that automatically gets uploaded, sent to the team member, again, camcorder method I just recorded myself giving the notes and the feedback. And it’s asynchronous. And then that way, they come back and it’s like 100% of the time. And then that recording gets saved for the designer, in case I ever hire a new designer, I don’t have to retrain the designer on how to do my slides, they go in through the training log, which is all of the previous recordings of me doing my slides. Like that’s the beauty of this is that, you know, a lot of people they think I gotta go away for three days and build an SOP, like I gotta build a big playbook, or I gotta, I gotta hire a company to come in and audit my team and build this operating manual for my business. And it’s like, by the time like, within three months, that thing becomes stale. It’s not accurate anymore. My whole philosophy is record yourself doing the work, put it in a Google Doc, put it in a notion file, save the link, like it’s, you know, wherever it’s saved, and then hire somebody give it to them, and they do it. And it’s it’s way better like training than you try and because like most people don’t hire folks, because they’re like, I don’t want to spend three days trying to train this new person. And what if they don’t work out and I’ve got to hire somebody new and train them again, I’ve never sat down to train anybody on my team. For years, it’s never happened because I’m always just given them the recordings. Think about a salesperson, the salesperson doesn’t need training, they shouldn’t go listen to 25 sales calls, they listen to 25 sales calls and have a talk track script, those two things should get them from what I call zero to hero within 14 days. And that’s all we want. It’s like you just you can do the same thing for every role in your business using the camcorder method.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 38:33
Yeah, so I think this is really I think gets to the heart of it, which is, you know, trying to figure out, you know, what are the things that are repeatable and not necessarily worrying about creating the playbook yourself and like thinking that you have to always create the playbook. I think that’s super novel to say, Hey, new people on the team can potentially take on the the playbook writing aspect of it. And then the feedback loop is pretty easy to do after the fact too. So I I really like that way of going about things. And and I think it does apply to pretty much every rule, I can’t really think of a rule where this wouldn’t apply to. I know that in terms of you know, prioritizing, you know, work one of the things that you are a fan of and this is something that I know that we’ve used on our teams before, but it’s also the ice score that you assigned to projects. Maybe we can also talk about that because again, like next year, people are going to be trying to get more out of their time more outcomes. So what is the ice score? And why is it useful?
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 39:37
Yeah, it’s a military strategy that was developed to help people on the field of combat to quickly mental check what they should be doing right like to make a decision. What’s the mental framework for prioritizing all the different threats and taking action? And I’ve just used Is it for all of my growth initiatives? Right? So in our world, we call it growth hacking or growth teams or whatever. But I teach it to every leader on my, in my companies, I teach it to my coaching clients, because at the end of the day, all we’re doing in business is evaluating different options, rank ordering them, and then making bets, right. And we’re making decisions with imperfect data. So it’s not like, there’s no right answer. It’s I’m making an answer. And if it doesn’t work out, we’re going to change but we’re not going to, you know, analysis paralysis. And what I stands for, it’s an acronym, which is impact competence in ease. And typically, I do it out of one to five. And what I think Novolin, like, important to understand is you want to separate the ideation process from the scoring. So what happens naturally, when people are brainstorming, they’re doing both at the same time in their mind, right? They’re in a meeting, and there’s a problem. And they’re throwing out solutions. But before they even say a solution, they’ve already thought through it in their mind, and they’re only giving like the one they think could work, right? What I like to do in a meeting is say, Okay, here’s the problem, this is our Northstar metric, or our measurement, this is the thing we’re trying to fix. And then everybody just just make a list of as many crazy ideas as we can to solve that problem. So there is a directional focus of like that problem. These are the strategies and it can be crazy. I mean, we’ve done this on our product teams, I’ve had engineers throw at the most ridiculous things. But there’s sometimes there’s a kernel of something in there that you can actually like, expand on. But once you have this list, then you I scored, right. And you go through each strategy, and you say, Okay, what’s the impact? Like? Is it a one impact? Like, you know, I don’t think this will have a big impact, or is it a five? Is it confidence is Do we know how to do this? And we’ve done this before? Is it a high confidence? Is that a five or is it a low confidence, and then ease is the effort to do the thing, right, because like that strategy might be right. But if it takes me 16 months to see a result, that’s not as interesting as something else for equivalent impact, that might only take me three weeks. So that’s the east side of things. And then it gives you a score. And once you score all those strategies, and you rank order it, that’s your hit list. Now, it’s not a science, like you still have to assess and like decide, like, okay, these are the top 20%, let’s figure out how we’re going to massage these into a quarterly, you know, strategy that’s going to allow you to achieve an outcome. Now, I will say there’s a bonus one to this that doesn’t get talked about often, which is reach. So it’s actually instead of ice, we call it rice. And I got this from the team at intercom because they realized that, like if they were doing this for a product, and there was like a specific feature that had similar, you know, impact confidence and ease to help with like, let’s say retention, but reaches the amount of accounts it would impact, it just gives you another dimension to really get a fuller breadth of the potential value of that effort. So we add that as well. It’s like if a change will only impact 10% of our customer base. But another one similar impact would impact 80% of our customer base. And that’s gonna have a different score to impact your overall number using rice instead of just ice. But that’s the way like literally we do our strategic planning, we rank order it. And then in the book, I actually teach this framework called the preloaded year, which is you take all the big initiatives, the big rocks and you actually put it in the calendar, like when I say that I’m very intentional about my life, not only do you have a perfect week design template for the week cadence, I look at all of my trips and commitments, etc on an annual basis into this one page template that you can download at buyback your time.com I put a whole resource list together go to the website and download the template but that way it’s all there and it’s like all the money initiatives in the business all the personal stuff all the vacation and I don’t have complex think about how much time people waste by like making commitments to people and then having to re NAG and change rhythms and I don’t have that
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 44:01
even the small things that you said right your you know the date night is this day, the hanging out with friends is this day like even these basic things like understanding what are things that will energize you and what are things that you need to show up your best and make sure that those things are scheduled. All these concepts are super, super interesting. I will ask one question before we ask the final question that we ask everybody who comes on as a guest but it’s one of the things that I’ve always been very impressed with Dan is the level of energy enthusiasm and optimism that you show up to every single day and I know you have a lot you you have a certain diets you have your exercise you have all these rituals, but I feel like there’s something more so how is it because I think this is super important because one of the belief systems I have is nobody wants a follow up pessimist that’s personal viewpoint that I have and I find that you definitely carry this like awesome energy with you everywhere. And so how do you do that? Are there other rituals or other things that, you know, basically command you to be at that level.
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 45:07
So it’s like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs of energy. So there’s a baseline level of activities and habits I have that are all the things you would probably assume. Right? Like you mentioned, like workout health, hydration, you know, I drink three or four liters of water per day, the people I allow, we have a sign in our house, you walk in, it says you’re responsible for the energy you bring in your house. So like, even the I mean, it sounds crazy, but like the company we keep, the thing that I think sets me apart is I learned a long time ago, I have a belief that we don’t have energy, we produce energy, and I can prove it every time to my when I do my events, I do it live, that if I said to you, you know, describe a depressed person, you know, there’s a person behind the wall over there and they’re depressed? How would they act with their body, you know, with their shoulders be down or up or down with their voice be higher load below? Would their head be up or down, be down? It’s like, everybody has the same answer, right? Because they know what that physical state looks like. And then I say, okay, measure yourself on a one to 10 how you feel right now? People are like, Oh, six, or seven or eight, whatever. And then I go, imagine you just found out that you won the lottery, and there’s $10 million in cash in your bank account. How do you feel now and everybody’s like, 910 11 crazy? Well, here’s what I know. Nothing’s changed. You’re the same person. So we don’t have energy, we produce energy, we decide. So how do I produce energy? By what I focus on? I literally have a question my and your question can be completely different. But anytime a and this is like, I don’t write about this in the book, this is your get some of the best stuff. I’ve never shared this publicly. Because nobody’s asked me this question. I asked myself a simple quote, anytime I feel doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration. Any negative state, I asked myself this one question, how can I appreciate even more God’s grace and guidance in this moment? I asked myself that question 4050 times a day, I asked him before we get on podcast, how can I appreciate God’s grace and guidance even more in this moment? And all of a sudden? I mean, when you’re like, how are you doing? I’m like, incredible. It’s like, how could I not be incredible? If that’s the question, I just asked myself to set my focus, because what I learned a long time ago is what you focus on will expand. And I decide what I focus on, I can either focus on being depressed and anxiety prone and fearful. Or I can say, hey, I’m hopeful I have faith. I’m grateful I have this path. I’m being guided, this is incredible. And look, if that doesn’t work, I’ll tell you. My other trick is get down to do 10 Push ups, physical, like get yourself out, like literally jump, move your body, get your heart going, like nobody’s ever I sometimes say the pump is the cure, like some people are in a bad headspace. Go for a run, go work out go lift heavy objects. And it’s funny how that will reset your energy. So like oftentimes, if I’ve got like a big day where I’m going back to back, like when I do my events, I’m on stage for 1214 hours, I’m bringing the energy I’m producing the energy I’m I’m deciding. And if that requires me to change my physiology, put my shoulders back and focus on something that’s inspiring and being grateful for the opportunity that I’ve got the, what I call the get to versus have to mentality. That’s what brings me energy. And that’s a decision. It’s just most people allow themselves to tell a story. That is just not true that I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well. Last night, I didn’t eat well. I had nachos for lunch. My wife, her husband is mad at me. My kids are upset. I just got screamed at by my boss. I think at the raise, like you can focus on now that stuff and I know 100% with certainty you will feel down in yourself or you can decide to believe that it’s within you. And it doesn’t require any external circumstances. You decide, bring the energy.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 48:59
I love it. You don’t have energy, but you produce it. And
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 49:03
I like our plant like a nuclear power plant.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 49:06
I love it. I love it. Fun fact, I have a setup. I have jumper right by my desk and in between those back to back meetings. 30 seconds of jump rope will do a lot. So the final question I’ll quickly end on and obviously, really, really highly recommend everybody check out the book buyback your time.com We’ll leave it in the show notes. Dan, this has been awesome. We’ve talked about so many different concepts. Are there any final tips, tricks or parting words of wisdom that you would leave everyone with?
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 49:37
Yeah, I just want to share this message like I’m on a on a mission to like, really help people understand the value of their time to then figure out how they can become a better time trader to then fill their calendar with things that light them up that creates the most value for the world. Okay, so that’s that’s the movement I’m trying to create. But there’s a bigger reason why and it’s the What I believe is the underlying why for every human being on Earth. And I think right now in our world, there’s just a lot of people are like, I don’t know what my purpose is. And I don’t know why I’m here. And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. And it’s, I hear this guy, and he’s got this clear vision for his life. And but it’s just some people feel stuck because they don’t have that. Here’s what I believe in my, my soul, my heart to be true, is every person is here on earth to become the best version of themselves. That is why we have the ability to create as a mammal, as a species, we very unique thing, we have the capacity to create things from nothing. It’s very, it’s unique to humans. So I think we’re all here to become the best version of ourselves. And then the second part is, and share it with the world, whatever that means to you. Your world might be your kids, it might be your family might be your community member of your church, it might be your CrossFit gym, I don’t care. I just believe that every person, so that what you do and where you work, and all the money you make, it’s literally do you wake up every day to become a better version of you? And are you sharing that enthusiastically with the rest of the world? Right? Are you selfish, and you’re keeping that to yourself, and you’re not, it’s just for you. And I think if people use that as a North Star principle for how to show up, it would solve a lot of problems. And that is like the highest level of my mission in life and why I’m here because I’m trying to do that every day. Through the content I put out through the interviews, I do the book now that I’m finally authored on. And just the way I show up as proof that literally, you can start wherever you want to start. And if you’re willing to put in the work, and do it over a long enough period of time, it becomes inevitable, like you will be successful and you will live a high quality life and I think you deserve it and then share it with the world.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 51:46
I love it. It’s a great message, great advice and a great place to end it. Dan, thanks so much for doing this.
Dan Martell (SaaS Academy) 51:51
Incredibly honored. Thanks, Aydin.