Getting Into The Right Mindset
There are three things that I'm trying to achieve with the Replaceable Founder Methodology, focus, flexibility, and freedom. Sound like buzzwords but they have real applicability in what we're talking about here and I'm gonna explain why. So focus is really about focusing on what you're best at, right, do what you're best at, outsource all the rest, that kind of an idea. Flexibility is really about your work style. Can you work where, when and how you want to? And freedom, there are two kinds of freedom. Actually, it's usually what's referred to as the liberty paradox, positive and negative liberty. So what most people are looking for when they talk about having freedom is the freedom from something, it's a negative liberty, they're trying to escape something, and that could be the nine to five, it could be debt, it could be a bad partnership, a bad job, whatever it might be, but we're looking for freedom from the thing, but ultimately what I want and what you can achieve with the repl...
aceability is the freedom to, positive liberties. And that could be the freedom to explore, the freedom to leap if you want. And this comes down to four mindsets and these four mindsets can be experienced by anybody at any position in the company. They're just mindsets. And I say just because this isn't about having a cool automation or some software or having a no meetings rule, this is all about mindset. The four mindsets are cog, engine, engineer, and inventor. So in terms of the three things that we're looking at, focus, flexibility, and freedom, let's talk about what each one looks like. And the cog, you know when I say cog in this context, I mean like a gear, right, not cost of goods sold, that comes up quite a bit. So you are a part of the machine if you're the cog. And regardless of the size of the cog or whatever, if somebody were to pluck that cog out, I would bet that the machine, the engine would stop working. So in terms of focus, the cog is focused on the boring, the minutia, the prescriptive, they're just doing what they gotta do to get through the day. This person is underwater and all they're trying to do is just tread to get back up for a breath. In terms of flexibility, they are caged, they cannot go anywhere. If they do, work stops, business stops, bad things happen. And in terms of freedom, they are overwhelmed. They are the most overwhelmed of overwhelmedness that they could be. The thing that keeps people at cog level is what I would refer to as the freedom and ignorance lie, because there's a myth. The myth is that it's all about me, I gotta hustle, I've gotta grind, I've gotta work harder, I have to shovel faster. The truth, which is hard for people to accept and what is necessary to accept if you want to hop that line and become an engine is that you're not that unique, none of us are. There are a thousand other people that do exactly what you do, there's a thousand other people that do exactly what I do. Nobody should be the only anything in your business. And if we can accept that we're not that unique and that we need to become more replaceable, now we get to jump that line. We get to take a breath and get our head above water and start to attack the overwhelm. So now we're the engine. Now in terms of focus, the engine is now frustrated because the engine gets to see that there are things that they can work on. They're not just having to work on the prescriptive, the boring, the minutia. They can actually taste what it looks like to work on something that might be more interesting, but they can't really do it because they just don't have the time, they can't make that time. In terms of flexibility, they're not in a cage anymore, now they're leashed. They've got a little bit of room. Maybe they could take the occasional Friday off and it doesn't cause a problem. In terms of freedom, they are the bottleneck because now they're not the piece of the machine, they are the machine, they're driving force, but that means all the cogs and all that has to go through them. All the decisions have to go through them. So if they're unavailable, things stop. If they can't make effective decisions and move things forward because either they're not there or they are there but they don't know how to do it, everything slows down, the works get gummed up. But what the engine needs is to optimize and systematize, they need to create those systems and processes. They need to make the opaque transparent and pull those processes out of their heads so that other people can do them for you, and ideally other things. If they can do that, now they become the engineer. They're no longer the machine, they are now working on the machine, working on the business versus working in the business, we've all heard that before. So in terms of focus, the engineer has ownership, right? So they get to actually engage with and really take responsibility for the work at that point. They're not at the sort of mercy of the things that need to get done. They have ownership, they can bring ideas to bear and actually get them in place. The engineer can sort of come up with the ideas and then the engine, right, puts them into place. In terms of flexibility, they are free range, right? So they're not on the leash anymore, definitely not in the cage, they have the room to roam, they have more flexibility. They can sort of work where and when they want, there's still a box and a corral, but they have a lot more autonomy. And in terms of freedom, now we're dealing with the challenging and the accelerating. Those are the things that they get to focus on at this point. For a lot of people, they'll stay at the engineer level and they're kept there by what we refer to as the good enough line. And the myth here is that good enough is good enough. The truth is that good enough is a trap, complacency is a trap, and this is not about like trying to make more money and get the bigger car and more is more, that's not what this is about. But ultimately, if we don't look at improvement and we don't look at expansion and efficiencies, then we get left behind and we are forced and almost relegated to live in a state of decay as it were because the processes that we just continue to perpetuate don't serve us anymore. So if we recognize that, we now get to the top, we get to become the inventor. And to do that, we really have to automate a lot of those processes that we had created before. Now, if the difference between engineer and engine is the difference between working on the business versus working in the business, the difference between inventor and engineer is the difference between pushing the business forward with your ideas, your voice, your mind versus the engineer, who's doing it with their hands. The engineer needs to be there, needs to be on site, needs to be part of the action in a way, whereas the inventor can be anywhere they want and have an idea and it's gonna happen. The inventor is the one that gets to really delegate. Because in terms of focus, the inventor is focused on the things that bring them the most joy, the things that they're truly genius at, and most importantly, the things that have the greatest impact. In terms of flexibility, the inventor can work anywhere anytime anyhow. And in terms of freedom, the inventor can leave if they want to. And when they leave, they can explore, they can learn, they can discover and they can come back and contribute all of that knowledge to furthering the business. And in their absence the business not only continued as it was, but was actually able to grow. Replaceability brings you up that chain because again remember anybody in the business can exist at any one of those mindsets. So there's an example I always like to give, which is a weird one, but it really illustrates this very well, the difference in the mindsets, and that's a speed bump.
So if a speed bump could be personified and we asked the speed bump, what do you do? And the speed bump is in the cog mindset. Speed bump might say, I'm a speed bump, I slow cars down. And I should point out that somebody in the cog mindset, those are the people that are gonna show up late, leave early, not engage with the work, take sick days, whereas the inventor, the engineer or the inventor, that doesn't happen, they're in it to win it. So the speed bump and cog mindset is something that slows cars down. Okay, if that same speed bump were of the engine mindset, and you say, what do you do? It would say, well, I'm a traffic control device so I make traffic patterns more efficient. Well, that's good, that's important, that's good work. If they were of the engineer mindset and we want to know what they do, now, they're gonna say, well, I'm a traffic control device really focused on safety so I make the roads more safe for people, I actually help people be safe, that's really important and that's great. But if we get that person, that speed bump in the inventor mindset, now they say, well there's a school right down the road there and I'm a safety device. I save children's lives, that's what I do. Now functionally, it's doing the exact same thing that it was doing when it was a cog, but it's more invested in the overall mission. It sees its work as more important and it will engage with that. The last thing in this sort of section that I want to talk about is the inevitable friction you're gonna run up against when you try to implement replaceability in your business and in your life and you might have this friction within your self dealing with this. There was an experiment that was done at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s, known as the five monkeys experiment. So what they did was they took five monkeys and they put them in a cage and then there was a ladder in the middle and they dangled a bunch of bananas over that ladder. At some point, one of the monkeys noticed and they climbed up the ladder to try to get the bananas. And when they did that, at that moment, the researchers doused the other monkeys in freezing cold water, very unpleasant experience for the monkeys. And they continued to do this systematically every time a monkey would try to go up the ladder and get the bananas until the point where the monkeys realized we don't like this when somebody goes up and tries to get the banana, so they would start to beat up the monkey that would attempt to get the bananas, they would stop them from getting up the ladder. And this became systemic behavior. Then what they did once this was fully inculcated is then they took one of the monkeys out of the cage and they put in a brand new monkey who had never experienced the cold water or the beatings or anything like that. At some point, that monkey looks up and probably figured why is nobody trying to get those bananas? I'm gonna get those bananas, began to climb up the ladder, and sure enough, all the other monkeys started to beat that monkey up. Very quickly that monkey learned going up the ladder to get the bananas was a bad idea. They continued to systematically replace one of the original monkeys with a new monkey that had never experienced the original conditioning with the cold water until all five monkeys that were in there were brand new, had never experienced cold water dousing before, and yet they continued to attack any monkey that would try to go up the ladder. The researchers hypothesized that if you were to ask any of the monkeys, why do we do this, why are you doing this? That the monkeys would probably respond with, I don't know, it's just the way things are done around here. How many of you have ever said that? How many of you have ever heard that? "Well, why do we use QuickBooks?" "Well, that's what we've been using for two years so that's what we use." "Why do you use this vendor?" "Well, they've been doing it for 10 years." "Why do you do it this way?" "Because that's how we've always done it." Doing something continuously because that's the way it's always been done is the opposite of a recipe for growth.